Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Selling to the government

The Bad, the Ugly and some Good

Small businesses experienced a mixed bag in their pursuit of federal contracts during fiscal year 2023. On one hand, the government allocated a record-breaking $178.6 billion to small businesses, marking a significant increase from previous years. However, this surge in funding was accompanied by a concerning trend: a decline in the number of small businesses securing prime government contracts, dropping by 2.2 percent compared to the previous fiscal year. (INC. May 1, 2024)

Despite receiving a larger share of federal contracting dollars, small businesses faced formidable challenges in competing for contracts. The competitive landscape remains dominated by larger, more established players, placing smaller enterprises at a disadvantage due to their limited resources. Contract bundling further exacerbates the issue by consolidating contracts into larger, more complex opportunities that are often inaccessible to smaller firms. (ibid)

Another hurdle for small businesses is the complexity of federal contracts, which can be daunting to navigate. The House of Representatives recently passed a bill aimed at simplifying the language within federal contracts to make them more accessible and comprehensible to small businesses. This initiative seeks to level the playing field and enhance the competitiveness of smaller players in the federal contracting arena. (ibid)

Despite these challenges, the Small Business Administration (SBA) under Administrator Isabel Guzman has implemented initiatives to expand contracting opportunities for small businesses. This includes revising size standards to broaden access to agency programs, benefitting thousands of entrepreneurs across various industries. While progress has been made in meeting procurement spending targets for certain small-business categories, there is still work to be done to ensure that all small businesses have equitable access to federal contracting opportunities. (ibid)

Do you have questions about size standards or a particular upcoming opportunity? Please give us a call.

Too Small, Too Big, or Just Right

Midsized government contractors find themselves in a challenging position, squeezed between the advantages afforded to small businesses and the resources available to large corporations. While small firms benefit from set-aside contracts and large enterprises have the capacity for significant growth, midsized companies often struggle to compete for both small and large contracts due to restrictive requirements and certifications. (Washington Technology May 2, 2024)

The government contracting landscape favors small businesses, with an increasing number of contracts set aside for socio-economically disadvantaged enterprises. Conversely, large corporations have the financial backing and resources to pursue growth through acquisitions. This leaves midsized firms in a precarious position, with limited opportunities for growth and survival. (ibid)

Structural impediments further compound the challenges for midsized contractors. Stringent compliance requirements and certifications are necessary to win larger contracts, but acquiring these credentials can be a catch-22. For instance, firms may need certifications like the Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR) to qualify for certain contracts, but they can only undergo these reviews if they already have contracts that require them. (ibid)

For instance, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) may require companies to undergo a Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR) to verify their efficiency and effectiveness in managing government funds once their anticipated annual sales surpass $50 million. This requirement is logical. However, if a firm lacks an ongoing contract mandating the DCMA audit, they cannot undergo the review, making it nearly impossible to pursue new contracts with similar requirements. This lack of flexibility defies logic. (ibid)

Despite these challenges, midsized firms can leverage the Goldilocks Effect to their advantage. By combining the agility of small businesses with the resources and experience of larger corporations, they can offer tailored solutions and personalized attention to agency customers. Strategies such as tailoring solutions, demonstrating delivery success, and cultivating long-term relationships can help midsized contractors establish themselves as reliable and innovative partners for government agencies. Through patience and differentiation, midsized firms can transform obstacles into opportunities and position themselves as valuable partners in the government contracting ecosystem. (ibid)

Midsized firm looking to capitalize on your experience through innovative partnerships with government agencies? Give us a call.

A great LinkedIn profile might land you a Government Contract

State and local government procurement specialists are increasingly relying on online platforms like LinkedIn to evaluate potential vendors. A poorly optimized personal profile could lead to missed opportunities for vendors aiming to secure government contracts. Lumino, a B2G marketing agency, conducted The Pulse of Procurement Report, surveying 100 state and local government and 100 federal government budget owners to understand their vendor selection process. (Government Technology April 1, 2024)

According to Lumino’s report, 35 percent of state and local government respondents exclusively vet vendors online. This statistic highlights the significance of maintaining a strong online presence. Jenny Karn, Lumino’s CEO, emphasized the importance of being easily discoverable online and ensuring that a company’s website presents a positive impression to potential clients. (ibid)

