THE MIRROR OF MEDIA

Winning Government Contracts as a Small Business


It’s clear that these numbers are going in the wrong direction, but that shouldn’t deter entrepreneurs. Due to the 2020/2021 pandemic, there’s been increased emphasis on support for small business recovery and growth. You’ve probably heard the claim that “small businesses are the backbone of the American economy.” It’s true: over half of America’s workers own or work for a small business, small businesses have generated over 64% of new jobs in the last 15 years, and small businesses create 2 out of every 3 jobs today. If your small business is in a position to bid on government contracts, here’s some information to consider.

2021 spotlight on small businesses and government contracts

There is change on the horizon for government contract procurement. President Biden announced in June he seeks to double the share of contracts that go to small, disadvantaged businesses by fiscal 2025. Part of his administration’s goal is to narrow the racial wealth gap. The administration released an outline of Biden’s management agenda in November that prioritizes creating more opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs and all businesses in the federal marketplace:

The federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, buying everything from software and building construction to financial and asset management—making its procurement a powerful tool to advance equity and build wealth in underserved communities ,” said a fact sheet from the White House. “ Despite this, less than 10% of federal agencies’ total eligible contracting dollars typically go to small, disadvantaged businesses, a category under federal law for which Black-owned, Latino-owned, and other minority-owned businesses are presumed to qualify.

The White House commitment to small business survival and growth is a step in the right direction.

Databases to help small business owners find government contracts

The SBA is committed to helping small businesses hand-in-hand with the government. You should register with two databases to cover all the bases and get noticed.

Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS)

Your first step to locate government contracts to bid on should be searching the  Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS). This database helps government agencies find small business contractors for upcoming contracts.  Small businesses can also use DSBS to find other small businesses to work with.

System for Award Management (SAM)

SAM, the System for Award Management, is a database of companies that are interested in government contracts for government agency decision-makers to identify potential vendors.

The information you provide when you register your business in is used to populate DSBS (outlined above) so create a comprehensive business profile.  While your SAM profile must be updated at least once a year to remain active, firms committed to obtaining government contracts should update and refine their SAM profile at least quarterly, if not monthly or more frequently. SAM has a Quick Start Guide for Contract Registrations. An online search will provide several YouTube® videos and user guides.  The search will also turn up a 382-page paper guide if you want to understand all the technical aspects of the database).

Pro tip: small businesses looking to obtain government contracts should put effort into creating a compelling and search-friendly SAM profile. The strategy is similar to a spend for SEO strategy or your company’s LinkedIn ® profile.

Engage directly with agencies

If you operate within a specific industry or have found the agency that’s the best bet for your business, you can market directly to those contractors. To do this, you would use SAM.gov and SUBNet to identify existing procurement needs. SubNet is the SBA’s Subcontracting Network System that bridges the gap between businesses seeking small businesses and small businesses seeking contracting opportunities. You can then communicate directly to those agencies to reinforce why your business is a good fit.

Pro tip: Consider procurement conferences, industry events, and even contract matchmaking events to elevate your business’ profile and attract decision-makers.



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