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Government Contracts for Business Development

Government Contracting for Business Development is an important part of business success which many major corporations and small businesses utilize. It involves five major steps:
1. Properly Registering with relevant Government Agencies including The System for Award Management (SAM), and The Small business Administration (SBA). This is an involved process sometimes taking months to accomplish, and has to be renewed annually.

2. Researching and finding the Contracts, Requests for Acquisitions/Quotations/Purchases (RFAs, RFQs, RFPs), & Solicitations issued by Federal, State, & Local Government Sources.

3. Sourcing the Products & Services that the Governments want to Contract with Suppliers & Contractors for, since one company may not be able to fulfill a full RFP.

4. Sourcing Joint Venture Partners, Prime Contractors, & Subcontractors which your Company may be able to partner with in getting and fulfilling the Contracts.

5. Being prepared and structured in your business operations to successfully comply with the strict government requirements for fulfilling Awarded Contracts.

The National Market Exchange (NMEX) Platform provides the most sophisticated tools and processes needed to conduct effective Government Contracting, including tools that facilitate Joint Venturing and Subcontracting with other Government Contractors. See Contracting & Joint Venture System (JVPMS), and how to fully use the Platform at Setting Up & Using NMEX.

Watch these Videos

Subcontracting for Government Contracts: A Complete Walkthrough

How to Use Sources Sought Notices to Win New Customers


Federal Government Contracts


How to win contracts

You can increase your chance of winning a government contract by researching the federal marketplace and taking advantage of SBA resources.

Find contracts

There are a number of databases you can use to find federal contracts to bid on. Similarly, there are multiple databases that government agencies use to find contractors.

Dynamic Small Business Search

The Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) is a database that government agencies use to find small business contractors for upcoming contracts. Small businesses can also use DSBS to find other small businesses to work with.

SBA maintains the DSBS database. The information you provide when you register your business in the System for Award Management (SAM) is used to populate DSBS, so you should create a comprehensive business profile.

Contract Opportunities

Federal business opportunities for contractors are listed at SAM.gov. Government agencies are required to use SAM to advertise all contracts over $25,000.

GSA Schedules

If you want to sell to the government, securing a contract with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) — the government agency that connects government buyers with contractors — is a great way to start. Securing a contract with the GSA is also called “getting onto the GSA Schedule,” which means you’ve been approved to do business with the government.

Subcontracting opportunities

SubNet is a database of subcontracting opportunities posted by large contractors looking for small businesses to serve as subcontractors.

SBA maintains a directory of federal government prime contractors with subcontracting plans.

The GSA publishes a subcontracting directory for small businesses that are looking for subcontracting opportunities with prime contractors. The directory lists large business prime contractors that are required to establish plans and goals for subcontracting with small businesses.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) maintains a similar directory of large prime contractors that small businesses can use to find subcontracting opportunities.

Marketing to the government

You may want to market your small business directly to a government agency or prime contractor. You can do that by learning what agencies or prime contractors need, and then showing them how your business can fulfill that need.

Federal Procurement Data System

Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation is the repository of all federal contracting data for contracts over $25,000. With this system, you can see which agencies have contracts and with whom they have contracts, what agencies buy, and which contractors have contracts.


USASpending.gov tracks government spending through contracts awarded. This searchable database contains information for each federal contract. You can use this information to help identify procurement trends within the government and potential opportunities.

Small business offices

Many federal agencies have what’s called an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) or an Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). These offices work to identify opportunities to contract with small businesses.

Each agency releases a procurement forecast that includes contracting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses. Once you’ve reviewed an agency forecast and used systems like the Federal Procurement Data System and USASpending.gov to identify opportunities at a specific agency, you can contact that agency’s small business office. Also, each office hosts training and networking events to help small businesses identify contract opportunities.

Contract Opportunities: Search, find, bid

Government agencies use sam.gov to list contracts over $25,000. Find a contract that fits your business and submit a bid.

Handling protests

When the government awards a contract, someone may allege that a winning business misrepresented itself, causing the contract to be awarded unfairly.

Size and status protests

A losing bidder, contracting officer, SBA, or another interested party or government official can file a protest, questioning a winning business’ size or socio-economic status.

In the event of a protest, SBA will determine the size or status of the winning small business. If SBA determines that the business did not qualify for the set-aside, the business is no longer eligible for that contract.

Any of the interested parties can appeal SBA's size determination to SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, which issues a final decision.

Certificate of Competency

If a federal contracting officer rejects a low bid from a small business because of questions about the business’ ability to fulfill the contract, the case is referred to SBA.

SBA will then offer the small business a chance to apply for a Certificate of Competency (COC). If the small business applies for a COC, SBA will review the business’ ability to fulfill the contract. If the business demonstrates the ability to fulfill the contract, SBA will issue a COC to the contracting officer, requiring the award of that contract to the small business.

A COC is valid only for the specific contract for which it is issued. A small business that’s capable of handling one contract may not be qualified to handle another.

Bundling and consolidation

If you think a federal agency has engaged in bundling or consolidation practices that keep a small business from competing for a contract, contact your local Procurement Center Representative (PCR).

Bundling and consolidation are defined in Title 13 Part 125.1 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Need help?

SBA offers counseling and other assistance to small businesses that want to sell products and services to the government.

Last updated June 21, 2023


USAspending is the official open data source of federal spending information, including information about federal awards such as contracts, grants, and loans.


How to Sell to the Government

Key Resources
With federal contract awards nearing $590 billion in fiscal year 2019, companies look at crossing into the government market every day. While there are business practices that can be applied across multiple market segments, the government market has nuances that require a specialized approach. If your company is new to the federal market, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has a helpful guide with the information you need to get started: SBA Contracting Guide.

