Contrary to what you may have heard on Instagram or otherwise, there is no such thing as a “GovCon Start-up”. While it’s recommended by the feds that you have government contracting built into your business plan, whether a small business even HAS a business plan is a whole other pain point.
A common challenge most small businesses face is that they find it impossible to build government contracting into their business plan, being unfamiliar with the market and where to find the information they need.
In case you are considering government contracting for your business, this blog will identify the most valuable resources available to you throughout the execution of your federal business development strategy.
SPOILER ALERT: The first three are absolutely FREE to you!
- SCORE – Service Corps of Retired Executives
What They Do: These retired men and women have business experience to share. SCORE helps with everything from a business plan template to online courses to help you conceptualize your growth strategy, as well as 1:1 counseling with a small business mentor. An excerpt from the FAQ page regarding SCORE, reads:
“SCORE, America’s premier source of free, confidential small business advice, was founded in 1964 as a nonprofit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Because SCORE receives government funding, and thanks to our more than 10,000 dedicated volunteers, we are able to deliver most of our offerings at no cost.”
What They Do NOT Do: SCORE does not assist with government contracting.
Get Help: Find a Mentor
- SBDC – Small Business Development Center
What They Do: The SBDCs also provide free services to local small businesses, being federally funded like SCORE. They assist with things like business planning, cyber security, web development, marketing, etc. They also provide various training resources and 1:1 counseling to give you an edge in business development. Each is geographically restricted to working within their respective communities so be sure to click the link below to find the one nearest you.
What They Do NOT Do: Most SBDCs do not help with government contracting.
Get Help: Sign Up
- PTAC – Procurement Technical Assistance Center (now rebranded: APEX Accelerators)
What They Do: APEX Accerlators provide free services to businesses of all sizes in the government contracting space. Their level of expertise includes all levels of government (city, state, local, and federal) and can be a valuable resource to their clients. The process for becoming a client varies by geographical location, however, be prepared to be accountable as all federally funded organizations have KPIs they must meet.
Stay in touch with your counselors and use their wealth of knowledge in government contracting to your benefit. Once you are accepted, you’ll receive access to tools and resources like bid-matching, Govology on-demand training, networking events, and more!
What They Do NOT Do: Procurement Counselors cannot do anything for you hands-on or represent you. They do not work for you, they work for their host, on behalf of the government that governs their cooperative agreement.
Get Help: Find a PTAC (APEX Accelerators)
- Fee-Based Professionals
What They Do: You can find a resource to provide just about anything and everything from market research to capability statements. Private consultants can also represent you, unlike the grant-funded options above.
There are also paid platforms out there that aggregate the same contracting data within SAM to provide a more user-friendly interface and experience. (Feel free to schedule below if you’re considering a paid service and want to evaluate its efficacy in comparison to publicly available options.)
We urge you to be cautious when choosing a paid service, as just about anyone can complete a SAM registration – whether or not it’s competitive, is another story. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that before every purchase, the company is performing market research in your industry prior to fulfillment.
What They Do NOT Do: Varies by specialty and organization.
Get Help: Schedule a Q&A
We have listed the above resources in order of necessity from start-up to award, though not to imply you have to pick only one. Once you are successful in being awarded a contract, you might choose to work with BOTH your APEX and fee-based professionals. We strongly encourage everyone to get the FACTS first by utilizing the free services out there before investing money. Check BBB reviews, Google reviews, and talk to previous customers of the company you’re considering working with.
Ultimately, it’s imperative to invest time, money, and resources into your government contracting strategy – just be sure to also do so wisely.