When business owners open their doors, they typically always cater to individuals or other businesses. The biggest potential customer with the most money however, the government is often ignored by most small businesses. Federal government spending has steadily increased since the beginning of the 20th century and now accounts for a significant portion of the U.S. gross domestic product.
All though much government spending is for construction and defense, federal, state and local governments need all types of products and services and it’s worth browsing to see what your business can supply. The federal government lists all contract opportunities on FBO.gov and you can see everything entirely free of charge. There is great search filters and instructions of how to navigate the site.
All though navigating the Fed Biz Opps page is easy, there are a few steps to follow before your company can submit a bid for proposal. Business owners must register with the Central Contractor Registration, the Small Business Administration’s, dynamic small business search page and with ORCA. During the process you’ll notice you need to know the NAICS codes for the product or service you sell, DUNS number, CAGE Code, among a few other things you may not have right off hand. It’s a time consuming process, but once you have everything in place you can begin submitting bids to work with the government for products and services you already supply.
Another page to check is Grants.gov which is where small businesses, non profits and institutions can apply for grants from various government agencies. It’s a time consuming process to search and read through the details of what the grant entails as many of the announcements can be up to 50 pages in length or longer.
Business owners can all do business with states and municipal governments as well. Doing business with states varies with each state. Business owners must register with each state they hope to do business with and must pay a fee to submit bids. Municipal governments don’t typically charge to submit bids. Both municipal and state governments typically give preference to local businesses, however it’s common for out of state businesses to win bids if there isn’t a supplier locally or if products or services can be provided cheaper.
Perhaps doing business with the government is often overlooked because it’s a much more time consuming process and it isn’t as easy as doing business with individuals or other businesses. This barrier of entry however, lessens the number of bids submitted for projects which increases the opportunities of your bid being selected to provide the government with products or services you sell. The good news is Small Business Development Centers and consultants that help navigate the process of doing business with the government are available across the country and the service they provide is free of charge. Now that you know where to look to do business with the government, browse some of the business opportunities and start answering some requests for proposals.
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