Selling to Florida | Government Contracting | Exporting
If you want to be among the 50% of businesses that succeed beyond five years, it’s never too early to think about the future. Plan for expansion by first taking a look at where you are now, then considering how you might grow your business in new directions. Selling your goods or services in the public sector and around the world are real possibilities you should begin contemplating now.
Plan to Expand in 5 Key Steps
1. Revisit your business plan. The flexible format recommended for your business plan makes it easy for you to re-evaluate and adjust your goals. Where might you need to revise your original plan? Are your supporting documents up to date? What new ideas/concepts/plans do you want to add?
2. Assess your operations. Is your business operating as efficiently as it could be? Do you have all the necessary tools/equipment? Do you need more space or larger facilities to meet current capacity needs? Will you need to add square footage to accommodate new directions?
3. Evaluate your team. Do you have the right people working for you? Do you have a plan for attracting new personnel? Have you defined the duties, responsibilities, skills and experience needed for each position? In what areas of your business could you use more or better help? What types of training programs are you able to provide?
4. Grow your market. Are you reaching the right markets for your product or service? What markets are you missing and what plans do you have for reaching them? Is your marketing budget adequate? What promotional strategies are you using and are they effective?
5. Rate your financial situation. Have you reached your break-even point? What’s your cash flow situation? How much capital would it take for you to expand? Can you afford to expand now and, if not, what measures do you need to take to make a future expansion financially possible?
Selling to Florida, Specifically
Working with State Agencies
Some small businesses may find it worthwhile to develop a marketing campaign specifically for state of Florida agencies.
MyFloridaMarketPlace, which is part of the Florida Department of Management Services, has nearly 15,000 registered buyers who issue, on average, 5,000 purchase orders each month. MyFlorida-MarketPlace.com streamlines interactions between vendors and state government entities and provides the tools to support procurement for the state of Florida.
Florida agencies have three levels of purchasing: (1) formal purchases (greater than $35,000; require competitive bidding); (2) informal purchases (less than $35,000; no requirement for competitive bidding); and (3) state term contracts.
After you determine which level best matches your business’s abilities, your next step is to register in the MyFloridaMarketPlace system. For details, visit www.dms.myflorida.com/myfloridamarketplace.
Don't Fall for This
Avoid websites that want to charge you to sign up as a vendor. There is never a fee to register as a government contractor on either the state or federal levels.
Selling to the Public Sector
Many businesses find government contracting to be both a lucrative and long-term avenue to expansion. Every level of government buys goods and services, spending billions of dollars annually, even during times of economic uncertainty. To determine if government contracting is right for your business and to best position your firm for success on all levels, the Florida SBDC Network suggests these steps:
Evaluate Understand what agencies buy, when and how much is purchased to assess the demand for your product or service; focus on market areas that present the best probability for your firm’s success.
Plan Target government agencies and prime contractors that are buying what you provide; research government agency procurement histories and forecasts; develop a written marketing plan specifically for your government contracting activities.
Register Complete the required/mandatory government database registrations including: System for Award Management (SAM); Dynamic Small Business Search; MyFloridaMarketPlace; city and county government agencies.
Prepare Develop a government-focused capability statement for your firm, collateral materials and e-marketing resources; secure preferred small business certifications such as: 8(a), Woman-Owned Small Business, HUBZone, Veteran-Owned and applicable state and local certifications.
Pursue Regularly monitor computerized Bid Matching Services (daily searches and email alerts); identify contracting/sub-contracting opportunities through government bid boards, posting databases and networking; obtain a GSA Schedule contract, if applicable; analyze solicitations/bids and cost elements.
Achieve Support the phase-in of your government contract; develop a government-accepted accounting system; prepare in advance to handle any possible contract audits, reports and modifications.
Ask for Help Government Contracting Specialists at the Florida SBDC Network are available to help you learn the ins and outs of government contracting and best position your firm as a successful government contractor.