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Hidden in Plain Sight: The Billion Dollar Customer

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Imagine this: You get up in the morning, and like most entrepreneurs, test your electronic mail and calendar for the day even earlier than getting off the bed. Right on the prime of your incoming emails is a “Notice of Contract Award.” As your eyes race to the complete message, you learn that you just had been the profitable bidder and have gained a $2 million contract to supply a full 12 months of companies for an area enterprise, an ideal match for you and your crew and a rocket enhance to the expansion of your organization!

Who wants espresso, as a result of now you’re flooded with vitality and pleasure, and your thoughts is spinning with all the particulars you’ll have to handle in the following few hours to take the largest step you would ever think about in your home-grown firm. Breathe deep, since you’ll wish to be centered, centered and conscious as you lead your organization right into a vivid future.

Sound like a dream? In actuality, this situation occurs to hundreds of girls enterprise homeowners in a wide range of industries all through the U.S. yearly. Their buyer is the world’s largest buyer, the one which spends more cash than some other entity in the world, and that yearly buys over $120 billion from small companies positioned in each state in the nation. That buyer is the U.S. federal authorities.

Now greater than ever is a perfect time to think about coming into the federal authorities market. Why? The federal authorities has set a aim to spend 5% of its annual procurement with small, women-owned companies. While 5% appears like a small aim, it amounted to over $22 billion in awarded contracts final 12 months ranging in dimension from underneath a number of thousand {dollars} to properly over $50 million.

If you’re in working with the U.S. federal authorities, however are not sure the place to begin, haven’t any fear. Here are 4 ideas that will help you kickstart your relationship promoting to the world’s largest buyer.

 Tip #1: Prepare Your Business

When tackling a brand new, giant buyer just like the federal authorities, you’ll wish to take the time to know them, which includes researching how and after they purchase, figuring out necessary decision-makers, and clarifying the principles and rules. This will assist paint an total image for you of their enterprise desires and wishes.

A compulsory first step is to register your enterprise on the official free federal authorities web site System for Award Management or www.sam.gov. All companies, even solo-woman owned firms, should register in SAM.gov to be thought-about for a federal contract.

SAM.gov is the place you’ll enter your whole necessary enterprise details similar to your tax identification quantity, your distinctive DUNS number, the NAICS codes describing the companies or merchandise you present, the factors of contact for your enterprise and checking account data. This web site even supplies a assist desk quantity/electronic mail should you run into hurdles or have questions on registering.

Next, take into account getting licensed. Certification is feasible for small companies owned by ladies, veterans and minorities, and for companies in an economically deprived space often called a HUBZone. While you’ll be able to definitely do enterprise with out being licensed, a formal certification makes you eligible for a bunch of set-aside contracts, and even eligible for different direct award contracts the place no competitors is required.  You can study extra at www.certify.sba.gov.

 Tip #2 Find Your Network

Women are sometimes good networkers, and the federal market is wealthy with networking alternatives. These could also be authorities agency-sponsored occasions, nationwide or regional conferences, native outreach and matchmaking occasions, or coaching classes.

One occasion that might be useful for a newbie is ChallengeHER. ChallengeHER is a nationwide initiative to spice up authorities contracting alternatives for women-owned small companies and was created in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA), Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and American Express. Since its inception, ChallengeHER has educated greater than 21,000 ladies entrepreneurs at 70 workshops throughout the nation and facilitated greater than 5,350 conferences between ladies small enterprise homeowners and authorities officers.

Business homeowners in authorities procurement may additionally attend American Express’s Summit for Success. Held yearly, the Summit for Success is a free occasion for companies from everywhere in the nation to attach and listen to from business consultants about alternatives in federal contracting, ideas for going international, and how one can increase their shopper base.

An on-line supply for networking alternatives is FedBizOpps.gov. Once you’ve visited the free website, you will notice on the house web page a inexperienced button referred to as Search Small Business Events. Clicking that button will deliver up a listing of occasions sponsored by the federal authorities, from nationwide conferences to small matchmaking occasions. What is a matchmaking occasion? It’s like pace relationship for companies who wish to meet and discuss with authorities decision-makers. You’ll have 10-15 minutes at every desk, then when the time is up, you progress to the following desk. It is a terrific option to meet decision-makers and inform your enterprise story and targets.

 Tip #3: Get Noticed

Getting observed in the federal market is a novel course of. As talked about, you’ll want the obligatory SAM.gov registration, adopted by a web site, and two necessary printed items: your enterprise card and a functionality assertion.

A capability statement is a novel doc that’s just like a resume—it focuses on the wants of your goal buyer and tells a succinct story in authorities terminology. It consists of sections referred to as Core Competencies, Differentiators, Past Performance and Company Data. Ideally, this doc will likely be edited to deal with the precise wants of your targets, and never a generic brochure or flyer.

Your enterprise card needs to be on a white or mild coloration background, so potential companions or prospects can hold notes about you on it after you hand it to them (not wanted however tremendous useful in case the shopper doesn’t have wherever else to jot down on in the second!). Also use each side (back and front) of the cardboard and fill it up with all the data your authorities targets wish to see: NAICS, DUNS and CAGE codes, your certifications and your whole telephone numbers.

Tip #4: Be Persistent

It is necessary to proactively market to your authorities prospects. They ought to hear from you at the very least as soon as a month by telephone calls, emails, in-person conferences and occasions. Stay in contact with them and construct robust relationships in order that they know who you might be and belief that you would be able to present the companies or merchandise they want.

And don’t surrender! You might have to remain in contact with the decision-makers on the businesses, or these prime contractors with whom it’s possible you’ll wish to subcontract, over lengthy durations of time. It’s simple to get discouraged after the primary one or two tries while you don’t get a constructive response. Not to fret – it’s completely effective to contact the decision-makers each month as a observe up. Reach out till you could have damaged by the gatekeepers.

The U.S. federal authorities is a market that rewards long-term effort. It will take time to study the lingo, the principles and processes, and discover good alternatives on which to bid.  But all of it turns into value it when you’ve earned the chance to win a whole lot of hundreds and even hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in contracts in your companies and merchandise.

This visitor publish was authored by Gloria Larkin

Gloria Larkin is President and CEO of TargetGov, Procurement Advisor to American Express, and a nationally-recognized knowledgeable in federal contracting. Her shoppers have gained over $5 billion in federal contracts. She could also be reached at [email protected]

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