It’s true that the government is still buying but does it need what you are selling? That is one of the first questions that small business owners who are interested in government contracting should ask themselves, says Orlando Espinosa, owner of Emineo Media, who recently hosted a webinar for Florida SBDC at FIU called “The Government is Still Buying.”
“If the government doesn’t need what you are selling, you are actually doing yourself a disservice by not actually pinpointing and seeing who is actually buying it ,” he said. “Take an in-depth look inside yourself and your business and understand that the government wants to deal with people they can trust and can partner with in order to get the contracts fulfilled… Make an assessment before you leap.”
This includes evaluating your products and services and their needs, learning about the buyers, including the users and the procurement managers are, and what sets you apart from the competition. Can you solve their problem? Can you perform the work?
Once you understand that you will need to make the case about what sets you apart from the competition. “You have to be committed – you get one shot to make a great impression,” Espinosa said.
Espinosa was joined by Tasha Cunningham of The Brand Advocates, Karen Vieira of The Med Writers and Moises Montanez of Alta Quality Builders, all small business owners who have successfully navigated and won government contracts.
It’s very important to have a game plan, which includes identifying the current status of your business, identifying opportunities, being organized, building relationships and staying in your lane.
Here are some additional tips:
- Create a list of agencies that are buying what you are selling.
- Research, research, research. Oftentimes you can see what contracts are coming up and begin pre-marketing.
- You don’t have to navigate this by yourself. Florida SBDC at FIU and PTAC offices, including one in Miami-Dade, have consultants that can help you at no-cost to your business.
- You will likely have to grow your staff to be able to fulfil your contract. Make sure you have the financial ability to handle the contract.
- You might be stronger together. Get experience as a subcontractor to the prime contractor in order to learn the ropes. Start out with a little piece of a contract, do it well and make a name for yourself and go from there.
- Taking on a partner could make your bid stronger – or even viable if you don’t have a certain competency or certification. Keep a list of small business owners you meet and the certifications they hold because they could one day be potential partners.
- Networking is key. Procurement departments of the agencies you are pursuing often hold matchmaking events and fairs (currently virtual)– attend them. Build relationships.
Here are some sites to dive into.
For registration and certifications: sam.gov, dms.myflorida,com, miamidade.gov/procurement.
Federal – beta,sam,gov, gsa.gov
State – dm.myflorida.com
County – miamidade.gov/procurement
3rd party sites – fedbid.com, fedconnect.com, mybidmatch.com
For many more tips and tricks by small business owners who have been there, done that, listen to the Webinar here:
Read more about government contracting on GrowBiz: