Research the Government Market
The process of becoming a government vendor has a number of steps, but the payoff is worth it. Whatever size your business, the fundamentals apply:
- You should research the federal market to make sure that your business is a match with existing federal needs;
- Your business must have a proven track record in business. For some procurements, this can be a minimum time in business, and/or a revenue above a minimum threshold. When seeking business opportunities be aware of the vendor qualification requirements. You must be registered to do business with the federal government;
- You should be aware that certain categories of small businesses (such as those owned by service-disabled veterans, for example) are entitled to set-aside contracts, and larger businesses are frequently looking for those same companies to partner with;
- You must be prepared to network.
Research Your Customers
For understanding what the government buys, review the Federal Procurement Data System, the central repository of information on complete Federal contracting. The system contains detailed information on contract actions over $3,000 dating back to FY2004. FPDS also contains valuable information on those contracts’ administrators, agencies, and exact date of purchase, which can help you match your business to the appropriate agency.
More sales information can be found at GSA Advantage, the online catalog of products and services offered to federal agencies through GSA Schedules. Within GSA Advantage, you can also review eBuy, an online Request for Quote (RFQ) tool for federal, state, and local government agencies.
Establish and Maintain Your Credentials
The System for Award Management (SAM) is the Official U.S. Government system that consolidates your company information. There is NO FEE to register for this site. Entities may register at no cost directly from this page. User guides and webinars are available under the Help tab.
Network to Learn What the Government Needs
There are many networking opportunities open to small businesses. Thanks to the Internet, you do not need to be located near a GSA Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU) to take advantage of them. The GSA OSBU office offers a virtual core curriculum to get you started.