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Government Procurement: First Steps for a Small Business
For a small business, government contracting can seem all but out of reach. Oftentimes, government contracts are assumed to be larger than what most small businesses are equipped to handle. In addition, the government marketplace appears so competitive that among large, experienced businesses, a small company, new to government contracting, does not stand much of a chance of winning. These misconceptions are pervasive, but are also very easy to break.

There are plenty of opportunities that small businesses will find relevant and accessible. In fact, many bids are set aside for small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the federal government’s current yearly goal stipulates that at least 23% of all federal contracting funds must be awarded to small businesses. Furthermore, many bids are set aside particularly for woman and minority-owned small businesses.

Step One: Focus on your goods and services as well as your price.

While the bidding process for government contracts can seem competitive, overwhelming, and intimidating, it’s important to remember that every legitimate bid or proposal has an equal chance at winning on its merits alone. Which bidder wins the overall contract though depends on a few factors. The price, while important, is not necessarily more important than the quality of the proposed goods and/or services. A bidder’s best chance for success is to clearly explain and articulate how their services are more exceptional and comprehensive as well as more cost-effective than that of another bidder.

Step Two: Network with agency representatives and purchasers.

Networking with agency purchasers can be a challenge, but fortunately, there are some opportunities to do just that. For instance, the Port of Seattle is hosting a Construction Industry Day on Thursday February 2nd, 2017 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The purpose of the event is to inform contractors about upcoming construction projects. These types of events are great opportunities to network and build relationships with government purchasers and suppliers. They also help to create business opportunities for newcomers to the government marketplace. Take advantage of these opportunities when they come.

Step Three: Bid, bid, win.

The key to success for any small business newcomer to the government marketplace is perseverance. Continue to submit bids and proposals and success will follow. Though a first-time bidder may not win the very first contract they submit a proposal for, the chances of winning increase with every bid attempt. With every bid or proposal written one gains new insight and experiences into the procurement process. That learning and those experiences ultimately transform a small business with little experience and few resources into a seasoned and successful government contractor.

From federal down to state, local, and municipal level governments, and among all industries, there are an abundance of bids and RFPs in the government marketplace suitable and often set aside for small businesses. There are also a number of subcontracting opportunities available for small businesses to supply services and/or materials in conjunction with other companies for large-scale projects.

FindRFP is here to help our customers find a broad range of RFPs from various industries catered to meet the specific needs of each of our clients. Whatever the industry type, capability level, or geographic location, FindRFP can find opportunities of interest for small businesses from an array of backgrounds and specialties.

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