How much money do you spend marketing your MWBE?
If you’re like most small businesses, your marketing budget probably goes into maintaining your online presence, boosting your exposure on social media, and maybe doing some real-world promotions to solidify the relationship with your customer base. All of these are time-honored ways of getting the name of your business out there.
However, there is another area where marketing comes into play. If you want to start landing contracts and subcontracting jobs with government agencies, you need to focus some of your marketing in that direction. But how, exactly, do you achieve this?
Why Market to the Government?
It’s not surprising to me that many small businesses have no idea how to market to government agencies. In many cases, they don’t have any need to focus their marketing funds in this direction.
But if you’re a minority or woman small business owner, landing government contracts should be high on your to-do list, especially in New York City and New York State. Even throughout the pandemic, New York City has kept its focus on awarding $20 billion to MWBEs by 2025, and ensuring that they receive at least 30% of all contracts awarded by 2021. These take the form of opportunities ranging from micropurchases of $1 to $150,000, all the way to massive multi-million dollar, long-term projects.
In other words, there is a LOT of money on the table for small business owners who are savvy enough to take it. You just need to know how!
Why Don’t More MWBEs Market to the Government?
In some cases, it’s because they think that it’s not allowed.
When trying to land a government contract, there are many procurement regulations, and some MWBEs believe they forbid them from marketing themselves to the government. Thankfully, this is not the case.
Though there are certain circumstances where marketing directly to procurement officers is not allowed, I’ve always encouraged MWBEs to get their name out there to agencies! No matter how well-equipped your small business is to take on a government contract, you won’t land one if they don’t know who you are and what you do.
Moreover, marketing to the government can have other upsides. For example, it can open the door to subcontracting, build word-of-mouth, and position you strategically for future opportunities.
How Expensive Is It?
I’m not going to lie, breaking into the government arena can cost you some money – some estimating up to $80,000. The competition is tough, and the process can be daunting. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
If you successfully start to land government contacts, the ROI can be enormous. Not only will completing one build up your “resume” for future projects, but some contacts often have multiple option periods attached that allow businesses to scale as they build their infrastructure and gain necessary resources.
Moreover, many government projects remained active throughout the pandemic, bringing money to the MWBEs that were working on them. While this isn’t a guarantee that will stay true in the future, it does provide a nice incentive to work with government agencies as a more stable means of reliable income.
Doing So Requires a Plan
Landing government contracts is one of those things that you can’t do part-time with a minor amount of effort. To succeed, you need a plan, and marketing to the government needs to be a key part of it. You need to perform marketing assessments on your business to discover if your products and services align with the government’s purchasing standards and requirements. You need to know if you can obtain the necessary infrastructure and resources to bid on RFPs and RFQs successfully.
These are just a few of the reasons why JKA and the NYC Department of Small Business Services regularly hold our free MWBE workshops. In our upcoming one on October 14th, we will be focusing on marketing to the government. This information will be crucial if you want to be successful in working with government agencies and subcontracting.
The workshop will be held virtually from 10 AM to 12 PM, meaning that you can attend it anywhere in the city with an internet connection (even your own couch)! These free online workshops have been a massive success over the years, teaching minorities and women small business owners from all over the city how they can boost their bottom line and grow their business.