,Getting government contracts for small businesses must not be viewed as a handout
Government contracts should be a part of the revenue streams of all small businesses, where practical. The federal government spends over 110 billion dollars a year with small business. A mistake small businesses make, is assuming those contracts may be used to build a business. The government issues contracts to fulfill a need they may have for goods or services. Not to help people build small businesses. Thus, your best chance to get government contracts is to prove you are capable of delivering the goods or services they seek. Fully operational businesses, that can provide a good or service the government needs, have a higher probability of getting contracts than those that can’t.
Especially relevant, there are many posts on the Internet offering advice about how to get government contracts. In addition, the U.S. Small business Administration (SBA) offers help in finding small business counselors; advice on how to start a business; information on SBA backed loans and other resources. However, without a fully functioning business those resources may not be enough to get you started in government contracting. If you plan to add the federal government as your client, you have to offer something they need. Registering with the federal government without proven capabilities seldom works. Spending a fortune on business consultants for government contracts takes a while even to recover your money. Unless you use Saafenet.
Make sure your business can enter into a contract with the federal government
Genuine businesses have applied for an Employer’s ID Number (EIN) with the IRS. Additionally, they would have registered the business with their state. The SBA provides a partial list of state licensing requirements. And, genuine businesses wouldn’t serve their first customer without the proper registrations and licenses. Completing those steps would allow you to conduct business, but the federal government must ensure you have an operation with which they can enter into a contract. Otherwise, even if you completed the basics above, they could not give you a contract.
A mandatory part of all registrations to bid on government contracts, is to set up a business credit file with Dun and Bradstreet (DUNs) . Next, you must register in the System for Award Management (SAM). But, registration with SAM is only the first step. Another minimum step you would have to address is that your business would need liability insurance, holding the government harmless. Even with these minimums, government contract and procurement staff seldom look for you, you have to look for them.
You must make yourself aware of government requests for proposals (RFPs), as you would for any potential client requiring proposals. Several sources allow you to only have Requests For Proposals (RFPs) you can fulfill, be delivered to you. So it’s not necessary to review every RFP issued by the government. But, the most important thing is to get out and talk to the right people and, let them know you’re available.
The best way to get government contracts
The absolute best way to get government contracts is to prove to the government you don’t need them. In a nut shell, this means you should be ready to deliver whatever capability you claimed possible. The best way to prove this is to have provided someone else with the product or service in question. You can’t do that if your company only exists in name. Because, you will never have delivered your offering. No matter on how small a scale, your business must be a going concern. In addition to an EIN, state registration and licensing, you must be doing business.Spending a fortune on business consultants for government contracts will seldom help if you don’t have a real business. It might take years to even recover the cost of such consultants. Especially if you think you can build your business with the government alone.
You need a phone, and email address a website and a history of doing business even if it’s short. Without these things it doesn’t make a lot of sense to meet with government small business specialists. Be certain you present the picture the government is looking for and above all be honest about your capability. It’s better to start with a small contract you can deliver. Rather than bite off more than you can chew. When you can realistically present that picture, its time to see if you qualify for the HUB zone or if you can get into the 8(a) program.