Doing business with the government
- Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2018
When considering target markets for their products and services, many business owners often overlook one with vast potential — local, state and federal governments. Agencies and organizations at all three levels of government buy nearly everything imaginable from food, flowers and fighter jet components to janitorial services, construction and heavy equipment. In fact, governments spend more than $800 billion annually on various products and services, and the federal government is the world’s largest customer.
Yet business owners tell us that the overwhelming perception of government as a morass of red tape and bureaucracy turns them off. It just seems to be more trouble than it’s worth. Having to navigate a labyrinth of websites and acronyms such as MBE, WBE, SDVOSB, HUBZone, FedBizOpps and SAM just makes it worse.
But the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC) can help you navigate this maze.
The PTAC program is part of MU Extension’s Business Development Program. Its mission is to help businesses — including small, disadvantaged, veteran and women owned firms — obtain good federal, state and local government contracts.
MO PTAC offers business owners a variety of services to help with government contracting. The most popular is an electronic bid-matching service through which a business is notified any time a government agency seeks to purchase a product or service your company provides. The notification appears in your email and saves you the time of searching through FedBizOpps, a registry of federal business opportunities, and other resources offering appropriate solicitations.
If you do decide to bid, MO PTAC will then help with the solicitation package. We’ll work with you to prepare your bid, interpret the regulations and assist you with appropriate certifications that can make a difference in contracting, such as Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), service-disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) or Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone.
MO PTAC also offers numerous hands-on seminars and sessionsLINKTOCOME to identify and secure the government contracts right for you.
MO PTAC clients received more than 9,100 contracts valued at more than $410 million in fiscal year 2017. This has resulted in more than 5,079 jobs created or retained.
Tips from govology
There are plenty of low-risk opportunities for small businesses regardless of size, capability and resources.
In fact, more than 90 percent of government purchases and contracts fall under the Micro-Purchase Threshold, paid with credit cards, commonly referred to as government purchase cards, as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) part 13.003 (b)(1):
“Acquisitions of supplies or services that have an anticipated dollar value exceeding $3,500 ($20,000 for acquisitions as described in 13.201(g)(1)) but not exceeding $150,000 ($750,000 for acquisitions described in paragraph (1)(i) of the simplified acquisition threshold definition at 2.101) are reserved exclusively for small business concerns and shall be set aside.”
So if you are new to the federal marketplace, how can you and your team sleep well at night?
- Take baby steps.
- Start small. Beginning with smaller opportunities is a great way for your team to acclimate yourselves to this low-risk marketplace.
- Build a bid/no bid decision matrix. Don’t pursue opportunities beyond your capacity or risk tolerance.
- Get training for your team and give them time to learn.
- Build a mastermind network and don’t go it alone. There are many things you won’t know, but as long as you know who to ask, you will continue to move forward.
–Article courtesy of govology