Working in politics is definitely one way to get involved with government agencies. But you don't need to run for office or rally behind a political cause to get your business noticed by the federal government.
The U.S. government also offers many opportunities for private companies to land government contracts.
It's important to understand the process of getting government contracts. This is important regardless of the size of your business or the industry you're in. That's what this post is here to teach you.
Ready to learn how to get government contracts?
If so, then you need to keep on reading. We have three tips that will get you on your way to winning those bids!
1. Follow the Rules First
What's the first thing that you need to know about getting government contracts?
The rules matter here more than anywhere else. Remember that there are vast differences between the specific services that the private sector and the government can accept.
You should prepare yourself to follow much stricter bidding rules. It's likely you'll also need to use specific products that have been endorsed and even regulated by federal agencies.
You must register your business within the System for Award Management, or SAM for short. This allows you to work with the U.S. government, monitor your entity registration, and stay up to date with any exclusion records.
Also, government contracts are usually required to get posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
This means that you'll be able not only to bid on these contracts but learn more about how to get government contracts that bigger companies have already likely won. Just because a larger company has beaten you to a bid, doesn't mean that they don't need help from subcontractors.
That's your golden opportunity to get your foot in the door as a government subcontractor.
You can also check out websites like the SUB-Net database and the GSA Schedules. Both of these will allow your business to look for both long and short-term government contracts.
2. Be a Physical Presence
Yes, much of understanding how to get government contracts takes place in the digital world. But, taking a "boots on the ground" approach to government contracts is just as important.
You need to be on the lookout for government-related events within your industry. Make it a point to set up a booth, make a speech or presentation, and just to shake as many hands as possible at these events.
While making cold calls to government agencies might help you to randomly win a few contracts, few things are as impactful as human relationships. Plus, people are much more likely to go with a bidder that has an in-person connection than with an unfamiliar option.
You should focus first on building in-person relationships with two or three government agencies. Study up on these agencies. Know their needs, why your company is the best solution over your competitors, and their buying/contracting schedule.
Then, hit up industry events, make presentations, and start setting up in-person meetings. This will help to make sure that your name sticks with these agencies.
Following up with an email or sending out an e-newsletter can certainly help. Make sure that agencies actually know the person and company who is sending them before you do it.
3. Get A Mentor
Another essential step to keep in mind when you're in the process of understanding how to get a government contract?
The people that you know matter -- just as networking is the key to success in pretty much any other industry.
But when you're looking for government contracts, things will work a little bit differently. There are likely many more mentorship opportunities for your business than you might be aware of.
First of all, we suggest that you take a look at the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization or the OSDBU for short.
The OSDBU works to connect smaller businesses and buyers/contractors for the government. They host plenty of expos, presentations, and other events each year.
However, they're not just networking opportunities.
When you attend them, you'll learn in even greater detail how to connect with government agencies. You'll also find out how to tailor your services to appeal to the federal level.
These events will also teach you about even more programs that can help you to get your foot in the door when it comes to government work. This can often include things like the Business Development Program 8(a).
There are tons of mentorship programs out there, including the SBA Small Mentorship Program and the GSA Mentor-Mentee Program.
Are you looking to discover more about the benefits of working with a mentor? If so, then you should be sure to check out the Bids Construction website for additional tips and tricks.
Getting Government Contracts: How Online Job Boards Can Help
We hope you now understand that no matter the industry you're working in, getting government contracts isn't impossible. You need to remember to make as many in-person connections as you can and to work to identify mentorship opportunities as often as is possible.
Of course, we also think that it's a wonderful idea to use traditional job boards and classified ads in order to help you to connect with these opportunities.
To learn more about how to look for the right opportunities for your business, as well as how to make your pitch to government agencies stand out above your competitors, make sure to do your research by reading up on our business blog.