Grow It: How to grow your small business
Planning to Expand • Government Contracting • Exporting
1 Start now. No one launches a business with the intention of shutting it down in five years. Yet 50% of small businesses do exactly that. Don’t risk becoming a statistic. Instead, dream big and be ready to take advantage of market opportunities that become available as your business takes off.
2 Revisit your business plan. Look carefully at the business plan you opened with. What do you know now you didn’t know then? What new goals/plans come to mind as a result? Which supporting documents need to be updated?
3 Fine tune your operations. Is your business operating at peak efficiency? Do you have the necessary tools/space to meet current and future needs? What else do you need and how will you pay for it?
4 Rate your team. Have you prepared written job descriptions for all positions? Do you have the right people in place? What types of training programs are you able to provide? Do you have a plan for attracting/hiring new personnel?
5 Enlarge your market. Are you reaching all possible markets for your product or service? Is your marketing budget adequate and are your promotional strategies working? If you answered no, what adjustments will you make?
6 Assess your financial fitness. Have you reached your break-even point? What’s your cash flow situation? Can you afford to expand now? If not, what measures will you take to make a future expansion financially possible?
Every level of government must buy goods and services, and Florida currently ranks seventh among all U.S. states for procurement of government contracts.
The market is there and it’s lucrative. Could this be your time to pursue government contracting?
Selling to Florida
One avenue to expansion is as close as your computer. MyFloridaMarketPlace, a division of the Florida Department of Management Services, has nearly 15,000 registered buyers who issue, on average, 5,000 purchase orders each month at three levels:
Term Contracts Target government agencies and prime contractors that buy what you offer; develop a plan to reach them
Informal Purchases Less than $35,000. No requirement for competitive bidding.
Formal Purchases Greater than $35,000; require competitive bidding.
Determine which level best matches your business abilities, then register online as a vendor.
For details, visit www.dms.myflorida.com/business_operations/state_purchasing/.
Don't be Scammed
You can easily sign up on your own to become a government contractor and there is never a charge to do so. Online offers to “help” you enroll for a fee are bogus; do not take the bait. If you do have questions about the process, contact your local Florida SBDC office for assistance at no cost.
Selling to the U.S.
EVALUATE Understand what, when and how much government agencies buy. Is your product/service in demand?
PLAN Target government agencies and prime contractors that buy what you offer; develop a plan to reach them.
REGISTER Complete the required/mandatory government database registrations including: System for Award Management (SAM) and Dynamic Small Business Search.
PREPARE Develop a corporate capability statement; create government-focused collateral 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 Be aggressive. Monitor computerized bid matching services (daily searches and email alerts). Identify opportunities through government bid boards, posting databases and networking. Obtain a GSA Schedule contract, if applicable.
ACHIEVE Develop a government-accepted accounting system and be ready to handle possible contract audits, reports and modifications.
ASK FOR HELP Procurement specialists at the Florida SBDC Network can help small businesses pursue government contracting opportunities at all levels.