Start your government and corporate procurement journey with top Q&As:
Q: How can I learn about government procurement opportunities?
A: It will take time and perseverance. The good news is that there is a plethora of information online.
For federal government opportunities, check out Minority Business Development Agency’s Federal Procurement Center webpage. It contains resources, list of partners and useful federal contracting links.
Additionally, SAM.gov is now the consolidated home for a number of U.S. government websites, including Contract Opportunities (formerly fbo.gov). You can search for procurement notices from federal contracting offices, including pre-solicitation notices, solicitation notices, award notices and sole source notices. For contract award details, go to the Federal Procurement Data System. Also, you can check out USAspending, which is the official open data source of federal spending information. Or consider the Forecast of Contracting Opportunities Tool offered by the U.S. General Services Administration. It provides a nationwide dashboard of upcoming federal contracting opportunities for planning purposes, which may be subject to revision or cancellation. For those looking for grant opportunities, go to grants.gov.
For Hawaii state and municipality opportunities, visit “HANDS” (Hawaii Awards & Notices Data System). You can search by keywords and county.
For those based in other states, contact our Center and we can help identify your state or county’s procurement portal or website.
Q: How can I learn about corporate contract opportunities?
A: Since corporate contracts are private contracts – meaning non-government contracts – there are a myriad of ways to learn about them. For example, they can be found through business referrals, word-of-mouth and more formal public solicitations.
For minority and/or women-owned businesses, you may want to consider corporate supplier diversity programs. There is a wealth of information online to begin your research. For example, each of the well-known companies below were easily searchable. The websites provide information on each company’s specific requirements, priorities and processes:
Additionally, groups such as the Billion Dollar Roundtable are working to bring together corporations to achieve at least $1 billion in spending with minority and woman-owned suppliers.
If you are certified by a third-party certifier (e.g., Women Business Enterprise (WBE)), one of the valuable resources provided is a directory of sponsoring diversity supplier offices and/or opportunities to meet and connect with them. To learn more about business certifications, please sign up for our Center’s enews.
Q: How can I become more competitive for new contracts or Requests for Proposals (RFPs)?
A: Below are three key things to consider:
First, fundamentally, shaping and running your business to be the “best” you can be in your industry or field is the best way to compete for business. Work on building and refining your service or product so that it can speak for itself. Of course, marketing (including websites, social media, public relations, advertising and speaking engagements) can help increase your reach and visibility. For our FREE one-on-one Marketing Counseling, learn more here or simply complete our Client Intake Form and indicate your request. Our Center will be in touch to schedule your session.
Second, we suggest a SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis based on where you are today. Be honest and critical. Take time to consider what and where your sweet spots are and how you can adapt your business to be truly competitive locally, nationally or internationally. This will also allow you to strategize about your ideal customer base and business development opportunities – whether that be repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals or forging into new territory.
Our Center can help with this SWOT analysis. For a FREE objective review: (1) Complete and submit this SWOT worksheet to the Center; and (2) Complete a Client Intake Form to request a Business Counseling session and specify “SWOT analysis”. Our Center will schedule a counseling session with you. For guidance to complete the SWOT worksheet, click HERE.
Third, reviewing RFPs and drafting winning proposals are technical skills to be learned and honed. Our Center can provide guidance. Stay tuned for FREE upcoming workshops and services by signing up for our Center’s enews. As needed, we can refer you to technical assistance centers for more advanced resources.
Q: I’ve heard about “capability statements” for federal procurement opportunities. What are they?
A: Capability statements can be effective tools to market your products/services to government agencies. They are similar to resumes for individuals.
Consider this capability statement checklist and sample statements, courtesy of the Honolulu MBDA Business Center. For more information, check out their Writing a Capability Statement recorded webinar.
Note: Our Center does not endorse any third-party entities or programs mentioned or linked above. This information is provided only for convenience and is not exhaustive.