Teaming is a good opportunity
for small businesses to increase their experience base as
well as to work with larger, more established companies.
For a small business
looking to get its first federal contracting experience or
for a company seeking growth in the federal market, teaming
is a good option. Teaming allows the large business to satisfy
its contractual obligation (in select cases) to subcontract
a portion of its contract to either a small,
8(a), disadvantaged, woman-owned, veteran-owned, service disabled
veteran-owned, or HUBZone business.
other-than-small businesses actively seek small firms to team
on contracts that have small business set-asides. These businesses
are willing to lend their expertise to assist smaller firms
in meeting the government's requirement for past performance
and business experience in exchange for a portion of the smaller
business' prime contract with the federal government. In this
situation, both parties also win because the smaller firm
gains the expertise of the larger, more experienced firm and
the large firm gains additional work and revenue. There are
several methods one can use to find potential teaming partners.
businesses that are active in the federal marketplace have
Small Business Liaison Offices (SBLOs) to help identify and
support small business outreach and teaming efforts. If an
other-than-small business has an SBLO, contact them directly.
If there is no SBLO, then you may want to start by contacting
their purchasing office. Inquire about the types of goods
or services that they purchase from outside vendors.
prime contractors will often advertise for teaming partners
In addition, DOC publishes a list of its large
business prime contractors that small businesses can market
If you are seeking
a teaming partner to augment your capabilities, a good place
to meet them is at industry tradeshows and other networking
Typically, mentor-protege programs have mentor firms (prime
contractors with active subcontracting plans) receiving incentives
for entering into agreements with protege firms (small business
concerns). Such agreements establish developmental assistance
programs provided by the mentor firm for the protege firm.
DOC does not currently have a mentor-protege program. However,
some other agencies such as the Department
of Defense, NASA,
of Energy do have Mentor-Protege programs.
Conferences and Tradeshows: There are many
conferences, tradeshows, and educational seminars to aid small
businesses in selling their products or services to the federal
government. Some congressional offices even host procurement
or vendor sessions for established and potential small businesses.
Most agencies have their own business opportunity fairs/seminars.
Many conferences are announced on the SBA
website and on the federal
In addition, there
are different interagency conferences that are geared specifically
to small businesses. For example, the DOC's Minority
Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the SBA co-sponsor
the national Minority Enterprise
Development Week conference held annually in Washington,
DC. During this week, most federal agencies set up information
booths where potential contractors can visit, pick up information
about the agency, its procurement plans, relevant agency contacts,
etc. Seminars related to federal contracting are also offered.
Visit the DOC OSDBU news and
events or MBDA websites
for event information.
Business Development Centers: Companies
who need assistance in researching the federal marketplace,
as it applies to their goods and services, can also find assistance
from MBDA's Minority
Business Development Centers and SBA's Small
Business Development Centers. The SBA will also provide
a list of Section 8(a) contracts by region, for a nominal
Other Organizations: Read about and become involved
with as many trade and professional organizations as you can.
You'll be able to learn and network with acquisition professionals,
joint venture partners, and others that may lead you to federal
Cards: Accepting government credit cards
can help you attract more federal buyers. In many cases, the
government will use the federal credit card for goods or services
purchased under simplified acquisition procedures and for
micro-purchases (see FAR
Part 13 - Simplified Acquisition Procedures). We suggest
that you consider accepting orders placed using a federal
credit card for two primary reasons: (1) In many instances,
this is the only method that some end users have to accept
the goods or services they need; (2) Once the end user accepts
the goods or services, payment is handled very quickly as
with any other credit card transaction. Note, that the dollar
limitations on the credit cards vary depending on the buying
Statement: A capability statement - (i.e.,
brochure, flyer, email, etc.) that highlights your products
or services - can be sent to the appropriate DOC bureau Small
Whatever format you decide to use, a capability statement
should include the products or services that you offer (along
with NAICS codes as applicable), a narrative description of
your business, a list of past and current clients with brief
project descriptions, your address and telephone number, and
a point of contact.
Contact: By maintaining regular contact
with the appropriate personnel (i.e., Small Business Specialist,
Program Manager, Contract Officer, Contracting Specialists,
OSDBU) you can remind them of your capabilities, find out
about any changes in the agency's procurement plans, and be
in a better position to compete when new requirements develop.
You should always have a solution to the government's needs
and to be the first firm government staff think of when they
see a new requirement in your area of expertise.
to 'Deliver': Make certain your company
can fully provide the product or service as promised. Nothing
will strip you of your credibility faster than making promises
or claims that you cannot fulfill. To prevent this, realistically
assess your capabilities, internal management resources, and
financial capabilities. Before contracting with your firm,
the government will evaluate your past performance and assess
your ability to perform successfully in the future. To make
certain you can pass this evaluation, talk to previous clients
and ask them how they felt about doing business with your
firm. If they have positive things to say, ask them if they
would be willing to serve as a reference.
Cards: Your business card should be easy
to read and include a brief description of the primary capability
of your business. It would also be helpful if it listed the
type(s) of small business categories that your company is
in (i.e., SB, SDB,
8(a), WOSB, VOSB, SDVOSB, HUBZone). Thousands of firms
market to the government, and it is difficult to retain from
year to year the brochures and capability statements we receive.
However, your business cards are easier to maintain. Therefore,
the more descriptive your business card, the easier it will
be for federal agency staff to contact you for various market
research, network, or outreach opportunities.
Procurement Data System (FPDS), operated by the General
Services Administration, provides information on federal contracts.
There is a lot of good information on their website regarding
federal agency socioeconomic accomplishments and goals.