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Start Up Advice for Government Contractor

For any new business, getting started to provide services to the federal government has its challenges.  Hopefully, before reading this section, you have put pen to paper to prepare a draft business plan and have met with someone at a Small Business Development Center (SBDC).  In addition, hopefully, your business realizes the need to have diverse customers across the commercial and private sectors as well — that is do not put all your eggs into doing business with the federal government.  With those caveats, the next steps include the following:

  • Register your small business on CCR;
  • Identify “core” capabilities and products that your business can provide to the government and match these with NAICs codes;
  • Conduct marketing research by going on to FedBizOpps to research (1) current opportunities to identify what your business can respond to now and (2) past awards to identify forecasting opportunities. Identify agencies that have historically purchased your products and services;
  • If there are current opportunities, then identify if your business can perform the Statement of Work (SoW), usually Section C of an RFP, and if so, then (1) identify if you need another business to increase your chances of award, and if so, then you might need a letter of intent or a subcontracting agreement, (2) prepare a draft response to the current opportunity, (3) submit your draft response to your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) to review and comment, (4) incorporate revisions by the PTAC, and (5) submit your response in accordance with the contract opportunity. Make sure you keep a copy of your proof of communication (e.g., mailing and delivery receipts, email, etc.) as well as a hard copy and electronic copy of your response;
  • If there is a forecast opportunity (this is the marketing alarm going “Ding, Ding, Ding”), then (1) prepare & submit an Unsolicited Capability Statement the (a) agency’s contracting officials, (b) agency OSDBU, and (c) SBA PCR that administers the agency, (2) ask for an opportunity to meet with the agency’s contracting officials, the agency OSDBU and the SBA PCR to give a presentation of your business (this is your opportunity to sell, sell, sell), and (3) establish relationships, such as “teaming agreements” with the incumbent contractor providing services and other businesses the compliment your business (again, you may want to consult with an attorney as you enter into these “teaming agreements”), (4) if you are a certified small business (e.g., 8(a) and HUBZone), then ask your local SBA Business Development Representative (BDR) to (a) write a letter to the contracting officials at the agency on behalf of your business and (b) to contact the SBA PCR to discuss your company, and (5) if you a certified small business, then ask other small businesses that have the same certification to also (a) submit Capability Statements and (b) have it’s SBA BDR submit a letter and talk with the PCR. For some set asides, if there are two certified businesses (e.g., HUBZone & SDVOSB), there are mandatory set asides and having another CCR registered, certified business will mandate that at least a portion of the work be set aside;
  • Apply for a GSA Schedule as a procurement vehicle to market your products and services; and
  • Consider applying for any small business set aside category that your business qualifies.

Last Modified: December 5th, 2009