GWACs, IDIQs, T&M – oh my! To a new business owner, these acronyms look like alphabet soup. To government entities, they look like work. But to a veteran business owner competing for a government contract, “GWAC, IDIQ, and T&M” look like opportunity.
To start off, the terms, “GWAC, IDIQs, and T&M” are different types of government contracts – federal, state, and/or local. Known as government contracting to some, and procurement to others, selling to the government may provide you with a channel of revenue you may not have previously considered. And, with federally mandated service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) contract spends and the increased desire for supply chain diversity, you’re well positioned to take your business’ products and services to the government marketplace.
Full of jargon and complex processes, learning how to navigate the complex landscape of government contracting can be a difficult process if you try to tackle it alone. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but why re-invent the wheel when you don’t have to? Here are a few ways to start and grow your business in the federal marketplace.
1. Sign up for a training course. The Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program (VFPETP) prepares veteran business owners with the knowledge and skills they need to tackle government contracting. The program is delivered by the National Center for Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) and provides three different courses depending on where you are in your contracting journey:
- VIP START: designed for veteran-owned businesses that want to enter or expand their business growth into the federal marketplace
- VIP GROW: designed for veteran-owned businesses to increase their ability to win government contracts by establishing best business practices
- VIP INTERNATIONAL: designed for veteran-owned small businesses that want to enter and/or expand their federal and commercial contracting opportunities overseas
FUN FACT: VIP GROW graduates report an increase in their revenue by an average of 54% within their first year of completing the program.
2. Explore SBA’s free online tools. The federal contracting section of the SBA website contains easy-to-digest information on contracting assistance and specialized areas of government contracting (women-owned businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned, minority-owned, etc.). There’s also a Government Contracting 101 learning course available through the SBA Learning Center.
3. Connect with a trusted adviser. Local SBA resources such as the Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs), District Offices, and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) can either provide you with the procurement expertise you may need – or direct you to a professional who can.
4. Network with other veteran-owned businesses who are already involved in government contracting. Many organizations will host events focused on government contracting, and just government in general. Attend and meet other veteran business owners who have contracting experience – the best advice comes from those who have lived it!
To learn more about the tools available for veteran, service member, National Guard or Reserve, and military spouse entrepreneurs, visit sba.gov/veterans.