It’s easier than ever to scope out Federal government contracting opportunities to bid on. Today you can do a lot online.
I used to think that you needed to have an office in the Washington, D.C. area in order to get serious about government business. After all, that’s where most government buyers are located.
However, after attending an event not long ago in Chicago called Victory in Procurement, put on by American Express OPEN (a sponsor of this site) and some partner organizations such as SCORE, I was struck by how frequently the advice centered around using websites.
The Web, it turns out, can be used to conduct part of the process of discovering and pursuing opportunities. Let’s dig into 10 of those Web resources:
Counseling and advice on government contracting – Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs); Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs); and SCORE are 3 places to get advice about breaking into government contracting. The counselors at those organizations can all refer you on to additional resources. All have local offices as well as websites.
The event I attended had numerous SCORE counselors who offered free advice at the start of the day (see photograph above). Mark Dobosz, a SCORE counselor (@Consulting Mark on Twitter), was a key SCORE contact at the event (pictured below at the SCORE booth).
Federal Business Opportunities website (FBO.gov) – I lost count of how many times the FBO.gov website was mentioned by speakers the government contracting event. It’s obviously key to your efforts. At the website you can search for active federal business opportunities valued at more than $25,000. There are 23,600 opportunities listed on that site as of this writing. Also search under “awarded contracts” says Lourdes Martin-Rosa (pictured below left, with Karen-Michelle Mirko of American Express OPEN). This will tell you which agencies have bought which products and services in the past. use that information to compile a database of prospects.
Central Contractor Registration (CCR.gov) — As the name suggests, this is the website where you register as a contractor. Once you’ve registered you’ll be given an opportunity to fill out a profile on an SBA website. “Take advantage of it,” says Lourdes. Other businesses looking to team up or subcontract business out will look at these SBA profiles. You will also need a DUNS (Dun and Bradstreet) number. It’s free to get a DUNS and takes about a day. There’s a link to the DUNS form right on CCR.gov.
U.S. Small Business Administration Subcontracting Network (SBA Subnet) — This website is a database that helps you find subcontracting opportunities.
GSA eLibrary — The GSA eLibrary website provides GSA contract award information. If you plan to go after business on the GSA schedule, you’ll need to become familiar with that site.
OSDBU Council — Every year the Council puts on the OSDBU Conference. Many of the speakers at the Victory in Procurement event recommended attending this conference, because it includes representatives from all Federal agencies and prime contractors, and is considered an excellent place to network and make connections, as well as understand expectations of Federal buyers.
BusinessMatchMaking.com – This website features events, workshops and seminars that help businesses connect with government buyers. Be sure to get your business registered in the Small Business Directory, and check out the Buyer’s Portal for Federal, state and local government buyers.
TeamingUSA.com – This website is designed specifically to help small businesses find and connect with teaming partners. Set up your online profile and start searching for partners.
Finally be sure to check out my two other articles with coverage from this event:
Government Contracting Doesn’t Have to Be Mysterious – 3 Steps to Success
Business Teaming Gives You Leverage