Winning government advertising contracts is a lucrative option for your advertising business. Winning a government contract isn’t like going after regular clients, however. You’ll need to wade through paperwork, comply with regulations, and be ready to sell your business’s strengths like you’ve never done before.
Register for Databases
The federal government has several databases for small businesses where government agencies can go to look through businesses ready to take on government contracts. Your first step is submitting your business profile to the System for Award Management, which is a database of contractors that federal agencies search through. Register for the Dynamic Small Business Search, another database specifically devoted to small businesses ready to fulfill government contracts.
Databases are also your resource for finding government contracts. FedBizOpps is where government agencies list their contracts over $25,000. USASpending.gov is another great resource to find which contracts are getting government money. Finally, the Federal Procurement Data System gives you lots of search opportunities, including the ability to ask for extra information.
Don’t worry, if you kill it at networking events and typically pick up clients there, networking events for government contractors exist, too. Be ready for more paperwork than you’re used to, though.
Comply With Government Regulations
Most advertising agencies are familiar with cloud services. Whether you run software through the cloud or use it as storage, you’ll need to make sure your technology practices comply with FISMA. FISMA (the Federal Information Security Management Act) is a set of tech security regulations that all government agencies and the private businesses that work for them must comply with.
FISMA compliance is no joke. Be ready to spend a little money ensuring your cybersecurity practices fit perfectly within all regulations. Check out FISMA compliance cheat sheets to learn more about FISMA and how you need to comply. Small businesses who fail to comply with FISMA when they work with government agencies end up in hot water with lots of expensive legal bills. Once you start working on FISMA compliance your cybersecurity will improve, which benefits you and your clients overall. Aspects like continuous monitoring and inventorying information systems make your security practices stronger.
Image via Flickr by 4Neus
Entrepreneur Magazine points out some useful information about government contracts: Your performance on earlier contracts impacts your eligibility for future contracts. Your work becomes a portfolio of sorts. For your first contract choose something you know your advertising business can handle with ease. That first contract is not the place to show off and try things you’ve never done before.
Choose a contract that highlights all your advertising strengths. Do an outstanding job to show your abilities. The next time you apply for a government contract, the agency will see your exemplary work and your chances of winning the next contract increase.
Your path to winning a government contract follows a new course for your small advertising agency. If you’re willing to move outside your comfort zone, you’ll find government work surprisingly rewarding. Once you get the hang of winning government contracts, your portfolio will expand in unexpected and beneficial ways.