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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, Wyoming Entrepreneur procurement specialist
“I have a retail store and website that sells sporting goods, everything from guns to socks. How can I best market my goods to government agencies?” Mark, Chugwater
There are two important steps companies can take to market their business to government agencies.
One is to complete a good Small Business Administration (SBA) Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) profile as part of a System for Award Management registration. The second is to create a capability statement to send as a marketing piece to agencies that buy goods or services.
Federal government agencies follow regulations that dictate how they advertise opportunities. For buys estimated to be more than $25,000, the opportunity must be advertised on the “government point of entry” known as FedBizOpps, located at www.fedbizopps.gov. It is relatively easy to keep an eye on this website and find opportunities.
However, for sales between $15,000 and $25,000, the government is only required to display opportunities “in a public place.” A notice could be pinned to a public display board in an agency office, listed on the agency website, or posted on FedBizOpps.
For sales less than $15,000, there is no requirement for public display. Contracting officers (COs) can request oral quotes from three vendors and make a purchase.
To find vendors for buys under $25,000, COs typically use the SBA’s DSBS database, http://dsbs.sba.gov/dsbs/search/dsp_dsbs.cfm. COs can search this database by keyword or filter by criteria such as North American Industry Classification System code, geographic area, social-economic status (veteran-owned, woman-owned, etc.) or certifications, such as HUBZone or 8(a). If a company has a searchable DSBS listing, it will be easier for a CO to find and contact the firm for a quote.
To be found, the company listing should have good keywords. There are three fields in the DSBS database that are keyword searched: “capabilities narrative,” “special equipment” and “keywords.”
Another important field in DSBS is “references.” These can be past government work or commercial sales.
Another way to market your company is to send your capability statement (not to be confused with the DSBS’ capability narrative) to agencies that buy your product or service. A capability statement is a single-page document that describes what a business sells or what services it performs.
Capability statements are geared toward a government audience, so it has all government-apropos data, such as a Data Universal Numbering System number and Commercial and Government Entity code. This signals that your firm is registered in the Central Contractor Registration. It also lists references (past performance) and has company contact information.
For assistance in creating a good DSBS profile or capability statement for your company, contact the Wyoming Entrepreneur PTAC.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at http://wyen.biz/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 email@example.com or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.