How a Small Business Can Win Government Contracts
The General Services Administration (GSA) procures all of the goods and services used by virtually every other Federal agency. It holds contracts for items ranging from office supplies to airplanes. GSA monitors all federal contracts for compliance with federal purchasing regulations, including the percentage of contracts awarded to small businesses such as yours.
GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization works on behalf of small, minority-owned, disadvantaged, veteran, and service-disabled veteran businesses to ensure that such businesses have equal access to federal contracts. Small business technical advisors work in the national office in Washington, DC. Small Business Utilization Centers are located throughout the United States, including Chicago, Boston, Denver, New York, and San Francisco, to name a few.
The regional offices provide a variety of services geared towards helping small businesses succeed. Procurement networking sessions, roundtables, and interagency networking breakfasts provide small businesses the opportunity to network with one another and with federal agencies that may be interested in purchasing their products. Marketing strategies and techniques workshops offer valuable and viable suggestions to help you run your business.
The Office of Small Business Utilization also operates the Center for Acquisition Excellence. This on-line academy provides procurement training on your schedule. The courses are offered free of charge and can provide you with invaluable insights regarding your business. The “Using GSA Schedules” course teaches vendors and customers how to use GSA schedules. Schedules are complex contracts containing a multitude of vendors selling their supplies to Federal agencies. However, many of the schedules are not limited to Federal agency use. For example, many of the schedules are open for cooperative purchasing – a program in which state and local governments and select nonprofit organizations can access federal pricing through the schedules while eliminating the inherent costs associated with procurement. These non-federal customers can save thousands of dollars on a single purchase through the use of GSA schedules. After completing this course, you will be able to decide whether or not placing your business on a GSA schedule will help you generate sales locally. The “Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts” course teaches vendors and customers how to purchase technology and technology-related services through Federal contracts.
Finally, the Office of Small Business Utilization provides links to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Procurement Technical Assistance Program. While GSA holds the majority of Federal contracts, DOD also contracts for many of its own supplies and services. The Procurement Technical Assistance Program will enable your business to access DOD contracting and subcontracting opportunities through Centers located throughout the United States.