Entrepreneurship Is A Team Effort
Entrepreneurship is the way that people can change their circumstances. As an entrepreneur, you can create your own salary. You create your own reality.
Sometimes, having a job limits you. Not that theres anything wrong with having a job, but as an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to create something special and uniquenot only for yourself, but for your family, for your community.
My last bit of advice is dont go it alone. Take the time to ask for help and explore what resources are available to you as a taxpayer, so that you can live your dream if entrepreneurship is something that you really want to do.
A small business and MWBE growth specialist, advocate, executive coach and trainer, Jean Kristensen is a woman on a mission to help others achieve their mission. Whether mentoring budding entrepreneurs, developing growth and marketing strategies for small businesses or consulting government agencies or prime contractors on fulfilling participation goals with qualified vendors, she is uniquely skilled at supporting clients reach their next level of success with measurable improvements and increases in revenue.
How To Find Government Contracts
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If you’re operating any type of business in the U.S., you can offer your products and services to the government. There are plenty of bid opportunities in all levels of government, whether it’s federal, state, county, or municipal. If you want to find the right government contracts for your business, there are several places you can look.
How To Find Government Procurements
The Ontario government issues requests for bids and invitations to quote to procure goods and services. Open competitive opportunities are posted on the Ontario Tenders Portal. Agreements are then established with a particular vendor or vendors.
Contracts must be advertised openly for:
- goods valued at $25,000 or more for Ontario Public Service and $100,000 or more for the broader public sector
- services and construction valued at $100,000 or more
These thresholds are set by trade agreements that Ontario is a party to.
There may also be a vendor of record arrangement that authorizes multiple vendors to provide ministries with goods or services for a defined period under specific terms, conditions and pricing.
The Ministry of Transportation uses Registry, Appraisal and Qualification System to advertise large capital construction projects.
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Best Business Industries For Joint Venture Federal Contracting
Once you have started a joint venture, you must choose an industry to enter and assess the current market state. Here are the best industries to choose from and the factors to consider for a successful joint venture:
Industry attractiveness: Is this an area with lots of growth potential?
Competitors: Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can you differentiate yourself from them?
Legal and cultural hurdles: Does the country have laws restricting foreign investment or requiring joint ventures with a local partnership agreement? Could language or cultural barriers cause difficulties with your business partner? Cultural mismatches can lead to poor integration, while good partnerships can increase productivity.
The categories listed below cost federal agencies billions in the past years:
1. Facilities and construction
According to General Services Administration, the facilities and construction approximated $74.6 billion to meet the demands of acquisition solutions for the following:
- Facility-related materials
The government spending on information technology continues to increase as it focuses on cybercrime defense modernization as the cybercrime rates continue to grow.
The federal government spent about $1.2 trillion on health care in the fiscal year 2019. Also, income tax expenditures for health care reached $234 billion.
4. Industrial products and services
5. Human capital
7. Logistics services
Follow The Uniform Contract Format
No matter the type, all solicitations share the expectation that aspiring contractors follow a specific format. Success in procuring government contracts has as much to do with your ability to follow instructions in the proposal formatting and submission process as the substance of your proposal. So, make sure that you follow all schedules and forms within the solicitation in the exact order, structure, and time frame requested. The SBAâs free âGovernment Contracting 101â online course is a great resource for in-depth understanding of the purpose, forms, and expectations for each of the 10 sections within the Uniform Contract Format.
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Price Your Bid Appropriately
Federal contracting officers are expected to ensure that supplies and services for government agencies are purchased at fair and reasonable prices, and they conduct a significant amount of market research to understand typical pricing before making a proposal solicitation. At the same time, most solicitations are met with a competitive number of bids, leaving you as the business owner tasked with issuing a competitive bid while still reasonably maximizing your profit potential.
As you can imagine, setting your contract pricing well will be critical to your ability to win profitable government contracts. You need to consider your costs both during bidding and the fulfillment of the contract while allowing enough room for day-to-day overhead.
Remember as you bid that contracting officers arenât necessarily seeking the lowest price, but rather the best value with all factors considered. Look for ways to add value in your bid without increasing overhead costs to maximize your companyâs appeal as the âbest valueâ offer.
Request For Supply Arrangement
This method is used to solicit bids from a pool of pre-qualified suppliers for specific requirements. The intent is to establish a framework to permit expeditious processing individual bid solicitations which result in legal binding contracts for the goods and services described in those bid solicitations.
For more information, please visit the Supply Arrangements Web page.
