WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET STARTED IN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING?
Getting started in government contracting can be complex, from finding a good-fit contracting opportunity for your business and submitting a winning bid or proposal, to staying in compliance throughout the length of the contract and getting paid for your efforts. One way to get ahead is to arm yourself with information and analysis related to the government contracting lifecycle as you begin exploring new opportunities to do business with the government.
HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING LIFECYCLE?
To succeed in government contracting you need to understand the stages of a government opportunity, from start to finish, and what your business needs to do at each stage. Below are the stages a typical contract goes through.
Pre-RFP: Government plans to spend on a project
Solicitation: Opportunity goes out to bid or RFP
Proposal Preparation: Contractors create a proposal to win the business
Contract Award: Government awards the winning vendor(s)
Contract Fulfillment: Business begins to provide products or services
Performance Monitoring: Business manages and monitors the delivery of the product or service
Audits/Compliance: Business passes audits by remaining compliant
Contract Completion: Contract period ends and cycle begins again
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO FIND GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS?
Federal Government Contracts:
Federal government agencies use several methods of advertising their intent to spend money, including socioeconomic set-aside programs and government websites such as SAM.gov. Sometimes agencies also offer a preview of coming solicitations by hosting industry days. In order to find federal government contracts that best match your company’s core competencies, you’ll want to determine which agencies have the most best-fit opportunities.
However, relying exclusively on government websites to find federal government contracts can be a time-consuming and lengthy process. Though most federal contracting opportunities appear on SAM.gov or other government websites, private companies like Deltek have tools such as GovWin IQ that track likely opportunities up to five years before a bid or a request for proposal (RFP) is actually issued. The best way to find federal government contracts is to leverage these tools to identify federal spending areas well in advance, then prepare your company’s go-to-market strategy for when those opportunities are released.
State & Local Government Contracts:
State and local (SLED) government agencies spend more than a trillion dollars every year, so devoting time and energy to building a SLED market business plan is well worth the effort. If you are wondering how to find state and local government contracts that align to your business, your first step should be to determine which levels of government you want to sell to, and which regions are best fits. Then find those agencies and register to business with them by signing up for their procurement portals, which differ by state. You can save time by signing up for a government business development tool like GovWin IQ that can track opportunities from each of those agencies you are targeting.
Once you have defined your target governments, you need to understand how and when they spend. Unlike the federal government, SLED agencies set their own fiscal year schedules and their spending patterns often align with their state’s fiscal year start and end dates. It’s important to understand your target agencies’ fiscal year and spending patterns to pinpoint when you will find the most best-fit government contracts from those agencies.
WHATS THE BEST WAY TO FIND SMALL BUSINESS GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
If you meet the definition of a small business you may have access to a wealth of small business government contracts. Governments offer a number of small business set-aside contracts through a variety of programs:
- 8(a) Business Development
- Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Programs
- Minority-Owned Small Business (MOSB) Programs
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOSB) Programs
- All Small Mentor-Protégé Program
Small businesses often break into new fields or gain contracting experience through subcontracting, and serving on a prime contractor’s team (teaming). It is a way of getting experience that often allows you to avoid some of the complicated compliance requirements and challenges competing against more established vendors, yet gaining some experience and past performance. Searching for opportunities from one of the above programs, or seeking out teaming and subcontracting opportunities, can help you find small business government contracts that best match up with your company’s strengths.
HOW DO YOU BID ON GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS?
Once you have identified the types of government contracting methods and vehicles that exist in the market, you should follow these steps and take action.
- Select the methods and bid opportunities that best suit your business. Determine whether you are best suited to pursue a large contract, an opportunity as part of a bigger vehicle or subcontracting or teaming opportunity, and develop a list of target agencies.
- Determine which socioeconomic categories, if any, fit your business. These might include designations like women-owned (WOSB), service-disabled veteran-owned (SDVOSB) or minority-owned (MOSB). These categories can give you a big advantage.
- Identify your target opportunities – and pursue them. You can often find those opportunities through tools like GovWin IQ, the industry’s leading platform to help you find government contract bids and gain awareness of upcoming opportunities up to five years before the solicitation is even released.
- Submit a strong proposal. Make sure to highlight your company’s core competencies and outline why your business stands out. You can also leverage market intelligence to differentiate your offering from those of the competition.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO SEARCH FOR GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS?
While government websites can be sources to search information on the basic elements of government contracting, like bids and RFPs, companies succeeding at selling to the government are taking proactive steps to go beyond the basics to find all of the information they need.
The best way to search for government contracts is to identify keywords and phrases that align to your business. Leveraging a market intelligence platform like GovWin IQ can help you quickly identify upcoming opportunities that truly match your team’s capabilities, so that you’re not wasting your time scouring hundreds of opportunities to find the ones that are perfect for your team.
HOW DO YOU WIN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS?
After identifying and pursuing opportunities that fit your business, there are specific tactics you can take to connect with the right decision makers and put your best foot forward in order to beat out the competition and win a government contract. By being proactive, getting ahead of the bid or RFP, and putting your business in a position to win, you can ensure a steady stream of revenue from your government business.
For more information, contact us today.