You can get FREE help with your government contracting business.
In my webinars and blog posts, I frequently talk about how you can get no-cost support for your business development efforts in the government market through your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). Leveraging the resources and people at your local PTAC can make your road to government contracts much shorter and less bumpy.
My Top 6 Things You Should Know About PTACs
1. What Is a PTAC?
The short answer: It should be your first stop when looking for assistance with government contracting. Your local PTAC can help you in many ways for free or for a nominal cost (depends on the PTAC), especially early on as you’re trying to get your bearings in the government marketplace. A great description of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) and the Procurement Technical Assistance Program can be found on the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) website. Click here to read about this program, then come back for the rest of the story, as the late great Paul Harvey would say.
3. What You May Not Know About PTACs.
Whether you heard about PTACs through my blog posts and webinars or another source, what is not often mentioned is the amazing talent among their counselors across the U.S. I worked as a PTAC counselor for nearly 5 years following my experience in the acquisition community of several government agencies to include the U.S. Navy, City of Vancouver, WA, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. During my tenure as a PTAC counselor, some of the colleagues I worked with throughout Oregon and Washington included retired Contract Specialists from the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the General Services Administration (GSA). Do you want to be successful in winning and performing a contract with your target agency? What a better resource to have than a retired Contract Specialist from that agency. While not everyone in the PTAC family is a former Contract Specialist, each person has their own unique strengths and a passion to see you succeed in the government market.
4. What PTACs Do.
Common areas where PTACs provide support include but are not limited to the following:
- One-on-One Counseling
- Federal Registration Assistance
- Small Business Certification Assistance
- Bid Matching Service (great for helping you find government opportunities)
- Solicitation Interpretation
- Proposal Guidance & Review
- Subcontracting Assistance
In addition to the above areas, PTACs also provide frequent training on doing business with the government agencies through workshops and conferences. These venues offer an excellent opportunity to network and meet with government buyers, large primes, as well as other small business owners who may eventually become a teaming partner.
5. How to Get the Most Value Out of PTAC Resources.
I can’t speak for all PTACs across the country, as each program may differ from state to state in the way they provide support to their clients. However, when I was a PTAC counselor, I always told my clients to use me as often as they needed. In fact, I recommended regular meetings so that I could keep track of what’s happening in their business development efforts and continue to guide them through the next steps. By working together and keeping in regular contact with your PTAC, you will benefit by significantly reducing or eliminating problems that plague many small businesses who choose to do everything on their own. Your PTAC can also inform you about areas of risk for your business that you probably didn’t even know existed. That’s why I can’t stress enough the importance of a routine check in with your PTAC, even if you don’t have specific issues or questions. I recommend making an appointment for a one-on-one session with your local PTAC representative to get to know them, become a client, and find out how they can support your business.
6. PTAC Limitations & Alternate Resources.
While PTACs are great at guiding and helping you, they are not set up to do the work for you. Hence, there may be times when you seek third party support resources if you don’t have the time or desire to do it yourself. There are some wonderful people and companies in the private sector who can be instrumental in your success. However, you have to be careful because there are also plenty of predatory and aggressive companies out there who don’t have your best interest at heart. These companies will sell you on products and services for hundreds or thousands of dollars that will get you nowhere and that you can actually receive at no cost through your local PTAC. Additionally, many companies are downright deceptive when it comes to their marketing by making their websites and email campaigns look like official government correspondence. This is another area where PTACs can help to keep you from falling prey to some of these companies. My recommendation: If you receive an email or phone solicitation, before you engage anyone do your due diligence, don’t buy on the spot, research the company online, and consult with your local PTAC.
If you are seeking trusted resources to support you outside of PTAC, you can also visit Govology Connect. Each company in our service provider directory has been personally vetted by a member of the Govology team to help businesses better find and connect with trusted industry partners. That said, we recommend, as in any endeavor, that you interview two or three providers (even if they are in our directory) and conduct your own due diligence to ensure they are right for your company.
Meet the Author:
Carroll Bernard, Govology Co-Founder
As a coach and trainer in the government marketplace, Carroll offers a unique 360-degree perspective. Over the last 15 years, he has served as a Supply Officer in the acquisition community of the U.S. Navy, a Procurement Specialist for the City of Vancouver, Washington, and a Contracting Officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to his experience in government procurement, he has also provided mentorship, counseling, and training to thousands of small businesses seeking government contracts as a counselor in the Procurement Technical Assistance Program, an SBA Business Opportunity Specialist, and an independent coach, consultant, and trainer. Carroll is also a seasoned entrepreneur and has successfully built his own business through government market opportunities. He works collaboratively with non-profits and government entities who share his mission of supporting the small business community. These partnerships include Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, Women Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers to name a few.