The pandemic may have forced many businesses to close when it started, but it also encouraged a lot of people to start their own ventures after seeing opportunities in the middle of the crisis. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau showed people applied for licenses for over 1.5 million new businesses from August to October.
Many of the new businesses offered digital services, with an increasing number of businesses turning to e-commerce to connect with their customers. At this point, some business owners are already thinking about expanding their businesses. One way for them to expand is to become a government contractor.
Getting a government contract takes a lot of effort and time since it’s challenging to land one. Here are some tips business owners can take into account if they are planning to become a government contractor.
Register the Business
The first thing these business owners should do is to register their businesses on the System for Award Management of the U.S. government. Only businesses registered on the website can qualify to get contracts with the government. After the registration, the business will become a part of the contractor database, and it can start bidding for contracts or jobs.
When registering, business owners should provide their Taxpayer Identification Number, Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code, products or services they offer, bank information, and corporate structure.
Ensure the Security of Digital Assets
Securing the digital assets of the business is essential to prevent leaking sensitive information to the public. Due to this, the business owner should make sure its database security is top-notch and will not be easily accessed by hackers and other unauthorized personnel. This is particularly true when working on defense projects. Having a staff member with a security clearance can also help the business acquire higher-paying defense contracts.
The business should also qualify for the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification or CMMC Level 3, which is required for select contractors working with controlled unclassified information (CUI) of the government. This security level requires all the practices from NIST SP 800-171r1, which means it encompasses all 130 practices of the NIST Special Publication.
Focus on an Expertise
Business owners should also focus on their expertise and the nature of their business. They can also include other areas that are close to the nature of their business. Staying focused allows businesses to have a targeted approach when they bid on projects. This approach increases the chances of businesses getting to contracts.
Additionally, focusing on their expertise means businesses can provide better results at the end of the contract. It also increases their chances of getting new contracts from the government. Businesses should show their reputation through the first few projects they work on. Once they have a good reputation, they may become experts in their field. They can use this as part of their strategy in increasing the number of projects they can work on.
Search for Potential Contracts
After finalizing their approach or strategy, businesses can start searching for contracts that they can bid on. They can look at the System for Award Management website for federal contracts. The website has several contracts that businesses may be interested in. These contracts are more often worth over $25,000.
Businesses should check the website often to see the projects available for them to bid on. Aside from the available opportunities, businesses can also focus on specific agencies they want to work on through the website. For business owners who are new to government contracting, the website also features several resources, including videos, that help them win projects from the government.
Create Professional Proposals
Similar to applying for a job, business owners should also create professional proposals once they find a contract they want to bid on. Business owners should go through the Request for Quote (RFQ) or Request for Proposal (RFP) to know the specific requirements of the project. Once they know the requirements, they can work on a proposal that shows their understanding of the project.
Businesses should also show in the proposal how it can help the government agency with their requirements while indicating that they are the best firm for the project. For businesses that are new to the world of government contracting, they may opt to get a proposal management company to help them with the proposal. However, they should make sure the company has enough experience in working on proposals for government contracts. The proposal sells the capabilities of the business and allows it to stand out in the market.
Getting a government contract is challenging, but it is a profitable option for businesses looking to expand in the middle of the pandemic.