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Register Your Business At Sam
This is an essential step of the process. The System for Award Management website is a database used by government agencies to publish contract opportunities and scout for qualified government contractors. And that is why being registered at SAM means that the United States government recognizes you as an official government contractor and is eligible to start bidding for federal contracts.
On top of that, you will also be eligible to bid for special contracts reserved for small disadvantaged businesses.
Top Tips For Finding Federal Contracts
North Dakota District Office
Government contracting can be great for small business, and researching these opportunities online can be a great place to start. However, searching the internet for government opportunities can also be extremely frustrating. If you are not familiar with the process, a simple search can present a list of solicitations that can take days to review. How can you simplify the effort while still keeping it effective? We have a few tips:
Tip 1: Make sure you are registered in the System for Award Management at . You cannot bid on federal solicitations unless you are registered in this database. This mandatory registration is FREE of charge. Make sure you are on the official site as there are many commercial website designs that appear similar to the official government site but they charge fees.
Your SAM.gov registration must be updated to stay active. I recommend you do so at least every 6 months. You will receive emails from SAM.gov to remind you your password expires and automated emails at 60, 30 and 10 days before your SAM profile expires. If you dont update your profile it becomes inactive and is no longer listed.
You can also use DSBS to view information about your competitors, therefore make sure your profile corresponds with the profile of your competition.
There are many helpful web sites available when researching forecasts. Acquisition Central lets you search forecasts by agency.
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How Contracts Are Awarded
After evaluating bids, Procurement Services will issue a contract to the successful supplier.
The name of the successful supplier, award date, and the contracted prices will be available on the Alberta Purchasing Connection following the contract award.
Unsuccessful suppliers will be debriefed by Procurement Services, upon request.
The solicitation will specify if the award will be made to one or more suppliers.
Finding Opportunities And Providing Services To The Federal Government
Knowing how to start selling digital services to the federal government can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned business owner.
This guide is intended to walk through some of the initial processes required in an effort to reduce the time it takes to bring innovative digital service companies into the government marketplace.
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Legally Register Your Business
Depending on the location and nature of your business, the specific requirements to register your business may vary. But in general, you have to make sure that you obtain an Employer Identification Number or federal tax ID for your company.
To get your federal tax ID, visit the IRSs official website and follow the instructions. Aside from paying your taxes that are mandated by federal law, your EIN is a crucial requirement in opening a corporate bank account. Once you have won your government contract, that is where the federal agency will wire your payment.
Decide On The Joint Venture Type
After two companies form a partnership, the next thing to do is choose the right business structure. Here are ways to do this:
- Start a separate entity for the joint venture. It can either be a limited liability company or a corporation. Each party has an entitled to the newly formed entity.
- This is more expensive and complex as it comes with responsibilities with filing and paying its own business taxes. An advantage is that it has more legal protection to face future problems.
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Record Group 1: Records Of The Cooperative State Research Service
- Current Research Information System , FY1988-FY1994National Archives Identifier: 6207709Online Access:
This series contains information on publicly-supported agricultural, food and nutrition, and forestry research projects. The projects describe the work of U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies, the State Agricultural Experiment Stations, the state land-grant colleges and universities, state schools of forestry, cooperating schools of veterinary medicine, and USDA grant recipients. This series is the predecessor to a series with the same title in Record Group 540 .
Market Directly To Agencies
If youâre in a very specific industry or know exactly which government agency your small business is most suited to contract with, you can market your firm directly to either targeted agencies or prime contractors. To do this, you would use SAM.gov and SUB-Net to identify existing procurement needs. Then, you can communicate directly to those agencies why your company is the right choice to fill that.
Opportunities to connect with agency decision-makers are available through procurement conferences, industry events, and even contract matchmaking events.
Even if an agency doesnât have a current contract opening, taking advantage of direct marketing opportunities will help your business establish its name among the government contracting community as a key âcontract playerâ in your line of work. Check out the website for your local SBA district office to find trainings and events in your community that involve your target agencies.
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How To Register For Government Contracts
Now that youâve been convinced of the value of government contracts for small business, letâs talk about how to get started with government contracting. As you may have assumed, a few extra steps are involved in qualifying to serve as a contracted vendor for the U.S. government, and that includes registering in whatâs called the System for Award Management.
Heres how to register:
Dynamic Small Business Search
Approximately one-quarter of all federal contracts are set aside each year for small businesses. The DSBS is maintained by the Small Business Administration . The DSBS is free to use and allows small businesses to access a list of federal contracts specifically set aside for small businesses.
