Information and Training
Learning how to sell successfully to the U.S. government, the world’slargest buyer of goods and services, can be daunting. Most of the processis conducted online so using a computer is essential. Here are suggestedapproaches:
- Update your company's business plan, highlighting special products, skills and expertise that might be of interest to government agencies.
- Review your company's marketing strategy and goals.
- Learn federal procurement processes and terms.
- Government Contracting (SBA)
Resources to help you sell your products and services to the Federalgovernment.
Provides an on-line system (Phoenix) that allows minority business firmsto register the company with the MBDA’s database to access contractopportunities and other resources.
- General Services Administration (GSA)
As the government's chief acquisitions agency,GSA spends billions of dollars annually on products and services offered to all federal agencies.
- Doing Business with GSA (scroll down, click to view or print out publication)
Covers government procedures, marketing strategies, and bidding procedures for contracts. Also lists important contacts, such as the 11 GSA regional centers and technical advisors for small businesses.
- Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU)
Through outreach activities in regional offices, promotes increased access to GSA’s nationwide procurement opportunities for small, minority, veteran, HUBZone, and women business owners.
- How to Sell to the Government
Describes how GSA buys from small and large businesses, including an explanation of how GSA advertises business opportunities locally and nationally, and lists a calendar of local workshops for businesses wanting to sell to the government.
- GSA Training Programs
Online and onsite courses for vendors and small business, for federal employees, and for state and local government officials.
- Contact offices in your state or region.
- Speak with procurement specialists or contracting officers about federal government buying procedures.
- Ask questions about application procedures, technical requirements, and marketing suggestions.
- Attend procurement programs, opportunities for business people to meet directly with government officials and to learn from other companies involved in federal contracting.
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
Located in every state, these advise and train businesses in financial matters, including certification procedures for small and minority businesses. An excellent first stop for any business, especially those with little or no previous experience in dealing with federal procurement.
- Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
- Network regional enterprise centers provide resources for minority-owned firms.
- Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)
Although the main focus is providing technical assistance on selling to the military, the centers cover marketing to all government agencies through counseling, training, and procurement programs.
- GSA Regions Overview
The contracting officers are familiar with the procurement needs of the federal facilities located in their region.
Registration is required to compete for federalgovernment procurement and contracts. The federal government's Business Partner Network (BPN) isthe single source for vendor data for the Federal Government.
Review SmallDisadvantaged Business Certification and Eligibility (SDB).
If your business is classified as small or disadvantaged, thiscertification may lead to more federal procurement opportunities.
Additional statistical codes, required for manygovernment forms:
Federal Business Opportunities
FedBizOpps (Federal BusinessOpportunities)
Single point of entry for announcements of federal contract opportunitiesover $25,000, both civilian and military.
- Serves both federal agencies as buyers and businesses as vendors.
- For help navigating the website, call toll-free (877) 472-3779; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Review the Vendors Guide to learn how to search for agency announcements, requests for proposals, classification codes, award categories.
- Vendor Notification Service: sign up for e-mail notification of announcements of particular agencies or for particular products or services.
Forcontinuing business, apply to become a GSASchedules contractor.
Under the GSA Schedules Program, GSA establishes long-termgovernmentwide contracts that allow customers to acquire a vast array ofsupplies and services directly from commercial suppliers. Gives manybusinesses, small and large, further opportunities for multiple awards.
- Also called Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) and Federal Supply Schedules (FSS).
- Getting on Schedule
Application and approval process "to get on the Schedule" can take considerable time but may be worth it for future business with government agencies.
- GSA Training
Under GSAEvents, check GSA Schedules Training Webinar for Small Business; and Marketing to the Federal Government Webinar.
A federal contract may be so large that a single company might havedifficulty in providing the products or services required to meet theterms of the contract. A prime contractor may need to use subcontractorsto complete contractual obligations.
- SUB-Net (SBA Subcontracting Network)
Identify subcontract opportunities by reviewing the postings of prime contractors.
- Subcontracting Opportunities Directory (SBA)
Identify prime contractors through a listing of contractors, with addresses and phone numbers, by state.
- Subcontracting Directory (GSA)
GSA contractors with subcontracting plans and goals. Companies are listed within each of the eleven GSA regions. For each, gives products and services offered, and the small business contact within the company.
Selling to the Military and Department ofDefense
Many of the DOD contract announcements and registration requirements forbusinesses have been incorporated into FedBizOpps, withregistration at CentralContractor Registration (CCR). However, there are oftenspecial requirements for selling to the military. Thevast majority of DOD contracts are awarded by DOD field organizations, orspecific mission-oriented agencies within an organization.