Firms, both large and small, interested in doing business with the federal government must help themselves by learning how the federal government conducts its business and by identifying and seeking out those purchasing offices that buy the products and services they can supply.
However, additional help and advice are available to you as you work through this maze called government contracting. In this Part, we will describe the general areas from which you can get assistance as you go through the contracting process:
- Directly from the government
- From government-sponsored and commercial counseling services
- From professional associations
Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your situation and circumstances, you will have to determine which one or which combination works best for you.
We also describe another area of assistance that is available to you: the special federal programs and initiatives designed to benefit small businesses.
- Help from the Government: The government stands ready to help you during the contracting process. Learn about the different types of small business specialists that have been hired to work with, and advocate for, small businesses during the contracting process. We also tell you which government web sites and publications are most helpful for small businesses and where to find out about procurement conferences, which provide a great way to network with government buyers and large prime contractors.
- Help from Counseling Services: Personalized assistance and advice are available to you through both government-sponsored and commercial counseling services and from professional associations. We explain the services they offer and tell you how to find them.
- Special Small Business Programs: There are several federal programs that are designed to encourage participation by small businesses in the government contracting process, including small businesses owned by certain minority and disadvantaged groups. Find out what benefits they offer and what you need to do to qualify.
- Other SBA Programs: The Small Business Administration administers several programs that are designed to help small businesses market to both large business and government procurements.