Government Contracting for Small Businesses: How to Get Started
Government contracting for small businesses can be a great way to increase their potential customer base and expand their services. However, it can be intimidating to get started, especially since you’ll be dealing with a lot of bureaucratic processes, and the paperwork could be too taxing and time-consuming.
But once you’ve penetrated the federal marketplace and become a government vendor, many opportunities will be handed to your small business. This means that you could expand and grow to the next level.
So if you’re interested in how to get started with government contracting for small businesses, buckle up. This article will point you toward entering the federal marketplace and government contracting.
What is Government Contracting?
If you’re new to government contracting for small businesses, you first need to understand what it is. With government contracting, you basically contract with a governmental agency to carry out a task or offer your products or services. Like any other business, the government depends on goods and services, so who better to ask for assistance from than the general public? They take care of their requirements and help build the economy by doing this.
Government agencies frequently reserve a portion of their contracts for small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses to ensure equality. Due to the apparent complexity, small businesses frequently pass up this great opportunity. This is because some get intimidated by the rigorous paperwork and the fact that the government is a big entity.
But this shouldn't be the case. With the right growth mindset, research, planning, and help from others, your small business can attract government contracts.
How To Get Started With Government Contracting for Small Businesses
Just because you run a small business doesn’t mean you can’t compete with the big guys. The government is mandated to allot 23% of its contracts to small businesses. So don’t worry. You’ll get a fair share and even preferential treatment regarding government contracting for small businesses.
Here are some tips to help small businesses get started with government contracting:
Research the different types of government contracts
One way to get started with government contracting for small businesses is by researching different government contracts. There are a variety of contracts available to businesses, including small business set-asides, competitive solicitations, and joint venture contracts. Exploring the websites of the federal government and state governments can be a great place to start.
Once you have a general understanding of the different types of contracts, you can start researching the specific requirements needed to obtain them. This includes understanding the eligibility requirements, the application process, and any other specific requirements needed to qualify for the contract.
Become familiar with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is the primary set of rules governing how the federal government acquires goods and services. Government contractors must become familiar with the FAR to understand their rights and obligations when engaging in government contracts.
You need to become familiar with the structure and organization of the FAR. The FAR is divided into 53 parts, each containing its own regulations. Each part is further divided into sections and subsections, making it easier to locate specific regulations. You can also read through the various regulations. The Federal Register is the official source for the FAR, and the FAR can also be accessed on the Acquisition.gov website.
Connect with the right people
Networking is an important part of the government contracting process. When you network with government procurement officials, you will start understanding the procedures, standards, and regulations involved in the contracting process. You will also be aware of current and upcoming contracting opportunities.
Establishing relationships with government procurement officials can also help build trust and credibility, giving a contractor an edge in the bidding process. Connecting with people already in the government contracting industry and attending conferences and events geared towards government contractors is a great way to start building relationships in the industry.
Register with the System for Award Management (SAM)
SAM is the federal government’s centralized registration system for businesses looking to do business with the government. All businesses looking for government vendors must register with SAM before competing in solicitations.
If you have a SAM registration, you will be given a CAGE code. This will be your first ticket into federal certifications and becoming a government vendor. Do note that if this is your first time, it could be overwhelming. We suggest getting help with a SAM registration service to ensure you are doing it right.
Explore small business programs
Many government agencies have programs designed to help small businesses get involved in government contracting. Researching these programs and taking advantage of resources such as the Small Business Administration’s Mentor-Protégé Program can help small businesses get a foothold in government contracting.
Here are other small businesses programs you can check out:
- Small Disadvantaged Business 8a Development Program - This is for small businesses owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged individual/s.
- Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) - These are for businesses that are 51% owned and run by a US citizen woman.
- HUBZone Program - If your business is in a HUBZone, you may qualify for this program and get access to a range of government contract vehicles.
- Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB)/Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (SDVOSB) - The VOSB and SDVOSB certifications were established to help US veterans who own businesses.
Bid on contracts
Once you’ve researched and registered with SAM, it’s time to start bidding on contracts. Researching solicitations and responding promptly is essential for success in government contracting.
You should also start scouring the web for vendor portals. This is where most solicitations are posted. And to bid for the government contracts presented in vendor portals, you must complete a vendor registration. This is how procurement agencies ensure that you, as a federal contractor, are qualified and capable of providing the services or products required. It also helps streamline the contracting process, as it provides the government with all the necessary information to make an informed decision when awarding contracts.
To be successful, you should also stay current on federal contracting regulations and ensure you have the necessary resources and personnel to fulfill the contract's requirements.
The bottom line…
Government contracting for small businesses can be an intimidating endeavor, but if done correctly, it can be a great way to expand a business’s customer base and services. By researching the different types of government contracts, becoming familiar with the FAR, connecting with the right people, registering with SAM, exploring small business programs, and bidding on contracts, small businesses can take the plunge into government contracting and reap the rewards.
Government Contracting with Global Presence Marketing
Ready to get started? Reach out to our Government Sales Team. They will guide and point you in the right direction so that your entrance to the federal marketplace will be smooth and hassle-free.