Having all the parts to successfully market to the federal government is critical for small businesses to compete in the federal space. Each additional working part you get in motion increases the likelihood of your firm’s success.
The federal market is a big market. In 2020, the federal government spent $559.9B in discretionary spending. $145.8B of this funding was with small businesses. Even with this large sum, less than 1% of small businesses work with the federal government.
The more of these parts your firm can possess, the faster your federal sales engine will move.
Eligible for a Certification
Certifications provide your firm with preferential treatment. With some agencies certain certifications are stronger than others. However, vetting and applying for all federal certifications your firm is eligible for should happen early on in the process.
GSA Schedule and other GWACS
GSA Schedules and other Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts make it easy for federal buyers to purchase from your firm. Like everything else in life, going with the flow generally leads to better results than fighting against the current.
GSA Schedule also provide your firm with additional exposure, as GSA Advantage is the web portal that federal buyers use when they are trying to locate a provider of a good or service, and do not have a relationship with an incumbent.
The first consideration a firm should look at is if you’re in an industry where the federal government purchases your goods and services. Additionally, what geographical area are you able to provide goods and services? Generally, the government buys almost everything, but being local does have its’ advantages.
The federal subcontracting market is large and in comparison represents about 70% of the size of the small business direct to government market. Working for large federal prime contractors can allow a firm to get its feet wet with a government agency. Most small businesses focus on 1-2 agencies, so learning how an agency works, their needs, and important contacts, can all occur while working as a sub.
And in a Niche Market
Niche markets can be good as well. I once worked with a firm that made a specialized shovel for fighting forest fires. They had challenges finding the right contact person within the federal government, but once they did, business took off.
Contracts between $10,000 and $250,000 fall under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures. These means that unless documented by the procurement officer, for lack of a suitable small business supplier, these contracts should go to small business. Therefore, firms in industries that regularly have contracts in this procurement size, have an advantage in the federal space.
If you would like to go over these moving parts, and what will work best for your small business, I always recommend contacting an industry expert such as Fedvital or ez8a. Neither charge for an initial consultation.