The Small Business Specialist
Every federal government department has an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) staffed by Small Business Specialists to ensure that small companies get fair access to that agency’s government contract opportunities. (Find them at www.osdbu.gov).
They can help you find details on Agency buying plans, and introduce you to the contract officers, directors, and program managers within Agency who may need what you offer. But -- they are more likely to offer introductions if you show how well you’ve already researched the Agency and its needs.
Meeting the Small Business Specialist
- Make an appointment! In-person meetings are better than phone calls at first. Make an appointment, don’t just drop by! After the initial meetings, phone or email is often very effective. Ask your Small Business Specialist what she prefers.
- Understand the procurement process. Certification does NOT guarantee you ANY business. Show how well you understand the buyer’s world; refresh your registration in the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) by including using the strongest key words possible.
- Know the Buyer. Research the mission and programs of the buying agency you’re visiting. Absolutely review the online forecast projects before the meeting!
- Present Your Past Performance. Mention and list past projects most relevant to the work you want to win with this agency. Include other government agencies, whether as subcontractor or prime; the project name, Contracting Officer’s name, and contract Number.
- Ask about specific projects. Ask about upcoming opportunities that might be candidates to become set aside, and fit your capabilities, experience, performance and financing. Identify projects by name and program office, not solicitation number.
- Ask for what you want. That can include help getting an appointment with the relevant Program Manager.
- Follow up and stay in touch. Once you’ve made this initial contact in person, build the relationship! Keep in touch with regular updates on your corporate info, experience, contract wins, registrations and certifications.