Before you can bid on government market opportunities, you first have to find them. Prospecting is not something that comes easy to many small businesses for a couple of reasons:
- They do not have a routine process for conducting prospecting, and
- The majority of spend in most industries is never published to a public website.
After completing the steps below, you will be in a much better position to find open market government opportunities for small businesses made available to the general public. You will also understand where to look for the opportunities that are not made public.
Prospecting Process: Step-by-Step
- Block out 30 – 60 minutes on your calendar each day for prospecting. This is a routine process that should be done every day when looking for opportunities. Any type of success in sales revolves around 3 key activities: Prospecting, Presenting, and Following up. Build prospecting into your list of activities today.
- Meet with your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) to discuss prospecting strategies. Ask for insight on opportunities with both federal and local non-federal (City, State, County, etc.) governmental entities and prime contractors.
- When meeting with your local PTAC, get signed up for their bid matching system. This service is typically free or very inexpensive. Click here to locate your local PTAC.
- Create an account on www.fbo.gov using the Vendors/Citizens box located in the lower portion of their home page. This is the primary website where agencies are required to post notices of open market opportunities greater than $25k. For assistance with registering, watch FBO’s video tutorial “How to Register, Login, and use Forgot Password”. **Note** The “How to Register” video makes reference to CCR, which is an older system now integrated into SAM.GOV. Don’t search for “registering on CCR” since it doesn’t exist any more.
- Watch the following FBO tutorial videos to get acclimated with the FBO.GOV website:
- Set up search agents on FBO to email you alerts of opportunities for a specific keyword, NAICS code, or other criteria.
- Look for Grant Opportunities on www.grants.gov. You can also set up email alerts similar to FBO search agents on the Manage Subscriptions page of their website.
FYI! If you set up search agents on FBO and also sign up for your PTAC’s bid matching service, you may receive a duplicate of some leads as the PTAC bid matching service also scans FBO opportunities. This is actually a good thing, just in case one of your PTAC bid matching queries doesn’t pick up on a great opportunity from FBO and vice versa. If you are finding that you are receiving relevant leads from FBO that you are not receiving from your PTAC’s bid matching service, speak with your PTAC representative about modifying the queries to help find those opportunities. PTAC bid matching services can and should be modified or updated as often as needed to produce the most relevant results. The more input you provide your PTAC counselor over time, the more the system can be modified to provide you with the best set of leads.
When building searches using keywords, if you identify that there is a particular buyer in the government who will be issuing a solicitation for what you sell, you can also add their name as a keyword to your search agents and bid matching services. That way, you can be notified of anything they post.
Other Places to Prospect
Register for these 3rd party websites as another way of receiving opportunities which may or may not be publicized at FBO.GOV:
- www.fedconnect.net – a 3rd party website used by federal agencies to post solicitation and grant opportunities. Registration on this website is free.
- www.fedbid.com – a third party reverse auction portal used heavily by federal agencies to acquire all types of goods and services. Registration is free. However; Fedbid charges a 3% fee, which is tacked on to every bid. If you win an opportunity on Fedbid, you will pay Fedbid the 3% fee and get reimbursed by the government in your invoice.
- Watch fedbid.com “Getting Started” video tutorials to get familiar with their system.
Ask your target agency’s Buyers or Small Business Specialist about websites other than those listed above that you should watch for opportunities from their agency. There are a number of other websites where federal agencies post opportunities. A few examples include Army Single Face to Industry (ASFI), Navy Electronic Commerce Online (NECO), or the Defense Logistics Agency’s Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS). FYI! You can find out who your target agency’s regional Small Business Specialist is by calling or emailing the relevant national office of small and disadvantaged business utilization (OSDBU) point of contact. Click here to access the national OSDBU directory. After checking off all of the boxes in the prospecting section, you will have a solid foundation for finding government market opportunities. We hope this article has been helpful and wish you great success in your government market pursuits.