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Wyoming Business Tips for March 26-April 1

March 17, 2017

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Andrea Lewis, WSBDC Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) specialist

“I’m interested in marketing my services to the federal government. What agencies do the most business in Wyoming, and how should I pick which one to market to? Noel, Bar Nunn

Fourteen major federal departments or administrations spent more than $311 million in Wyoming in the 2016 fiscal year.

Those agencies bought everything from gill netting to electrical power, mules to equipment rental, fire incident support services to background investigation services. From Afton to Yoder, services and/or products were used in 86 towns or locations across the state.

It’s important to note that the federal departments are made up of many agencies. The top 10 contracting agencies in fiscal year 2016 that did the greatest dollar value of business in Wyoming, listed from highest to lowest, were: the Federal Highway Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, National Park Service, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, Forest Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Defense Commissary Agency, Bureau of Land Management, and Employment and Training Administration.

However, for the purpose of targeted marketing, it is not always accurate enough to know which agency completed business. For instance, the Department of the Army is made up of many entities. Do you need to target the Army Corps of Engineers or the Wyoming Army National Guard? Should you focus on your local Forest Service office or a regional Forest Service acquisition center? Knowing which contracting office does the purchasing is important and will save you time and money.

Finding agencies involves several approaches. An efficient way to go about it is to do market research on government sales. Online public access databases are available, such as the Federal Procurement Data System (www.fpds.gov) or www.USAspending.gov. The Wyoming PTAC is more than happy to do research for you -- my contact information is below.

Once you have selected which agencies to target, develop relationships with them by reaching out through email, phone or at a matchmaking session at events where government contractors or departments exhibit. Set up meetings to talk about your capabilities and what you can offer them. Do not be all things to them -- put forward your most capable services or products, and work at developing trust. This will do much to lessen their notions of risk in doing business with you.

Before a company considers contracting with the government, an assessment of how ready the owner needs to be is needed. The government is risk averse -- normally officials do not want to take a chance on hiring a startup company to do work, preferring businesses that are doing well in the commercial market. Questions such as work capacity, financial soundness, and the ability to manage contract administration and accounting should be asked before a company enters the government marketplace.

The Wyoming SBDC Network PTAC offers assistance in finding the best marketing targets for Wyoming companies. For more information, call (307) 772-7372 or email Lewis at amlewis@uwyo.edu.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at www.wyomingsbdc.org/blog1/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.


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Chad Baldwin

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