Opportunities to do business with New York City range from micro/small purchases that range from $1-$150,000 to large scale multi-million-dollar projects. Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently set goals for minority and women owned firms that aims to award $16 Billion to MWBEs by 2025 and ensure MWBE firms receive at least 30% of all contracts awarded by 2021.
Published reports reflect breaking into the government arena can cost upwards of $80,000 and take anywhere from three to five years before getting a contract. Many businesses find the process of identifying opportunities with the government to be daunting. Fortunately, the New York City Department of Small Business Services has a suite of programs designed to help small, minority, and women owned firms break into the government space by providing guidance and training on the process. The programs are free of charge and offered throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
I often advise my clients to consider doing business with government agencies because of the tremendous opportunity government contracts offer. Government contracts are often awarded for one year with multiple option periods enabling business owners to scale as they acquire the resources necessary to complete the contract. As the business scales, it has a direct impact on economic growth and the ability to build personal wealth.
The key to success with doing business with the government is having a plan. When deciding whether to do business with the government, business owners need to conduct a market assessment to determine if their products/services are in alignment with government purchasing standards and requirements. The business must also consider do they or can they obtain the internal infrastructure to support contract requirements that may include things like administrative functions, customer service, and sales activities.
Business owners also need to consider the marketing aspect of doing business with government agencies. While the government procurement process tends to be geared towards bids, proposals, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and Requests for Quotes (RFQs), there are also a lot of opportunities that result from subcontracting, word of mouth, strategic position, and discretionary purchases. All require business owners to effectively market their businesses to the right target audience.
Interestingly, many small business owners don’t market themselves to the government. They wrongly assume they can’t market to government buyers due to procurement regulations. While there are certainly circumstances where talking to procurement officers is not allowed, marketing and positioning your business is essential.
On June 20, 2018, the New York City Department of Small Business Services is offering a free workshop on Marketing to the Government that will provide an overview of the government procurement process as well as strategies for marketing. The workshops will provide information on what and how the government buys as well as strategies for marketing your business.
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