Why be a defense contractor? There are several compelling reasons small businesses should consider supplying for the government. Apart from the hefty profit you stand to make, there is also the opportunity to expand your company in a lot of significant ways. Working with the government puts you in a position to partner with other businesses and create an impressive portfolio. Whether your contract is long-term or short-term, being able to say that you supplied for the government sets you apart from your competitors, especially if your operations are B2B. It’s a good way to certify your credentials with other businesses, too, and make them feel more assured of your legitimacy.
If you feel that these are things you want for your company, then there are steps you can take to foolproof this endeavor.
Validate Your Eligibility
You have to fit the government’s technical definition of a small business to qualify. This is determined first by your revenues and then by employee quantity. There are many ways you can assess your business yourself, starting with the Small Business Administration size standards tool. Different industries have different standards, and you must satisfy those in your category before you can go to the next step. Some of the conditions include the type of business ownership, whether you operate for profit, and your compliance with government regulations, particularly tax.
To simplify the process, check the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. There, you’ll be able to select the codes the describe your business best per section and industry.
Work on Your Credentials
There are certain credentials you need to procure before you can bid for government proposals. The most immediate one is your DUNS number, which stands for data universal numbering system. This is an identification generated by Dun and Bradstreet, which is crucial in the bidding process.
Look up the Federal Contractor Registry to create a profile. Without one, you won’t be included in the list of companies that are open to the idea of collaborating with the federal government.
There is also the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) which suppliers need to qualify for. This will ensure your cybersecurity agility, as it is integral in ensuring the safety of all government transactions. Know all you can about CMMC level 3 requirements so that you can prepare for it ASAP.
Look Out for Opportunities
You might think that finding an opportunity to supply for the government requires special invitation-only meetings and lots of handshaking. The truth is that they’re just posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website. The next crucial step is to monitor this site for opportunities that suit your business. Once you see one, you have two choices. You can include it in your watched opportunities list, or you can apply as an interested vendor.
That said, actually finding an opening that is appropriate for your business is not as easy. You have to continually monitor the website for updates and study the requirements to see if it’s something your business will profit from. Rushing into things might put you in a position where you’re not capable of delivering what’s expected.
Mind Your Contract Management
It takes a team to comprehend and work with federal guidelines. As such, you need a group of people who are dedicated to contract management. They are the ones who will ensure that your proposals are up to par and that you’re meeting the expectations and instructions of the project’s contracting office.
Polish Your Portfolio
What does the government look for when choosing a proposal? Three specific things weigh the most on their decisions. The first is also the most obvious: price. Second is your technical capabilities, as they need suppliers who can keep up with them.
The third is your history. Have you supplied for the government before? How did that turn out? Include detailed descriptions of why your previous clients chose you and what enabled you to deliver your services successfully. When you present these details well on paper, you have a higher chance of standing out from your competitors and actually landing the project.
It’s a Demanding Venture
It should go without saying that supplying for the government will always be demanding to a certain degree. While experience will help you cope better, you can expect that changes in certifications and other requirements will force you to make hefty investments and drastic improvements to keep up. Will it be worth it? Absolutely. This may be the venture your company needs to maximize its potential and dominate in your industry.