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Demonstrating Procurement Readiness is a Necessary Step of Getting Government Contracts





Your business is finally certified to work with government agencies! Now what?

One of the most common things I see when helping M/WBEs is the frustration of small business owners being unable to land any government contracts after becoming certified. This is precisely what happened to me 30 years ago when I first got my certification as a minority-owned business. I was working my butt off, trying to land government contracts with no success. No matter what I did, I just wasn’t getting any bites from government agencies. Worse still, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing wrong.

It took me a few years of trial and error to really understand the procurement process that comes with working with government agencies. I finally realized there were several essential steps I needed to take to be properly positioned to receive opportunities from prospective buyers. This included learning how to properly market myself, make sure my cash flow management was in order, and more.

Build a Public Profile

As a certified small business owner, you have a public profile that’s visible to all potential buyers. If that profile is not correct or is missing information, you may be missing out on potential opportunities.

You need to take a close look at your online business profiles and be confident that they accurately reflect your capacity, have the appropriate references, and contain the right commodity codes. Without this information, government agencies are just going to skip over your business as you aren’t offering them what they need to make a decision.

I would also encourage you to look over your contact information to confirm that your email and phone number is correct. This might sound basic, but I can tell you from personal experience that one tiny little mistake in contact info can result in you missing out on some incredible business opportunities.

Identify Your Targets

When some small business owners become certified, they seem to think that government agencies will come to them. Sadly, it doesn’t work this way. Government agencies don’t have to market to you just because you are a certified M/WBE. You are going to have to work for their attention.

It’s vital that you identify all potential business targets in the government and do extensive market research on them. This can include visiting their website to study and understand their mission. In the case of some government agencies, you may even be required to register on particular agency bidders or vendor lists.

Position Yourself Properly

Without the appropriate tools, you are going to have trouble properly positioning yourself with government agencies.

If you’re marketing to the government, they typically ask you for something called a capability statement. This procurement readiness document highlights your experience, your past performance, your differentiators, and your position at this time. It will also reflect what types of contacts and opportunities you are interested in getting.

Pay Window

There is a big difference between the public and private sectors when it comes to payments. If you’re thinking about doing business with the government, you should know there is typically a lag time between the time you start working with them and the time you get paid.

For example, if you start a job on October 1st, you will typically invoice for that work on October 31st, then receive your first payment in November. Part of your procurement readiness strategy should be to show government agencies that you can adequately cover your expenses during the time you aren’t getting paid.


Believe me, I understand how overwhelming all of this can seem. I had to learn the hard way, but you have another option. We are holding a completely free Procurement Readiness Basics workshop at the NYC Department of Small Business on December 5th. This is part of a series of workshops focusing on helping M/WBEs grow their businesses through government contracts. I highly suggest you register your place right away, as these classes fill up very fast.

I hope to see you there!




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