The United States Federal Government has continued to increase its level of public spending for supplies and services by utilizing private companies to fulfil their needs through contract awards. Small to Mid-Sized companies have a tremendous opportunity to grow and diversify their business opportunities by venturing into this marketplace. Understanding what is essential to this process prior to venturing into this competitive environment is essential for success. Local, state, and federal government entities will seek established, reliable businesses to meet their needs. Having a track record of delivering quality goods and services on time and within budget is a pre-requisite for businesses wishing to venture in this direction. Having a solid reputation within your industry, along with building relationships that support this reputation, as well as having the financial capacity, are all critical aspects to securing a spot in this playing field. Yet, for many who meet these criteria, they stay on the outside looking in.
There are contracting assistance programs provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) www.sba.gov that can better position qualifying businesses to venture into and compete within the world of government contracting, thus, allowing them to gain the needed past performance and build relationships.
For government contracts that exceed the capacity of a small business, the government entity requires the large contractor pursuing these awards to submit a small business subcontracting plan which is specific to their intent to subcontract portions of the contract to small businesses. The rules which govern these plans can be found in Subpart 19.7 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation of the FAR.
These programs are a viable point of entry for small businesses seeking opportunity in the government contracting arena. The contracting assistance programs are eligibility based and require those interested to go through a certification process as well as maintain the criteria that positioned them for certification. The certification processes for these programs require a tremendous level of dedication and follow-thru. They are not designed for everyone and achieving certification is intentionally specific to the goals the programs are focused on. Pursuing these programs should be specific to your existing capabilities and your long-term goals. For additional information contact your local PTAC counselor http://www.sbtdc.org/pdf/ptac_map.pdf