Business Opportunities with the Federal Government

Information gateway, prepared by the Congressional Research Service for Members of Congress, provides guidance and online procurement procedures for doing business with the federal government. January 2011

Information and Training

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Learning how to sell successfully to the U.S. government, the world’s largest buyer of goods and services, can be daunting. Most of the process is conducted online: using a computer is essential. Here are suggested approaches:

  • Update your company’s business plan, highlighting special products, skills and expertise that might be of interest to government agencies.
  • Review your company’s marketing strategy and goals.
  • Learn federal procurement processes and terms.
  • Government Contracting (SBA)
    Resources to help you sell your products and services to the Federal government.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA)
    Provides a step-by-step guide for selling to the government, with tips on bidding, marketing, and competing for government contracts, and links to free online courses.
  • Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
    Provides an on-line system that allows minority business firms to register the company with the(MBDA)’s database to access contract opportunities and other resources.
  • General Services Administration (GSA)
    As the government’s chief acquisitions agency, GSA spends billions of dollars annually on products and services offered to all federal agencies.
    • Doing Business with (GSA)
      Covers government procedures, marketing strategies, and bidding procedures for contracts. Also lists important contacts, such as the 11 GSA regional centers and technical advisors for small businesses.
    • Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU)
      Through outreach activities in regional offices, promotes increased access to GSA’s nationwide procurement opportunities for small, minority, veteran, HUBZone, and women business owners.
    • GSA Training Programs
      Online and onsite courses for vendors and small business, for federal employees, and for state and local government officials.
  • Contact offices in your state or region
    • Speak with procurement specialists or contracting officers about federal government buying procedures.
    • Ask questions about application procedures, technical requirements, and marketing suggestions.
    • Attend procurement programs, which provide opportunities for business people to meet directly with government officials and to learn from other companies involved in federal contracting.
    • Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
      Located in every state, these centers advise and train businesses in financial matters, including certification procedures for small and minority businesses. They are an excellent first stop for any business, especially those with little or no previous experience in dealing with federal procurement.
    • Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
      MBDA Network regional enterprise centers provide resources for minority-owned firms.
    • Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)
      Although the main focus is providing technical assistance on selling to the military, the centers cover marketing to all government agencies through counseling, training, and procurement programs.
    • GSA Regions Overview
      The contracting officers are familiar with the procurement needs of the federal facilities located in their region.

Registration Requirements

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Registration is required to compete for federal government procurement and contracts. The federal government’s Business Partner Network (BPN) is the single source for vendor data for the Federal Government.

  • Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, a unique 9-digit identification number for each physical location of a business.
  • Register with the government’