In addition to meeting the numerical requirements to qualify as a small business, a company must also meet the other general requirements to qualify are federal contracts that aside for small businesses. Those qualifications are:
· The company must be a for-profit business
· The company must be independently owned and operated
· The company cannot dominate the field nationally for its particular product or service and,
· The company must be physically located and operate within the United States or one of its territories.
Approximately one-quarter of all federal contracts are set aside each year for small businesses.
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Use Navigator To Find More Government Bids
- 50 state governments
- Cities with populations over 18,000
- Counties with populations over 43,000
- K-12 school districts with student enrollment greater than 5,000
- Special districts with budgets greater than $33 million
- Public universities, private universities and community colleges with enrollment greater than 2,500
Register In The System For Award Management
The System for Award Management is a database of companies that are interested in government contracts, maintained by the U.S. government. Whereas a business customer in the private sector might come across your business on Google, LinkedIn, or some other search or social network, decision-makers at government agencies use SAM to identify potential vendors.
For this reason, small businesses looking to obtain government contracts should invest a similar level of effort into creating a compelling and search-friendly SAM profile as they would spend on SEO strategy or your companyâs LinkedIn profile.
To get started, your business will need to register as a government vendor in the SAM system. While your SAM profile must be updated at least once a year to remain active, firms committed to obtaining government contracts should update and refine their SAM profile at least quarterly, if not monthly or more.
Remember that although youâre pitching to government agencies, the decision-makers within those agencies are real people. Avoid the temptation to fall into overly technical and bureaucratic descriptions of your products or services. Working with a government agency doesnât require stifling the personality behind your brand!
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Request For Your Duns Number
Your DUNS Number is your unique, 9-digit identifier code provided by Dun & Bradstreet . To obtain your DUNS Number, you must submit your application to the D& B website. This government service is free of charge and will take around 1-3 business days to fulfill. The system will send your DUNS Number through your registered email.
Find The Right Partner
The first step is to find one or more venture partners, depending on the size of the business partnership. This is crucial if you have developed new products but need wide distribution channels to reach new markets.
You can ask potential partners how they distribute their products or services. Also, conduct independent market research before starting a distribution agreement and piquing their interest in a joint venture.
The next thing to do is assess their companys financial resources and expectations from the joint venture arrangement. Remember to be prepared for serious negotiations in the process, including customer lists, production schedules, trust as you would share your own information with each other, and other proprietary details.
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Record Group : Records Of The General Services Administration
- Records of Contracts Awarded by Federal Agencies, FY1978-FY1997National Archives Identifier: 573450Online Access: Search
This series contains records from the Federal Procurement Data System identifying individual Federal Government contracts valued at $25,000 or more for all civilian agencies and may also include contracts valued below $25,000. Additional information about the Federal Procurement Data System is also available on the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation website at .
More Information Gives Small Businesses A Leg Up
Think about the last proposal or bid you sent to a prospective customer. When preparing that bid and setting your rates, how helpful would it have been to know exactly what the customer was looking for and how much they were prepared to spend? It would be a game-changer. Yet when youâre bidding on government contracts for small businesses, this dream can be a reality every single time.
Federal agencies are required by law to create written budgets annually, detailing exactly what they intend to purchase and the funds they have allocated for those purchases. And the best news for business owners? Those budgets are available in the public domain through the Office of Management and Budget website. If youâre willing to dig in and do some research, you can get the inside scoop on your prospective customerâs strategy and goals for the contract youâre proposing as you prepare your bid.
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Complete Your Sba Profile
If you are a small business owner, you should remember to fulfill your SBA profile as soon as you finish your SAM.gov registration. Your SBA profile is the first thing government buyers will see when looking for suitable federal contractors, so having a clear and compelling SBA profile can boost your chances of winning a contract.
For your SBA profile, use relevant keywords that best describe your business. Your profile should be clear and compelling that the government buyer can get a gist of your products and services with a glance.
Record Group 3: Records Of The Office Of The Secretary Of Defense
- Records of Prime Contracts Awarded by the Military Services and Agencies, FY1965-FY1975National Archives Identifier: 606901
- Online Access: Search
This series contains information from the Defense Contract Action Data System about contracts for goods and services between the private sector and the military services agencies of the Department of Defense, beginning with fiscal year 1976 through the current transfer of data. Up to fiscal year 1983, the records include contracts with a value of $10,000 or more. Beginning in fiscal year 1983, the records include contracts of $25,000 or larger. The DCADS is the successor to the Military Prime Contract Files. More recent Department of Defense procurement data and reports is available through the Federal Procurement Data System Next Generation website at and through .
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