Starting and running a business is a risky and brave venture. Even if you manage to master the day to day operations, there are no guarantees that your business will succeed.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 30.7 million small businesses account for 99.9% of all businesses in the U.S. and employ about 60 million individuals (about half of the entire U.S. work force!). Unfortunately, statistics show that businesses open while others close at almost the same rate, with 20% closing in the first year.
Failures, however, pave the road to success. Building a sound foundation, conducting periodic self-evaluations, and staying on top of policy developments are key to keeping you on course for marketplace prosperity. Look at SpaceX which had three rocket failures before a successful launch. “SpaceX very nearly ran out of money,” recalls Musk. “I messed up the first three launches. The first three launches failed. And fortunately, the fourth launch, which was the last money we had for Falcon 1 worked... that would have been it for SpaceX but fate liked us that day. So, the fourth launch worked,” says Musk. In these failures, the company solved problems, quickly got back on its feet and launched rockets.
Owning and operating a small business is hard work! But, expert assistance is available to you through numerous business centers and dedicated government agencies (PTAC, SBDC, WBC, SCORE, SBA, etc.) to help your business succeed. Move at your own pace and connect with a PTAC Procurement Specialist to explore the following topics and sharpen your government contracting skills.
Start Here >> Conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis of your business.
The Basics: Is the marketplace right for you?
- Identify the direction and vision of your business and ask yourself these questions.
- Increase your knowledge of the government marketplace. Take live training and watch webinar recordings. Norcal PTAC, SBA, DGS, Caltrans, and many other agencies keep online calendars and on demand training on various topics and levels of expertise.
- Register with DUNS and SAM
Get Specific: Who buys what you sell?
- Conduct market research to find current opportunities and past purchases. Research your prospects at federal (Beta Sam), state (Cal eProcure) and local agencies. Watch Market Research webinars Part 1 and Part 2 to get step by step instructions!
- Identify your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Check out this article and webinar.
Get Proactive: What’s your marketing plan?
- Develop/create your capability statement.
- Learn about Small and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certifications.
- Network and connect with other businesses. Attend procurement fairs, reach out to federal, state, and local agencies, and register as a vendor.
- Consider subcontracting. Learn more in this article and webinar.
Keep Up: Are you following up with the latest developments?
- Subscribe to government agencies' newsletters to get new information straight from the source.
- Find reliable government contracting news sources and visit them to find useful and timely information.
Written by Liz Brazil, Procurement Specialist, Norcal PTAC