Some say big businesses will always try to squeeze out smaller competitors in a bid to take over a particular market segment. You may just be concerned that a few big businesses seem to be winning every government bid in your target market, which reduces your potential revenue stream and shrinks your bottom line (and growth potential). But, we’re here to tell you that this perception of big business dominance in the government contracting world is not reality. Yes, there are certainly some larger defense contractors that are repeatedly short-listed for multi-million and multi-billion-dollar Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. But the DoD, just like every other federal, state and local agency, has set aside contracts for small businesses along with small business contracting goals, which they consistently meet.
Plus, there are more than 100,000 public sector agencies in North America. (Can you see your sales pipeline and potential revenue stream growing already?) That means there are at least 99,999 other agencies that rely on a diverse mix of suppliers – such as your business – to fulfill their many internal customer requests for goods, services, construction, and more.
In fact, many public sector agencies are vocalizing their continued priority to source from small-to-medium businesses (SMB) whenever possible. At the end of the day, public sector customers are no different than private sector customers: they just want the best quality solution at the best price. Business size does not matter. What does matter is your ability to meet their specific requirements (including delivery times, quality, quantity, etc.) and your ability to provide the technical expertise required (for services, systems and construction). In fact, some agencies are recognizing – off the record – that smaller businesses and startups that are hungry for their business will often provide better customer service. They want a foot in the door and will do what it takes to deliver top quality goods and services to secure repeat business.
Even better, many municipalities want to protect their local economies. That means that they will continue to give preference to local businesses, startups, small businesses, and disadvantaged business entities (DBEs) when making certain types of purchases. That revenue stays in their communities, driving business growth, jobs and the overall strength of their economies. Higher education and nonprofit entities also appreciate the value that woman-, minority-, veteran- and locally-owned businesses bring to their programs. That is why many have expressed plans to maintain special buying programs that encourage procurement teams to source first from DBEs across many contract categories and prioritize DBEs for contracts below certain dollar thresholds when possible.
However, many agencies, including those at the federal level, are indicating a lack of competition in solicitations set-aside for small businesses and other DBEs. In other words, there are plenty of big opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses in government contracting, even if “big business” takes a sizeable chunk of the market. That is why it is so important you consistently leverage the following best practices to mine the government marketplace, find your niche and successfully compete against businesses of all sizes:
Do not assume that big businesses dominate government contracting, or that changing acquisition models will take away your potential public sector revenue. There are plenty of solicitations still being posted every single day for businesses like yours and even more opportunities to proactively market your business via growing online marketplaces used exclusively by the public sector. In fact, many federal, state and local agencies want more businesses like yours to respond to solicitations; they want to expand beyond the same one or two vendors bidding on the same contracts over and over. Increased competition is good for them, just as a current lack of competition is good for you. Use tools such as S2G to keep a close eye on the many thousands of RFPs/IFBs posted every day by the more than 100,000 North American agencies that can and should be in your sales pipeline.