Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Are you looking to grow your company? Do you have a service or product the government might find useful or currently uses? Have you considered government contracting? If so, you might be able to enjoy reliable revenue streams from the government.
In 2011, $91.5 billion in federal contracts was awarded to small businesses. The government’s goal was actually about 23 percent and it fell short of that goal by approximately about 1.3 percent.
Billions of dollars were not awarded to small business owners. What if you had a piece of that pie? There was an opportunity in 2011 to help grow companies. That same opportunity is available in 2012.
The federal government’s year end is Sept. 30, 2012. The last quarter, which is where we are currently, the governmental departments are looking for and honing in on small business owners just so they can meet their small business engagement quotas. Are you registered with the government? Do you know how to submit a bid? In many cases, you can receive payment for services or products rendered in as few as 15 days.
Doing business with the government is no easy task to undertake. Here are few things to navigate around and avoid:
1. Blue Suede Shoes. Don’t take it for granted, you must dress accordingly when dealing with the federal government. Remember first impressions are highly important. And remember to tailor your sales pitch to the needs of the specific agency you think is the best fit. Just because they need to make a quota, does not mean you automatically get the job!
2. Be specific and know what agency you should market to. You have a specific product or service to offer. You should research which departments or divisions would use the product/service. Visit the website and check for the “procurement forecast.” This will provide you an idea of what they need and what is eligible.
3. It’s all about relationships! Relationships! Relationships! Getting government contracts is about networking and building relationships. There are many opportunities to meet with federal officers who make the contract decisions. I used to work in Tennessee near Fort Campbell, Ky. During my work with the Army, it was all about relationships. The purchasing agent wanted to know who they were doing business with.
Face to face or over the phone, regardless, it was based on relationships.
Heather Penney-Strohm is the regional director for Indiana State University’s Indiana Small Business Development Center.