Federal government contracts are a prize for most small business owners.
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But selling to state government agencies can be just as valuable. As a matter of fact, state government contracts can even be easier to win than contracts that are offered by federal agencies.
Here's why: States are especially interested in the success and prosperity of small businesses. Every dollar that small businesses earn in-state is a dollar that builds the state's economy. As a result, most states will do everything they can to help small business owners compete and win state procurement contracts.
Additionally, most states have special programs that favor contract awards to businesses that are owned by women, minorities, and people with disabilities. If your company falls into any of these categories it will be even easier for you to land a state government contract.
If the idea of selling to state government agencies is new to you, here are a few tips that will help you get in the game:
- Stay on top of opportunities. Most state governments have web-based resources that enable small business owners to stay current on requisition and bid requests from state agencies. Get in the routine of regularly checking for updates and opportunities.
- Thoroughly research the bid process. Each state has its own requirements for the bid process. Don't assume anything! Research your states bid process in advance so you'll be ready when a state contract opportunity presents itself.
- Consider capacity. Never bid on a state contract unless you're absolutely sure you have the capacity to meet the contract requirements. State agencies tend to have long memories – fail to deliver the goods now and it will jeopardize other opportunities later on.
- Double check unit pricing. States often rely on unit pricing when they award procurement contracts. Make sure your unit pricing includes not only the price of your product, but also the costs of transportation and other expenses related to the contract.
- Fulfill contract obligations in a timely manner. Do whatever you have to do to meet contract targets and deadlines. Most states consider past experience with your company when it comes time to award future contracts.