Establishing a robust web presence coupled with a solid SEO strategy is crucial, as revealed by Lumino’s research. Seventy-one percent of state and local agencies and 61 percent of federal respondents find vendors through company websites, often starting their search on search engines like Google or Bing. Karn stressed that being discoverable online is essential, as competitors with stronger online visibility are more likely to attract attention from government agencies. (ibid)

LinkedIn emerges as the preferred social media platform for government agencies to find new vendors, according to the survey results. Government budget owners often review not only a company’s main profile but also the personal LinkedIn profiles of its employees during the RFP review process. Karn emphasized the importance of maintaining a complete and keyword-optimized LinkedIn profile to demonstrate seriousness and professionalism to potential government clients. (ibid)

Although the Internet plays a crucial role in vendor discovery, Lumino’s survey also highlighted the continued value of in-person interactions, particularly at trade shows. While 83 percent of state and local governments attend trade shows to discover new vendors, only 74 percent of federal respondents do so. Additionally, trade shows serve as a platform for evaluating new vendors, with 37 percent of state and local respondents and 26 percent of federal respondents reporting that they assess vendors through these events. Thus making trade shows invaluable to being evaluated as a potential contract holder. (ibid)

Need some social media platform assistance or help figuring out which trade shows are best for your company? Give us a call.

Empowering Entrepreneurs: Unveiling the Force Behind Women’s History Month 2024

In March, we honor women’s achievements, resilience, and innovation during Women’s History Month. Women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) play a crucial role, in driving economic growth and diversity. GSA proudly empowers women business leaders, exceeding WOSB goals for the past 16 years. With over 12 million WOSBs in the US, they’re a potent force, creating jobs and shaping our economy. (GSABLOG Office of Small Business Utilization March 19, 2024)

The Associate Administrator for GSA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs. GSA ensures WOSBs have access to government contracting opportunities. The Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program is a premier vehicle for government sales, empowering small businesses to thrive. With just a small investment in time, WOSBs can position themselves for success. (ibid)

Federal government agencies favor buying from MAS Schedule contract holders because they are procuring approved products and services. In addition, GSA has performed the groundwork and negotiated the best price. (ibid)

For WOSBs ready to secure GSA schedules contracts, here’s how to start:

  1. Register on The primary database for contractors doing business with the federal government. For more in-depth information see the factsheet. (ibid)
  2. Connect with your local OSDBU small business specialist. These specialists are a great resource for training, education to assist you to successfully navigate the federal marketplace. (ibid)
  3. Utilize the Forecast of Contracting Opportunities Tool. this tool can assist you in locating contracting opportunities and building business plans. (The GSA Forecast Tool Factsheet explains how to use the tool and its features.) (ibid)
  4. Benefit from GSA OSDBU support and training opportunities. has an Events and Training page, in addition to videos and information on doing business with GSA. (ibid)

GSA is proud of its track record, having awarded over $651 million in prime contracts and $3.7 billion in subcontracts to WOSBs in FY23. In FY24, they’ve already awarded over $187 million. Women’s History Month 2024 is a tribute to the boundless potential of today’s women-owned small businesses, driving innovation and inspiring future generations. GSA continues to support them as a vital force for economic growth and progress in our nation. (ibid)

Want to know more about how your WOSB can get a GSA Schedule? Give us a call.

Are you listening, it’s me your government customer?

Business development expert Nic Coppins reveals eight habits that government contractors exhibit, alienating customers and stakeholders. While many deny these habits, they do exhibit them. This begs the question, are you customer-focused or just acting?

  1. Talking Too Much: Dominating conversations hinders engagement, prioritizing your voice over the customers’. Remember, if you are talking, you are losing. (Washington Technology, February 23, 2024)
  2. Jargon Overload: Speak plainly to ensure clarity; ditch confusing acronyms and tech terms to ensure your message hits home. (ibid)
  3. “Solution-itis” is an actual disease: Slow down, diagnose first, and tailor your solutions to fit customer needs. (ibid)
  4. Question Quality: Craft insightful questions to uncover unique challenges and differentiate yourself from the competition. (ibid)
  5. The Disengaged Listener: Be present and engaged; absorb what’s being said instead of rehearsing responses. (ibid)
  6. Self-Centered Approaches: Align with the customer’s needs, not overshadowing them with your agenda.
  7. Skipping Personal Connection: Take time to build rapport and trust before diving into business.
  8. The blame game, look inwards: Take responsibility for your communication style and actively seek feedback.

Confront these habits head-on to improve customer relationships and prioritize effective communication and genuine engagement.

Not certain how to get back on track? Give us a call.