Getting Started in Government Contracting

To benefit from the coming bonanza in infrastructure work, it's best for small businesses to start at the local level

President-elect Barack Obama has his incoming team drawing up an economic stimulus plan that is, by all accounts, mammoth. With private work drying up, can small businesses get in on the government contracting bonanza? Mark Amtower, a partner in consultants Amtower & Co. in Highland, Md., says yes—but they shouldn't expect quick results if they're just starting now. He recently spoke to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about how small companies can achieve long-term success through selling to the government. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

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