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Aspiring 8a

Success in Federal Contracting: Key Elements to Get You Started

Are you a small business looking to tap into the vast federal market, but unsure where to start? Success in federal contracting requires a combination of factors, including being in the right industry, eligible for certifications, and having a solid grasp of government procurement processes. From GSA Schedules and subcontracting opportunities to niche markets and contract size, understanding these key elements is crucial for achieving success in the federal market.


Contributing Elements for Success


Is your business in a sector where the federal government buys your products and services? This should be the first thing a company looks at when thinking of working in the federal marketplace. What geographical area can you also offer your products and services? Although the government often purchases the majority of goods and services regardless, there are benefits to being local.

Eligible for a Certification?

Your business will be given preference if you have a federal certification. Certain certificates have greater weight with some agencies than others. Yet early in the process, you should check to see which one your company qualifies for and submit an application for all federal certifications that you believe you qualify for.

-8(a) – Minority Owned

-HUBZone – Historically Underutilized Business Zone

-WOSB – Woman Owned Small Business

-VOSB – Veteran-Owned Small Business 

-SDVOSB – Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business

GSA Schedule and other GWACS

Government purchasers can easily acquire goods and services from your company thanks to GSA Schedules and other Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACS). Going with the flow, like everything else in life, typically produces better outcomes than going against it.

GSA Schedule also gives your company more visibility since GSA Advantage is the web portal that federal buyers utilize to find suppliers of goods and services when they do not already have a relationship with an existing company.


Compared to the size of the small business direct to government market, the federal subcontracting market is sizable and accounts for around 70% of it. A company can get experience with a federal agency by working for significant sized federal contractors. Since most small businesses only interact with one or two agencies, working as a subcontractor can help you gain insight into how an agency operates, what resources it requires, and who to contact.

Am I in a Niche Market?

Niche markets can also be beneficial. I once had a job with a company that produced specialized shovels for putting out forest fires. Finding the proper person was difficult, but once they did, business flourished.

Contract Size

The Simplified Acquisition Procedures apply to contracts worth up to $250,000. In the absence of a suitable small company supplier, these contracts should go to small businesses, unless otherwise noted by the procurement officer. Companies in sectors where this level of contract is frequently awarded have an edge in the federal market.

Achieving success in federal contracting requires thoughtful consideration of the various contributing elements. By understanding the importance of industry, Federal Certifications, GSA Schedules, subcontracting, niche markets, and contract size, you can position your small business for success. If you're ready to take the next step and tap into the vast federal market, I always recommend contacting a industry expert such as ez8a or Fedvital. Contact them today to learn more about how their expertise can support your business goals. Neither charge for an initial consultation.


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