Small Biz Focus: Top 3 Tips When Doing Business with the Government

This column is written by Tara Palacios and sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

Are you interested in doing business with the government? Have you considered expanding your target market to the government, and need help navigating the process?

Many entrepreneurs are interested in doing business with the government and need detailed information on how best to enter the market. Below are BizLaunch’s Top 3 Tips to contract successfully.

Top 3 Contracting Tips

  1. Decide which level of government you’d like to pursue. Many small business owners look to the federal government as their first opportunity to do contract business with. Many entrepreneurs forget that the Commonwealth of Virginia and local municipalities are also in need of products and services from the private sector. Doing business with the state or local governments may be able to provide you with past performance that you need to win federal contracting opportunities.
  2. Follow the Opportunities. We also like to call this following the money (I.e., budget items). Research and uncover which agencies are spending money in your industry sector, when does the fiscal year begin and end (For example, Virginia’s budgetary cycle runs from July 1-June 30 each year) and understand competitive pricing so that you position yourself to win the bid.
  3. Attend mixers and conferences. Attend industry related events where key decision makers will be in attendance. Get yourself known in your field to the “correct,” contacts. Ensure that you are networking with influencers who can help you grow your company.

Resources to Help with Top 3 Contracting Tips

  1. BizLaunch, Virginia PTAP, Strategic FAR Advisors and Professionals by Design are offering an extensive training program on January 24 to address how to get an agency to “Pick Me.” Topics include pricing to win, knowing your value, HR and contracting rules will be addressed. For more information click here.
  2. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s website portal aids small businesses who are seeking to do business on the federal level. Many services are free and national conferences are offered to businesses located in Arlington.
  3. The Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Program offers training and one-on-one assistance to businesses looking to do business with the government. Their consultation services are free. Many of their education programs are available for a minimum fee.
  4. The System for Award Management (SAM) website is a complimentary tool if you are looking to do sole sourcing opportunities of up to $2 million dollars. Large businesses and federal agencies can find your business directly on this system.
  5. Virginia’s Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity also offers a wide range of education programs and support of local businesses.