10 Step Process on How to do Business with the Government
Let’s get to work and help you win a government contract! If you currently have a company, then you can skip to Step #3… if not, let's start with the basics.
Step 1: Figure out if you want to sell products or provide a service. When you are in the service industry(ex..janitorial services, landscaping, IT services, etc.) you will need to physically be on location to help the agencies. When selling products, you can ship anywhere.
Step 2: Register your business by creating an LLC. If you have a business idea, you will want to protect your personal assets and qualify for tax benefits. Once you win your first government deal, the agency will need to set you up as a vendor for payment. You will provide a W-9 form with your business tax information.
Step 3: Purchase your domain name and register your social media accounts. Think of your website as a billboard, keep your message short and sweet so people understand how you can help. You will also be able to use your domain name as an email address, to increase your professionalism. Also register your business name with social media(LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) accounts. Do this as soon as possible, even if you do not have any content to post!
Step 4: Contact every agency within a 100 mile radius. This is the scary part for some people but you have to put yourself out there and form relationships with your local cities, counties and schools. The government purchases 80% of their products/services outside of the bid/rfp process!! Your objective for the call is to identify who purchases what you sell and make sure they know who you are and how you can help. This is the awareness campaign.
Step 5: Follow-up process. Once you have planted the seeds of how your company can help solve a problem for the agency, you will need to stay top of mind with the buyers in your area. Be willing to work smaller projects that fall into the discretionary spend limit to get a few quick wins.
Step 6: Share testimonials. Now that you have won a few government deals, you will want to get agency testimonials(video or print) to share with other agencies. This will help validate your company as a government contractor and boost your likelihood of scheduling meetings with new prospects.
Step 7: Expand your territory. After you are known by every agency in your area, it is time to grow across your home state. The next step would be to target your region, then you should focus on the entire United States once you have the region covered. Your reputation is everything when it comes to working with the government. Don’t be in a hurry to ramp up until you have your sales/service process refined.
Step 8: Subscribe to a bid service. As you expand your territory, you will need to know about upcoming projects, and a bid notification service is a convenient way to see what agencies are buying what you sell. This saves a lot of time from checking each individual agency website. (If you are a GSU customer, this is included in your subscription!)
Step 9: Register for Sam.Gov. This is a free website that allows you to see Federal government opportunities. We save this step for the end to increase your chances of winning these contracts. Federal agencies will review your past performance history and it is easier to land government contracts in the SLED(State, Local, Education) market to validate your company.
Step 10: Rinse and Repeat. You should follow-up with existing clients to make sure they are happy and continue prospecting new business. Pursue cooperative agreements and state contracts to make it easier for agencies to buy.