Do you monitor fedbizopps.gov and other websites that track potential federal contracts? Congratulations: you’re doing a great job…of finding 20% of all federal contracts.
Some 80% of government contracts are never put up for bid, and if a contract is under a certain dollar amount, government agencies are under no obligation to issue a bid notice. (This is particularly true for smaller purchases of goods, rather than services.) What does this mean for the average small business seeking to do business with the DoD and other federal agencies? It means that without aggressive networking, your company is missing out on thousands of government contract opportunities every year.
Government agencies and their purchasing/contracting officers often rely on pre-existing relationships and preferred vendor lists for all of these less lofty contract awards. In addition, when your bid is the first time a government agency learns of your company, you can be sure your proposal is heading for the bottom of the pile.
How do you get to the top of the pile or, even better, how do you ensure there is no pile of bids, only your name? Network. Build relationships. Become known. Here’s how:
- Ask contracting officers you know to introduce you to their counterparts at other agencies, or allow you to drop their names when contracting other agencies
- Attend the trade shows your prospects attend: host a booth, be a speaker, join a panel, sponsor an event, walk the floor
- Submit press releases to the publications your prospects read, post on the blogs they visit, make sure they see your name wherever they go
- Join industry groups and attend industry events that attract your prospects
Many contracts go to companies the contracting officers know. Network to make sure they know yours.