Do you know what the General Services Administration Is?
If you don’t know now you will by the time you finish reading this article (Republished)
By: Author,E Michelle Lee
CITY, STATE & FEDERAL GOVERNMENT,
Your New Customers!
E. Michelle Lee, Paraprofessional Business Consultant, Motivational Speaker & Author
The American Recovery Act is currently offering over $1 billion in vendor contracts for building commissioning. With today’s current economy, adding revenue-producing segments to your business model is essential for survival and growth in the building commissioning industry. If you have not considered doing business with city, state, and federal government agencies in your area, now is the time. There are multiple opportunities to bid for projects by using various certifications associated with government purchasing – all of which have the potential to increase your bottom line. The following government certifications are a few of many which your company may qualify for and are worth serious consideration:
General Service Administration (GSA) by the Federal Government
8(a) by the Small Business Association
Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) by the Department of Transportation
Female Owned Business Enterprise (FBE)
While not all government contracts require an associated certification, as there are certain proposal requests open to the public, you are most likely to gain business by providing a mechanism for which they can verify the quality and reputation of your company and services. In addition to the ability to network and bid for more business, many of the certifying agencies listed above have programs whereby they offer funding to increase your cash-flow, grow your business, and provide you and your team with free training on how to work with the government.
THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS
WITH THE GOVERNMENT As your Client
–Showing up at events sponsored by local government offices – typically free to you – is an excellent way to meet procurement specialists and develop a long-term rapport with them. These relationships can be the key to your success in selling to various government agencies, including city, state and federal. As long as you have a commercial client base of satisfied customers coupled with a certification and good reputation for providing services and products with a value guarantee, you have the tools necessary to promote your business to the government. For a truly substantial bottom-line increase, consider selecting an employee to be responsible for all of your bids and act as your face-person with the government. Government officials want a face with which they can associate your offerings.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Choose a certification that best fits your business service offerings. This will open doors for your business. Each agency has its own certification and process. Unfortunately there is not, to date, one certification to transact business with all agencies. While there are a multitude of government certifications to consider, one of the most widely respected is the General Service Administration (GSA) certification by the Federal Government. Many agencies offer a grandfathering provision that will allow you to adopt their certification in light of having the GSA – or at least make your process with them less meticulous and document producing. With the GSA certification, you can bid for projects anywhere in the U.S.
GETTING YOUR GSA CERTIFICATION IS NOT EASY, BUT THE PAYOFF IS HUGE ” AT LEAST BY TENFOLD.
I know this because I have first-hand experience obtaining the GSA schedule for my previous employer. Obtaining the GSA schedule is a complex process; it can take anywhere from two months to a year to get certified. It takes at least a month to prepare the application and gather supporting data. Most companies hire a consultant to lessen the amount of time and modifications. A good guideline is to dedicate at least 10 hours to provide data to the person preparing the application. Once the data is collected and the application along with its attachments are gathered, the application is filed, and then you WAIT. Yes, wait for the Request for Information and contact from the contracting officer assigned to your company.
However, don’t wait on the certification approval to arrive to start marketing your services. Begin networking and make use of your waiting time. Be ready with your first customer when you get your certification. Learn all that you can about selling, marketing, notifications of bids for your industry, free advertising of your services at GSA Advantage, Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), and the numerous other free resources with easy online access that the government provides. For more information or resources, feel free to contact me and do visit the following online government learning websites:
- Visit FedBizOpps to search for and obtain a copy of the GSA Schedule solicitation. Download the solicitation and follow the instructions in the document.
- GSA also provides e Training, including training in the use of digital certificates, to vendors submitting Schedule offers electronically.
- GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization offers workshops on GSA Schedules Contract Training. Additional details regarding these sessions are available on the office of Small Business Utilization website.
GSA Getting On Schedule: http://www.gsa.gov/ gettingonschedule
Good luck with all your future endeavors with your local, state and federal government customers!
E Michelle Lee, contracts specialist/paralegal, has been providing consulting services for more than 15 years to assist business with various matters including but not limited to obtaining various certifications and relationships with government and private sectors.
E.Michelle Lee is a Paraprofessional Consultant, Speaker, and author of “The Exceptions to the Rules” and eBook series “Learnin, As WE go”, Edition#1 “ SEO for the smBiz Owner-Makin your FootStomp on the Net”. Michelle has researched over 400 business subjects and human needs that she provides solutions for to individuals and businesses with truthful advice while being entertaining and light-hearted as solutions. Her approach; 3Deep Formula (3X3X3=?) is humorous and resource-rich.
NOTE: This article is a re-print from the 2009 4th quarter “The Checklist”, http://www.bcxa.org/resources/checklist/checklist_2009q4.pdf for the Building Commissioning Association (“BCA”) THIS IS WHAT WE USE TO GO GREEN
THIS IS ONLY ONE SIN-Category for the GSA,, there are multiple industries/SIN #’s / companies who file various “Contract Applications” related to their particular area of expertise.
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