Follow the money. To start bidding, check out Fbo.gov, which offers federal government procurement opportunities of more than $25,000. Government buyers publicize their business opportunities by posting the information directly to the site. Set-aside contracts for small business owners are imbedded in the FAR under the small business programs section. And becoming a General Service Administration schedule contractor is also an option. Through the GSA Schedule program, the GSA establishes long-term contracts that allow agencies to order certain commercial suppliers and services directly from GSA contractors. Check out www.gsa.gov/schedules.
Team up. Consider teaming up with a small business in your industry. This will increase your chances of getting a contract you may otherwise not be able to win on your own. Also, consider subcontracting with larger firms. Large businesses with prime contracts exceeding $550,000 (except construction, which is $1 million) must provide a plan with subcontracting opportunities for all categories of small businesses, according to the SBA. Check out the SBA’s SUB-Net, a searchable database prime contractors use to post subcontracting opportunities.
The story originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.