How to Gear Up Your Small Business for Government Contracting
Great news for small business around the country. On February 2014, the federal government has finally reached its goal of awarding 23% of contracts to American small businesses. According to data from SmallbusinessData.gov, there was a total of $83.7 billion dollars awarded in federal contracts to small businesses.
This is the first time that this goal, established back in 2005, has been reached. Here are the 3 most important takeaways from this milestone for your small business.
1. Top Providers of Government Contracts
The Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration indicates that the Department of Interior, the Department of Transportation, and the Office of Personnel Management are the top agencies in facilitating access to federal government contracts for small businesses.
Therefore, you may benefit from submitting bids to these three agencies, if applicable. To enhance your chances for success, do some research through the Small Business Dashboard. This tool from U.S. government provides a useful report to drill down the transactions from all agencies through several filters. For example, you can view what are the top 5 states by vendor, top 5 types of contracts used, and top 5 products or services sold for the Department of the Interior for FY2013. Additionally, you can view a list of from all companies that were awarded contracts, so that you can get an idea on what fronts to compete.
2. SupplierPay Initiative
While the $83.7 billion figure is very exciting, some small businesses may still be hesitant about government contracts. Delay in payment from government agencies is often among the top reasons why small businesses hesitate to take part of government contracts.
Launched in July 2014, the SupplierPay Initiative is a commitment “to pay small businesses faster or help them get access to lower cost capital”. This initiative has two important effects.
First, 26 major companies, including IBM, Lockheed Martin, and Salesforce, have signed up to the SupplierPay Pledge so if you’re currently working or planning to work as a subcontractor for them, you have some good ammunition for requesting timely payment. Second, any contract that refers to the QuickPay initiative should be a priority when evaluating a series of federal government contracts. This specific initiative guarantees faster payment to small business contractors.
3. Opportunity for Women-Owned Small Businesses
On July 2014, the Majority Report of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship points out that the federal government still is not able to reach the goal of awarding 5% of contracts to women-owned small businesses.
Given that this goal has not been hit over the 20-year history of the 5% goal, there is a strong momentum, led by Senator Maria Cantwell, to push for more women-owned small business to received federal government contracts.
- Allow sole source contracts through the WOSB Procurement Program,
- Streamline process for borrowers of up to $50,000 for the SBA Microloan Program, and
- Modernize local Women’s Business Centers around the country.
If you’re the owner of a WOSB, it is time to consider federal government contracts. The timing is just right, so contact your local Women’s Business Center for additional information on how to get certified.
Capitalize on the great momentum that small businesses are enjoying in federal government contracting. Contact your regional SBA office for more information on how to get started.