Finding Government Business: Once You've Done the Basics, Here's What's Next
by BillGormley, Former Guest Blogger
- Created: February 25, 2010, 10:10 am
- Updated: April 15, 2011, 12:52 pm
In my first blog post within the Business.gov Community, called;Your First Five Steps in Government Contracting
- Register your business with the CCR
- Get a GSA Schedule contract
- Do your homework
- Secure references
- Make a commitment
Many, many companies dive in without knowing their market space' particularly the size of their market space. How large or small is the size of the market yo're trying to reach? And, is the government interested in buying what you have to offer?
Remember, this is the government market. All the information you need is publicly available. From agency budgets to contract sizes to details about which services and products the government is buying, there is a trackable history of all government purchasing activity.
- A listing, and history, of federal procurements can be found at the Federal Procurement Data System site (https://www.fpds.gov' note the'' after the http)
- A history of federal grants can be found at Grants.gov (www.grants.gov)
- A database of nearly all government spending can be found at USASpending.gov (www.usaspending.gov) - an aggregate of information from Grants.gov and FPDS.gov.
- A government-focused market intelligence firm like FedSources (www.fedsources.com)* can go a long way toward providing you with a depth and breadth of information you may otherwise spend months gathering.
Once you know the lay of the land, take this information and take aim. Be sure, however, to target carefully. The government is no place for a shot-gun approach. It may work in the commercial world - occasionally - but not here.
Decide whether you should target Civilian agencies or the Department of Defense (DoD). If you don't know the difference between these, you'll need to do more research.
Remember, you're targeting based on budget, demand, and history. Which agencies are buying? Which have the budget for your particular service or product?
Once you identify your target, you're ready to dive in.
Knowing Where to Look
Once you're completely ready to roll, check out FedBizOpps.
Short for Federal Business Opportunities, this government website - www.fedbizopps.gov - provides a listing of all federal bids posting a value of $25,000 or more. You don't need to register to browse this site - just click, and look around.
Be aware, FedBizOpps provides a lot of information. I highly recommend that you watch the How to use FedBizOpps demonstration videos on the site.
The government also runs FirstGov (www.firstgov.gov), where it lists bids and requests by agency. This is a good one as well.
Business.gov has a great page called How to Find Contracting Opportunities. Here you'll find a range of helpful links, from the GSA Subcontracting Directory to state contracting opportunities to Federal Procurement Opportunities for Green vendors.
Another option is a government-focused market intelligence firm, as I mentioned earlier. While these types of firms specialize in providing data, some go much farther - to the point of providing a list of opportunities, e-mailed to you, based on your own search criteria.
Being a successful government contractor can mean steady business for many years if you research, target, then sell - in that order.
And, once you start selling, there is one more thing to keep in mind: you may get a Blue Bird but remember, the government buying cycle is long - between nine and 12 months, on average.
*hyperlink directs readers to a non-government website
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