In today’s economy, businesses must follow all leads possible to continue bringing in steady revenue. For small businesses wanting to secure U.S. government contracts, getting one foot in the door could prove next to impossible without specific experience or reliable contacts. Third-party entities like U.S Federal Contractor Registration help small businesses by providing assistance in creating professional profiles for government contractor databases and letting contracting officers know when a new business enters the marketplace.
Landing a Government Contract
During 2011, the federal government spent $536 billion in goods and services. According to the Small Business Act and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, at least 23% of monies spent must go to small business through awarded contracts. This means that small businesses have some opportunities to find and compete for open contracts. Unfortunately, with so many businesses (large and small) now fighting for these contracts, it’s much more difficult to secure one, let alone multiple contracts needed to help maintain business operations.
To compete for open contracts, businesses must first register a profile that includes all pertinent information such as employee size, salary requirements, tax information, past projects and performance, and other information requested. The U.S. government has several databases that cater to specific departments within the government that businesses must register with for contract bidding and consideration.
Currently, the government is combining all databases to create one centralized database called SAM. This movement will take a year or longer and has caused confusion and frustration for some businesses as multiple profiles have been lost or erased.
In addition to creating business profiles, U.S. Federal Contractor Registration, a privately-held company, also ensures businesses will have a profile on file in the new database. The company, which also publishes a monthly newsletter aimed at contracting officers (those who award contracts), that highlights specific businesses based on their qualifications.
Maintaining a presence through on-going marketing can help small businesses compete with larger consulting firms. But having some help from a registration provider may provide additional exposure and help a small business land a contract in less time. Not only will this provide revenue, but it also helps a small business gain practical experience, especially if new to government contracting.
Competitors like Bidsync, and FindRFP help businesses find open contracts and establish relationships with contracting officers, but in slightly different ways. For example, FindRFP allows businesses to register with its database so contracting officers can easily find businesses to suit their needs. The company also maintains updated lists of open contracts so businesses can place bids without having to spend hours searching through government databases.
Bidsync sends daily lists of open contracts to businesses registered with the company to make it easier to bid. Even though the approaches are different, the goal remains the same – to help registrants land government contracts.
Tracking down open contracts provides small businesses with many opportunities, but to increase the chances for winning a lucrative contract, businesses must do more than place bids. Getting to know contracting officers via email, phone, or networking events can greatly help new businesses establish a strong presence in the government contracting market.
Stressing specific skills and past experiences can also help a business land a government contract. Since most contracting offices don’t want to shift through hundreds of bids, narrowing down applicants based on experience and specific skills is usually necessary. Businesses that can highlight skills and experiences effectively may earn a spot in the final round of reviews.
One final way to get noticed in the government contracts market is to question the rejection of a bid. Not only does this allow businesses to establish relationships with contract officers, it’s also a learning experience used to reduce the number of errors on future bids.
Bidding on the Right Contracts
In addition to helping businesses gain exposure, companies like U.S. Federal Contractor Registration make sifting through open contracts much easier. Businesses, especially those new to government contracting, should choose open contracts carefully. Bidding for every opportunity that comes along will not typically result in many wins. Also, proposals can turn into tricky, lengthy projects depending contract and bidding requirements. Businesses need to take their time when drafting a proposal to ensure a coherent and complete document.
With money to spend, the federal government seems like a lucrative marketplace for small businesses to expand. And with an economy still struggling to provide jobs, moving into government contracting may be a necessity instead of a learning opportunity for some businesses.
This means that contract registration companies may become even more prevalent and relevant for those looking for government work. For an annual registration fee or one-time profile creation fee, businesses many gain by registering with one of these companies. As the competition increases, any advantage, even one that a business has to pay for upfront, may be the difference between winning a few contracts or having to shut down its operations.