Federal dollars from the stimulus package are slowly making their way to state and local governments, which will award contracts for all kinds of goods and services with this money.
Money that was formerly spent in the for-profit sector is now being spent by government entities. If your business is not prepared to tap into this fertile source of contracts, it is time to pay attention. Of course you need to start by educating yourself on the stimulus package and the types of things that are being funded and will be funded.
But beyond that, I offer you ten tips to access stimulus-funded contracts:
- If you are a woman-owned or minority-owned (WBE or MBE) company, be sure that you have signed up to receive notification of federal, state, and local government Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in your key areas.
- Pay attention to large nonprofit organizations, locally and nationally, many of which are partnering with government entities to administer stimulus funds. If you do not subscribe to a notification service, you should consider doing so.
- Understand that public school systems and public colleges and universities are public agencies who will administer some of these funds.
- Attend local, regional, or national workshops and seminars being held to advise small businesses and WBE/MBE businesses about the contracting processes.
- If you qualify as a WBE or MBE but you are not certified, apply now to begin the formal certification process. You can start in your state and request reciprocal certification, or work through a national service that is recognized by a number of states.
- Be certain that your financial statements are accurate and up-to-date. You will need excellent financials in order to win public sector work.
- If you have not previously done business with public agencies, get some training and/or counseling about how to prepare to win a contract and to deliver on it.
- Explore the possibilities of developing a strategic relationship with a larger company (one experienced in government contracts) that is looking for reliable subcontractors.
- Learn how the RFP process works and what it takes to win. If the process is new to you, engage a coach, consultant, or trainer.
- Have a clear-cut process for determining which opportunities are a good fit for you and assessing the probability that you can win.
This is not an easy path to follow. But if you have been “meaning to” explore working in the public sector, or if you have had contracts with local or regional entities, it is a very good time to prepare your company to be successful in a new arena and/or at a higher level.
The Whale Hunters® are experts in helping small and midsize companies do business with much larger customers. Visit our website for more information and many free tools to help you plan.