Federal contracts within reach of small businesses


September 09, 2012|By BOB POOR
  • Robert A. "Bob" Poor
Robert A. "Bob" Poor

Q: We are a small paper-supply company that is interested in doing business with the federal government. Can SCORE provide us with some help to check out the possibilities?

A: Put this on your calendar: On Thursday, Sept. 20, SCORE Hagerstown’s Business Roundtable will present “Doing Business with the Federal Government” from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Always Ron’s, 29 N. Burhans Blvd. in Hagerstown. Learn how to tap into federal sales as a prime or subcontractor.

You and other small-business owners are encouraged to attend this roundtable, taught by a former federal employee.

The U.S. government is the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services, spending more than $536 billion in 2011. It is required to set aside at least 23 percent of all contracting dollars exclusively for small businesses.

• What does it buy? Products and services in nearly every industry imaginable. Contracting officers buy everything from janitorial and construction work to guns and staplers. Since the federal government does not produce anything itself, agencies must purchase what they need from private businesses.

• Breaking in to the federal market. Government contracting can be a great source of revenue and growth for any business. However, deep budget cuts and increased public scrutiny have placed additional pressures on purchasing officers to spend taxpayers’ money wisely. It is vital that companies hoping to break into the federal market take advantage of all the tools available to them to effectively market their capabilities.

• Getting started. Small businesses can fulfill the majority of the federal government’s needs. Purchasing officers have a range of purchasing options available to them, from formal, complex bidding procedures to simply calling vendors on the phone and paying with a credit card. However, the only way businesses can take advantage of the opportunities available in federal contracting is to become properly registered and marketing their company aggressively to government agencies.

Get in the know about doing business with the federal government by attending SCORE’s roundtable on Sept. 20. The program and networking are free; food will be available for purchase. Seating in the private room is limited, so come early.

Register by calling 301-766-2043 no later than Sept. 17.

Robert A. “Bob” Poor is a local small-business owner/operator. He is a small-business mentor and a regular contributor to the Ask SCORE column. Questions may be emailed to him at or sent by mail in care of The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Ask SCORE column.

The Herald-Mail Articles