The world’s greatest customer

Graphic of U.S. Capitol building with money in the background

Four questions every business leader should consider: Am I maximizing my customer base? Am I contracting with a reliable and well-funded customer? Am I selling to the world’s greatest customer? And lastly, if any of the answers is no, why not?

The “why not” may be a variety of reasons that revolve around not identifying the greatest customer in the world – the federal government. If you think you are too small, too big, too obscure, or your service or widget is too unique to be marketable to the government, you are mistaken.

According to the Small Business Administration, the federal government is the world’s largest buyer of goods and services. The government purchases between $350 billion and $500 billion annually to include everything from space vehicles to janitorial services.

Of those billions spent on necessary items, the government has quantifiable goals to make contract awards to businesses that are owned by women, veterans, disabled veterans, and other “disadvantaged businesses” as defined by federal code. There is even a mentor-protégé program that assists businesses in the procurement process.

The opportunities are not solely for small businesses. Any size company can work with the government. Eligibility, paperwork, navigation of programs, and RFPs can overwhelm those that are not experienced. Time, governmental knowledge, legal interpretation, and attention to detail are qualities of the successful contractor.

It is important to note that the federal government is not the only administrative entity with which a business can contract. Similar programs, opportunities and processes are available with 50 state governments, thousands of county and municipal entities, and also international governments.

There are many reasons to consider contracting with the government, but here a few to contemplate:

  • Potential economic growth opportunities — if you are not selling to the government now, getting certified, pursuing RFPs, and offering your company’s widget or service have the potential to increase revenue.
  • Business development opportunities forecasted in advance — the government provides notice of what, when, and often the quantity of the need.
  • Built-in government programs to assist you and your organization in business development — the government wants their contractors to succeed, not fail — i.e., capitalism with a training program.
  • Citizenship — as a citizen, government contracting is a way to serve and provide a less expensive approach to government services through competition.

Attention, salute, sell.

This article appeared in the April 14, 2022, issue of The Journal Record. It is reproduced with permission from the publisher. © The Journal Record Publishing Co.