There is nothing worse than attending an event where a speaker will whet your appetite for a brand new market, then leave you hanging. At many small business conferences round the country, inevitably one of the crucial speakers will raise doing business with the govt., and maybe they can offer accurate advice, but not always.
There are many myths about doing business with the govt, some perpetuated by those looking to profit from novices, others simply out-dated, others still kept alive by those unwilling to grasp how the market is changing. A lot of people that write or speak will not be B2G (business to government) experts and inadvertently include inaccurate information.
The federal government is the biggest buyer of products and services, buying virtually anything utilized in a business setting and more. They spend hundreds of billions annually. So at the surface, it’s a gorgeous market.
However, there are hundreds of nuances and thousands of regulations, so before you get too excited, let’s do a reality check. Before entering the govt. contracting arena, some research is so as. But where to begin?
The the first thing you want to wonder is, “Does the govt. buy what I sell?”
While the answer’s usually yes, you need to get a definitive answer. One place to begin is the final Services Administration (GSA) website . Once there, seriously look into the “Most Requested Links” and click the “GSA eLibrary.”
This takes you into the eLibrary, where you could find not just even if the govt. buys what you sell, but who else is selling the identical or similar products.
Next, type your query into the hunt box after which select one of several three options:
- “all of the words”
- “any of the words”
- “exact phrase”
As an example, let’s say you sell office furniture. Type in “office furniture” and choose “exact phrase” and click on the “enter” key.
The page that comes up matches your phrase. For you, you have an interest within the numbers of the left side of the page. These numbers are in red and they’re under the word “Source.” Each number represents a GSA Schedule contract. The matches include:
- Schedule 48 (Transportation, Delivery and Relocation)
- Schedule 71 (Furniture)
- Schedule 71 II K (Comprehensive Furniture Management Services)
You are searhing for Schedule 71. So mouse over the red “71″ and you’ll find the complete range of goods and services the govt purchases through Schedule 71, and it’s extensive.
After scrolling through, return to the highest of the page and search for the red arrow next to “Download Contractors (Excel).” Click this and it’ll take you to the “Download” page where you’re then prompted to click the “Download” button.
This will download an Excel file that comes with full company contact info, phone, email, company URL, DUNS, business status (various small business categories) and even if the corporate participates in about a state and native government programs.
This file tells you that there are 2,739 companies currently participating on GSA Schedule 71, attempting to leverage this contract to sell to Uncle Sam. (I don’t show you this to scare you off, but to tell you that each niche within the federal market is extremely competed.)
You’ve now done some government contracting research in advance of market entry, and also you now know what/who you’re up against. There are how you can enter this market and to win business – but as you’ll discover, you can not expect it to happen quickly.
Research Photo via Shutterstock