One of the biggest challenges for small businesses interested in working with the government is a lack of information on how to get started! Prior to jumping into the government contracting arena, the first thing your small business needs to do is register with the Small Business Administration office serving your local customer base:
• It is critical to register using the right North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes based on the products and/or services that you have to offer to the government.
• You should also apply to become a GSA (General Services Administration) Schedule contractor via the GSA Web site.
Once these primary steps have been completed, your small business should then register with the following premier federal contracting research organizations:
• INPUT is an authority on government business and "provides market intelligence, analysis, consulting, events, and training to help companies develop government business." The ability to use INPUT effectively can be a critical success factor for a small business.
• FedBizOpps.gov can be used to search, monitor, and retrieve "opportunities solicited by the entire federal contracting community." Again, the success of a small business is directly related to using the right keywords while looking for opportunities.
Success for your small business within the government cannot be achieved without strategic teaming partners:
• A key strategy in winning contracts is to register as a small business with larger government contractors.
• Another approach is partnering with other government contractors in areas where your small business lacks expertise but can offer complementary products and/or services.
Finally, physical presence is very important in this business, and a successful small business must set up shop in the backyard of the federal government. An "in your face" strategy will help in the federal contracting race.
Jack Nargundkar Director of Marketing Government Solutions Group TeleCommunication Systems Annapolis, Md.