Doing business with the government can have its advantages. Longer contracts more prone to renewal with a customer who pays on time are a dream come true for most small businesses.
But there are only so many local, state, and federal government entities with which to contract and competition can be fierce. So how do you qualify for government contracts and then set your small business apart? Here are three keys:
As we noted above, most government entities pay their bills on time. Signing contracts with the government also means more stability, predictability, and the chance for repeat business. You just need to know that there are opportunities, where to look for them, and how to qualify. The federal government set up a searchable database of available contract opportunities at FedBizOpps.gov, and certified "small, disadvantaged businesses" generally get priority.
The federal government has been ramping up its efforts to contract with more small businesses, meeting its goal of 23 percent in 2014. The push was largely based on hiring minority-owned businesses, so if your small business qualifies as one, that could put you in the driver's seat for government contracts. The news wasn't good for all sectors of government contracts, however -- while the federal government as a whole gave itself an A grade for small business contracts, the Department of Energy got an F (for the third straight year.)
Government contracts are great, but nothing is perfect. Political standoffs can delay projects, budget shortfalls can delay payment, and discrimination claims can be more serious. The last government shutdown sent many small businesses scrambling for other work, and the federal government often enforces more stringent harassment and discrimination regulations than state or local governments.
If you've got more questions about securing government contracts, or are having legal trouble with an existing contract, you can contact an experienced commercial attorney today.
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