Registrations, Certifications, and Schedules
SAM (System for Award Management)
It’s an official website of the U.S. government. This site provides companies the ability to register to do business with the U.S. government, and receive payment for all contracts and grants. SAM was designed to streamline the process of both obtaining and procuring federal contracts by integrating the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance and all federal procurement systems into one. When a company registers with SAM, they will receive a cage code and be able to receive funds from the federal government.
DSBS – (Dynamic Small Business Search)
This is used by the government very similar to the way Google is used. Purchasing agents use this site to search for companies that have properly registered with SAM and DSBS. All contracts awarded through DSBS are under $25,000. If chosen, that company will receive a call or email from the purchasing agent asking them to submit a quote. Contracts awarded through DSBS do not have to go through the bidding process and will be awarded to the company selected by the purchasing agent.
FEMA – (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
The agency’s primary purpose is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities. The governor of the state in which the disaster occurs must declare a state of emergency and formally request from the president that FEMA and the federal government respond to the disaster.
City, County and State Registrations
Increase your opportunities to attain Government contracts. State and local governments offer businesses the opportunity to sell billions of dollars’ worth of products and services. Many government agencies require that some percentage of their procurement’s be set aside for small businesses. Once you have registered with your city, county, and state and classified your business based on the established size standards, you are ready to do business with the government.
Set – Asides (Certs): Small business set-asides are a powerful tool for helping small businesses compete for and win federal contracts. Every year, the federal government purchases approximately 450 billion in goods and services from the private sector. When market research concludes that small businesses are available and able to perform the work or provide the products being procured by the government, that opportunity is “set-aside” exclusively for small business concerns.
SBA (Small Business Administration)
They have several programs available for small businesses or businesses that qualify under certain social economic statuses called SET- ASIDES. These programs can help small businesses expedite the process of receiving contracts if they understand how to participate in them.
Most large contracts require the prime contractor to subcontract a large portion of the work to small businesses or businesses that qualify under certain social economic statuses to stay in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
GSA – (General Service Administration)
The preferred contract vehicle used for procurement by Federal agencies that allows a business to attain preferred vendor status. GSA was established to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies and awards billions of dollars annually to businesses on the GSA schedule.
A formal agreement between the Federal Government and a commercial business that allows the General Services Administration (GSA) to purchase a wide range of products and services with convenience and ease. This is normally a long- term government contract that has a base period of five years, which can be renewed up to three times totaling 20 years. Within the GSA Schedule a business will have their contract number, a description of goods and services, pricing and the start and expiration dates of the contract.
The GSA Schedule is one of the most widely used methods by which the federal government purchases goods and/or services. No matter the state of the economy, one customer keeps buying – The Federal Government. Having a GSA Schedule simplifies the process for the federal government to purchase your products and services. When the government can purchase quickly with ease, you sell more.
Prepare to Market your Business
This is a professional specification sheet that your organization presents as the first contact for most interactions with federal, state, and local government procurement purchasers. This sheet contains vital information at a one shot glance that is efficient, informative, and attractive and differentiates your organization in verbiage, product/services and visualization from your competitors. It contains your UEI #, CAGE code, NAICS codes and past performances to show timeliness, quality, and positive delivery of products and/or services. The Capability Statement in other words is your Government Business Resume.
Marketing to the Government
Creating a successful marketing strategy at the outset will help you to reach your target audience. First understand your company’s value position, i.e. what you can do to help solve an agency’s problem. Consider what value your product or service brings to the customer.
To get a better handle on your value position ask:
- What does your organization do?
- Who in the Government has a requirement for your product or service?
- How does your company help the government meet its goals and objectives?
- What appeal did your product or services have that caused customers to use you in the past?
There are three customers you should target with your marketing efforts:
- Procurers (including contracting officers/specialists)
- Influencers (including program managers/high-level decision makers
- End Users
Utilize a program like “Select GCR Pro”
This is a proprietary database that pulls information from thousands of different Government web sites and databases and drives that information into one unique platform. Within this platform you are provided Contact Information for all Government Purchasers, Federal, State and local level contracts, expiring contracts, Daily email notifications when bids are being released, and even connection to prime contractors and teaming opportunities.
Register with Prime Contractors
Large business prime contractors receiving federal contracts are required to establish plans and goals for subcontracting with small business firms. Subcontractors join prime contractors’ teams, usually to provide a specific capability or product. Subcontracting is an excellent way to enter the government contracting market and to participate in larger-scale opportunities. The advantage of being a “sub,” is that you’ll be responsible only for your area of expertise, not managing the entire contract. You can gain valuable experience (called “past performance”) that will qualify you for future contracts.
It is important to contact all available opportunities via email to let them know who you are, where you’re at, and what exactly you do. Start by determining your industry specific keywords and NAICS codes, search all Government databases for your industry Government Procurement officer lists, and then specifically target each procurement officer through informative emails. You should also pull industry specific lists of high profile corporate clients, prime contractors, fortune 500 companies and businesses on the GSA Schedule. When receiving a contract, a prime contractor is required to connect with small business sub- contractors before they bid on a government project, so it’s important that they know that you exist and are familiar with the products and/or services that you offer.
Bidding on Contracts
You must have an understanding of the formal proposal process. When submitting a bid, you must know how to field proposals, how to hold meetings to evaluate your current market position, resource allocations, and ability to perform on the desired contract with all government compliances adhered to. You must also know the basics on how to search, field, allocate, develop, draft, edit, and summarize your formal response. When this knowledge is gained you will be well on your way to outsourcing with understanding or delving deeper into your personal education on the bid writing process.
To become a successful marketer
Learn about FAS program enhancements, shows, expos and various marketing opportunities. Participating in shows will help you sell to the Government, increase your customer base, and penetrate overseas Federal and military markets. You must also implement Email campaigns, mailing lists, associations and forums, conferences, publications, Brochures, Pamphlets, success stories, websites and Government provided resources.