How to Sell to the Federal Government: An Introduction

When it comes to doing business with the federal government, there are a few steps that need to be followed. Below you'll find an outline of some of the procedures that are uniques to selling to the government.

  • Register the small business on CCR and set up DUNS number:
  • Set up your US Small Business Administration (SBA) profile and customer number;
  • Identify “core” capabilities and products that your business can provide to the government and match these with NAICs codes;
  • Conduct marketing research by going on to FedBizOpps to research (1) current opportunities to identify what your business can respond to now and (2) past awards to identify forecasting opportunities.  Identify agencies that have historically purchased your products and services;
  • If there are current opportunities, then identify if your business can perform the Statement of Work (SoW), usually Section C of an RFP, and if so, then (1) identify if you need another business to increase your chances of award, and if so, then you might need a letter of intent or a subcontracting agreement, (2) prepare a draft response to the current opportunity, (3) submit your draft response to your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) to review and comment, (4) incorporate revisions by the PTAC, and (5) submit your response in accordance with the contract opportunity.  Make sure you keep a copy of your proof of communication (e.g., mailing and delivery receipts, email, etc.) as well as a hard copy and electronic copy of your response;
  • If there is a forecast opportunity (this is the marketing alarm going “Ding, Ding, Ding”), then (1) prepare & submit an Unsolicited Capability Statement the (a) agency’s contracting officials, (b) agency OSDBU, and (c) SBA PCR that administers the agency, (2) ask for an opportunity to meet with the agency’s contracting officials, the agency OSDBU and the SBA PCR to give a presentation of your business (this is your opportunity to sell, sell, sell), and (3) establish relationships, such as “teaming agreements” with the incumbent contractor providing services and other businesses the compliment your business (again, you may want to consult with an attorney as you enter into these “teaming agreements”), (4) if you are a certified small business (e.g., 8(a) and HUBZone), then ask your local SBA Business Development Representative (BDR) to (a) write a letter to the contracting officials at the agency on behalf of your business and (b) to contact the SBA PCR to discuss your company, and (5) if you a certified small business, then ask other small businesses that have the same certification to also (a) submit Capability Statements and (b) have it’s SBA BDR submit a letter and talk with the PCR.  For some set asides, if there are two certified businesses (e.g., HUBZone & SDVOSB), there are mandatory set asides and having another CCR registered, certified business might mandate that at least a portion of the work be set aside;
  • Apply for a GSA Schedule as a procurement vehicle to market your products and services; and
  • Consider applying for any small business set aside category that your business qualifies.
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    The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal assistance for an intellectual property issue, consult with Bambi Walters, or an Intellectual Property Lawyer near you to discuss the details of your case.
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