How to Market Your Business to the Federal Government
Small and large businesses have more than a few options to market to various levels of the government, such as federal, state, and local government. Marketing to the government is no easy mission. What’s more is that every entity has their own way of procuring products and services. Therefore, businesses must use a variety of marketing strategies as well as being creative to help them be successful in marketing and establishing relationships with the government.
Although it’s a challenging task, it’s certainly not impossible to market and do business with the government. After all, the government spends billions of dollars every fiscal year. For example, according to usaspending.gov, federal spending for fiscal year 2014 was $367.0B (as of 10/23/14) in government contracts. So, what types of marketing strategies will help your business get a piece of the pie? The information below provides some tips on gaining marketing leverage to the federal government.
The Starting Point
- Know your products and/or services – some government agencies identify products and services by unique codes. The federal government mainly use North American Industry Classification Codes (NAICS), for example: 561720 Janitorial services
- Know the size limit for your codes – example: 561720 size limit is $18M (3 years of average annual receipts)
- Get a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) – this unique nine digit number identifies the business physical address. The number is issued by DUN & Bradstreet (D&B) at no cost
- Create an iUpdate account with D&B (no cost) – allows businesses easy access to their D&B information to edit, view, or print.
Of course, this information is a starting point for marketing to the government. However, it doesn’t stop there. Another reason for identifying codes, knowing your business size limit, and obtaining a DUNS number is to register with the federal government. This information is mandatory in order to create a profile and register with the System for Awards Management (SAM) and SBA Dynamic Small Business Search. SAM and SBA are the main databases to register with in order to do business with the federal government.
SAM was created to simplify the registration process. Unlike the former Central Contractor Registration (CCR), SAM is a one-stop shop for entering business information to make the process of marketing and doing business with the federal government user-friendly. No longer do businesses have to register in separate databases, i.e., CCR, SBA, and the Online Representation and Certification (ORCA). SAM registration is mandatory for all business types who are interested in obtaining federal contract awards.
Benefits of SAM
- An opportunity to receive prime contract awards
- The primary vendor database to do business with the federal government
- Use to make electronic payments
Benefits of SBA Dynamic Small Business Search
- Database of small businesses only
- Serves as a marketing tool
- Searched by government buyers
- Searched by large prime federal contractors
The total cost for following the steps mentioned is nothing. If you find it to be a tedious process, contact the closest Florida SBDC government contracting specialist for no-cost assistance. Be cautious of companies that want your business. Many of them will attempt to sell their services and charge a fee to get you registered.
As you can see, registering with the federal government is important to get a piece of that pie. It’s all about marketing to the government, which creates relationships and an opportunity to get you a contract. How do you start that relationship? It starts by obtaining the required information and then getting registered. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will see the value of marketing to the federal government.