Our top tips for winning more government contracts
If you’re digging into the exciting world of government contracts for the first time, you’ve come to the right place — and your timing couldn’t be better. With a whopping $1.2 trillion in project opportunities on the table right now, the moment is right to branch into the public sector.
Since the federal government passed its historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) last year, there are thousands of projects kicking off in categories as diverse as transportation, water, broadband, electricity, and more. You can get a quick snapshot of the projects that public agencies are posting right now using our free Bonfire Premium Vendor search tool.
With over 200,000 new bidsadded each year, your next great opportunity is just around the corner. Let’s make sure you’re ready to seize your moment when it comes! Keep reading for our top tips on how to find and win more government contracts in 2023.
1. Zoom in on the right opportunities
The chance to find and win more work is a game changer for any business — especially if you’ve been looking for ways to expand your clientele and take things to the next level. But, let’s face it, having thousands of potential projects at your fingertips can be overwhelming.
What’s the first thing you can do to filter through the noise and hone in on the right government contracts for your business? Clearly identifying which projects matter most to your business is a great place to start. Bid submissions take significant time and effort to complete, so you’ll want to narrow down your focus to include only the opportunities that support your goals.
Next step: Develop an ideal bid profile that includes a description of your target market. Name the public agencies you want to work with, their locations, the types of projects you want to work on, and the relevant commodity codes or keywords. Once you have these defined, you can easily set up notifications in Premium Vendor for bids that match your criteria.
2. Refine as your business evolves
Did you know global cosmetics brand Avon got its start as a door-to-door bookselling company? And Tiffany & Co. sold stationery years before it became a world-famous jewelry brand? It’s not uncommon for businesses to grow in unexpected ways as they respond to emerging market demands, refine their offerings, and form new partnerships. As your business evolves, you may be interested in branching out into new markets or narrowing in on your niche area. Revisiting your ideal bid profile from time to time ensures your bidding strategy always supports your business goals.
Next step: Ask yourself how you can expand or narrow your scope to meet your evolving business. Are you seeing too many opportunities you don’t plan to go after? Have you narrowed your focus so much that you’re not seeing enough relevant projects? With a Premium Vendor subscription, you can easily edit and customize your bid matches at any time.
3. Know your competitive edge
One of the most common worries we hear from prospective new bidders is that they’re too small or inexperienced to bid on government contracts. If you’re feeling that way, we’re here to tell you that you’re mistaken! You’re in business because you offer something unique to the world. Whether it’s a novel service or product, or a familiar offering that’s delivered smarter, faster, or better than the competition, your business has a superpower. What is it?
Taking some time to get crystal clear on what sets your business apart is a great way to prepare for reviewing and submitting bids. And, in fact, the thing that you worry is holding you back could actually be what gets you the gig. There’s significant federal funding available for small, disadvantaged, female-owned, and/or veteran-owned businesses.
Next step: Remember when you were crafting your business plan or pitching to investors? Dig into the archives and bring your value proposition and key differentiators to light. Keep these in a central place so you can refer to them when deciding which opportunities to pursue. Don’t forget to highlight what makes your business unique in your next bid proposal.
4. Understand exactly what the agency needs
Bid opportunities are typically complex requests that involve extensive criteria. At first glance, a project may seem like it was made for your company — how exciting! Start the submission! No time to waste, right? In fact, it’s worth your while at this stage to take some extra time to thoroughly review the bid opportunity. There’s nothing worse than starting a proposal before realizing much too late that your business doesn’t meet certain key criteria.
Next step: After a quick initial screening to confirm the opportunity is worth reviewing, download the relevant bid documents and set aside enough time to read through all of them. Make sure you review and fully understand all details — especially the evaluation criteria, which is what the agency will use to score and rank your bid.
5. Explore opportunities to partner up
When you’re just starting out with government contracts, it’s normal to see other businesses as competition. But they can also be your partners in growth. Subcontracting is an arrangement in which vendors work to complete a contract together. If you’re new to government bidding, you can unlock a huge advantage by partnering with a business that already has government contracts and/or experience submitting public sector bids.
By the same token, if you’re a large business working with a small business, you’re supporting the federal government’s goal to award more contracting dollars to small businesses and disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs), making you eligible for more opportunities.
Next step: Is there an opportunity you’re interested in, but you don’t quite meet all the requirements? Identify areas where a subcontractor could support the project’s success. You can use Bonfire Premium Vendor to both find subcontractors and identify yourself as an available subcontractor. Watch the webinar for all the details.
6. Submit strong and on time
It may seem obvious, but your success in a government bid competition ultimately comes down to the quality of your bid. On top of submitting a complete proposal that’s free of errors, we recommend taking some extra time to ensure you’ve clearly addressed the agency’s challenge. You’ll also want to stay on top of bid deadlines and amendments. That can be tough when you have multiple proposals on the go, making Premium Vendor’s automatic updates and alerts your best friend. Subscribers get notified about upcoming deadlines and any time bid details have changed, so you can easily stay on top of and prioritize opportunities.
Next step: Give yourself plenty of time to complete your submission and conduct a thorough internal review. Check your dashboard in Premium Vendor and make sure you’re paying attention to notifications about amendments and deadlines.
Let’s get you bidding and winning
There you have it! Just a few of our top tips for diving into the exciting and lucrative world of government contracts. Hungry for more insider advice to support your success? Tune into our on-demand webinar for a deep dive on How to Win More Government Business in 2023.