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Small Business

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.

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.

SBA aims to boost Black Business Dollars

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) aims to boost federal contracting dollars for Black businesses through an upgraded government contract training program and other initiatives. The agency is revitalizing its SBA 7(j) Training Program, now known as Empower to Grow (E2G), to enhance small, disadvantaged businesses’ readiness for federal contracting, as stated in a recent SBA press release. (Black Enterprise February 5, 2024)

This revamped program coincides with the release of new data from fiscal years 2022 and 2021, indicating record-breaking federal contracting dollars for small businesses across various demographics, including an uptick in contracting dollars for Small Disadvantaged Businesses. (ibid)

In line with these efforts, the Biden-Harris administration has announced measures to broaden small business access to federal contracts, recognizing the federal government’s significant purchasing power globally. The White House specifically acknowledges the E2G program when discussing strategies to bolster support for small businesses and ultimately building wealth in underserved communities. (ibid)

President Joe Biden has set an ambitious goal of allocating 15% of federal prime contracting to small, disadvantaged businesses (SDB) by fiscal year 2025, potentially injecting $100 billion into minority-owned and underserved businesses. (ibid)

The SBA underscores that the E2G program represents just one facet of comprehensive efforts by the Biden-Harris administration and the SBA to achieve the SDB goal. Already, these efforts have resulted in a half-billion-dollar increase in federal contracts awarded to Black-owned small businesses in 2023. (ibid)

SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman emphasizes the role of small business growth in job creation and community strengthening, highlighting the administration’s commitment to equity and a level playing field for all small business owners. (ibid)

Despite progress, disparities persist, with Black-owned small businesses receiving $9.5 billion from federal contracts in 2022, up $490 million from 2021, while Native Americans captured $19 billion, up $1.62 billion from the previous year. However, these figures pale in comparison to the almost $163 billion spent on all federal contracts that year.(ibid)

Acknowledging these disparities, the SBA is actively addressing barriers to entry for Black businesses in securing government contracts. Additional resources are being allocated to assist more disadvantaged business owners, including Black firms, in overcoming these barriers. (ibid)

Program enhancements to E2G include customizable one-on-one coaching and expanded offerings tailored to the needs of Black-owned firms, with the aim of facilitating connections with state and local contracting opportunities.(ibid)

E2G will introduce new tools to access $2 trillion in state and local bid opportunities, further bridging the gap for Black-owned firms seeking state and local contracting opportunities. (ibid)

The SBA emphasizes that the program’s impact on contracting dollars for Black-owned businesses hinges on participation, with the bid win rate expected to rise due to the heightened emphasis on added E2G resources. (ibid)

Would you like to know more about the program enhancements, one-on-one coaching and expanded offerings of E2G? Give us a call.

Small businesses must get strategic for maximum impact and growth

How can a small business with limited resources get strategic about growth? Even with limited monetary, time, and personnel outlay, those resources may be leveraged and lead to growth, by doing these three things:

Association Involvement: In the relationship-driven market, actively engage with associations like AFCEA or ACT-IAC to establish a strong market presence. Increase visibility by volunteering, selecting associations wisely based on your goals. Take advantage of tiered membership fees offered by major associations, enabling affordable entry for smaller companies. Set milestones for partnerships, contracts, and market intelligence. (Washington Technology December 21, 2023)

Deeper and Stronger Differentiation: Go beyond generic labels like “cyber” by specifying your focus, such as network security or data security. Highlight key staff, subject matter experts (SMEs), and socio-economic status for a unique position. Clearly articulate your expertise, substantiating claims with content and past performance. Effective differentiation is crucial in a competitive market. (ibid)

LinkedIn Strategy: Harness the power of LinkedIn for agency-based marketing, content distribution, and branding. Research company pages and actively connect with the federal government and contracting community. Utilize LinkedIn for positioning, vetting, recruiting, and highlighting subject matter experts. Integrate LinkedIn into your overall growth strategy for comprehensive results. (ibid)

By implementing these tactics in tandem, your company can achieve impactful results without excessively tapping into limited resources. (ibid)

Trying to determine the first steps? Give us a call.