To find current government contracts, both those awarded directly through governments as well as subcontracting opportunities, the Web is a tremendous resource. Frequently, applications have a fairly brief timeline, so you may need to act fast if you turn up a posting that seems tailor-made for your business. Some posted bids come with deadlines as short as a month.
If you’re new to this entire process, don’t expect to be able to pounce on a promising-looking federal contract opportunity if you haven’t done all the requisite registration paperwork. That will probably take more time to perform than a contract’s submission deadline allows. But acquainting yourself with current contracts out for bid can give you a realistic picture of the territory ahead.
Federal contracting registration requirements are covered in the next section. You’ll want to have a lot of boilerplate information about your company ready to use when you submit bids so you won’t get too bogged down in paperwork for every one you make.
You also may want to think about partnering on a bid with another company. For example, if you come across a contract opportunity that would be a good fit for your business with the exception of some requirements, can you think of another business that you could subcontract that work to? Many times, small businesses need to think creatively – and act opportunistically – particularly when they’re going after that first contract.
Finally, in your search for contracting opportunities, don’t forget your network. If you’re looking to make government work a key part of your business, ask around to see if you can be introduced to someone who has experience in these contracts and knows the ropes. Even a few pointers on how to narrow your search could point you in fruitful (and efficient) directions as you go about conducting Web searches.