Federal Market Research
Market research should be the first step in your plan to sell to the government. Utilize the online resources listed below to determine if there is a demand for what you offer in the government space. One of the benefits of targeting the government market is the public availability of data on federal contract awards.

USASpending.gov for overall government spending
Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) for detailed, specific breakdowns of federal spending
Schedule Sales Query Plus for sales specific to the GSA Schedules & GSA Schedule Contractors
GSA eLibrary for information on products/services offered through the GSA Schedules and Contractors who hold GSA Schedules

Who is your ideal buyer? What are they currently purchasing? How are they procuring these items (what contract vehicles are they using) and who are they buying them from? Use the tools listed above to answer these questions and to profile agencies that are most likely to have an interest in your products/services, as well as contractors that are currently providing these products/services.

The Federal Acquisition Jumpstation also serves as a resource for finding out how specific agencies procure products and services. This site provides a list of procurement related links broken down by agency.

Government Contractor Registrations
If you have not already done so, complete the following steps which are required to sell to any government entity, irrespective of the GSA Schedule Contract:

Obtain a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) D-U-N-S Number. This is a unique, nine-digit identification number that is used by the federal government as a contractor identification code for all procurement-related activities. This number is required to complete the next step. Note: this will no longer be a requirement starting April 4, 2022 – learn more here.

Register on the System for Award Management (SAM). SAM serves as a consolidated portal for multiple federal systems, including the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and the Online Representations and Certifications (ORCA). **There is no cost to register on SAM.**

Finding Government Opportunities
A significant portion of federal business contract opportunities are posted on SAM.gov. Companies can use SAM to search for federal opportunities by various fields including: agency, keyword, place of performance, and/or set-aside code. By registering on SAM, you can track selected opportunities and receive alerts. Get tips for finding contract opportunities on SAM.gov here.

eBuy is another tool available to find contracting opportunities, however it is only accessible to GSA Schedule Contract holders. eBuy is an online Request for Quote (RFQ) system that allows GSA Schedule Contractors to receive relevant opportunities based upon the Special Item Number(s) they hold.

Tip: When searching for potential opportunities, be selective in choosing which ones you respond to. Many companies tend to jump head first, responding to every possible opportunity that arises; this type of business plan will quickly lead to burn-out and is unlikely to end in awarded contracts.

Subcontracting: Getting Your Foot in the Door
Teaming and subcontracting can be effective methods for getting started as a government contractor and gaining experience in the government market.

Teaming allows your company to join forces with a company that offers complementary products and services, to offer government buyers a more attractive, robust solution. Subcontracting allows your company to build experience by working for Prime Contractors that have done the leg work in establishing the contract and agency relationships.

Just as government agencies are encouraged to meet annual set-aside goals for contracting to various types of small businesses, large contractors that hold a GSA Schedule Contract are also required to develop a subcontracting plan that establishes goals for working with small businesses. GSA maintains a Subcontracting Directory, https://www.gsa.gov/subdirectory, to assist small businesses in finding subcontracting opportunities with large GSA Schedule Contract holders. This directory lists companies and industries by location, as well as the subcontracting point of contact and company specific subcontracting goals.

GSA’s eLibrary site can also be used to identify potential teaming and subcontracting partners. Once you identify the appropriate GSA Schedule categories and Special Item Numbers (SINs) that best fits your offerings, you can view a list of companies that already offer those products or services under the SIN.

Ready to Get Started?
Ready to step up government sales with the GSA Schedule Contract? View information on Getting a GSA Schedule Contract or Contact Us for a complimentary GSA Schedule Contract Consultation. 


How to access contract opportunities

You must first be awarded a ScheduleGWAC or MAC contract, or partner with an existing contract holder, to access opportunities available through those contract vehicles. You can access all our other contract opportunities on SAM.gov.

 Learn how to make an offer to become a Schedule holder.

Becoming a contract holder on our Multiple Award Schedule (MAS, also referred to as the Schedule) program, gives you access to contract opportunities only available to Schedule holders. Unlike our other contract vehicles, a business can make an offer to get on Schedule at any time.

Participating in this program is a good choice for most small and medium-sized businesses. While the MAS Program offers no guaranteed sales for individual contractors, it opens the door to federal contracting opportunities exceeding $39 billion annually.

Some of the advantages of the Schedule program include:

  • It’s the most common procurement method used by federal agencies.
  • Your pricing has already been determined to be competitive.
  • Ordering procedures for government agencies are streamlined.

To be eligible for a Schedule contract, you must have*:

  • Been in business for two years.
  • Two years of financial statements.
  • Measurable past performance.

*These requirements may be waived for eligible businesses through our Startup Springboard program.

  1. Ways to sellcompleted
  2. Accessing opportunities
  3. Market r


Get Help Winning Foreign Government Contracts
The Advocacy Center helps U.S. companies to win government contracts across the globe. It coordinates U.S. government-wide advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. companies and works closely with ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service and its commercial liaisons to multilateral development banks. As soon as you take interest in a potential project, contact the Advocacy Center.

Find Opportunities from the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs)
Research foreign procurement opportunities by contacting Advocacy Center Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) Liaison Officers, or subscribing to online notices from the World Bank and the European, Inter-American, African, and Asian MDBs.

Country Commercial Guides
Country Commercial Guides provide the latest market intelligence on more than 140 countries from U.S. embassies abroad. Specific information on foreign government procurement can be found in the “Selling to the Government” chapter of each Country Commercial Guide and verified through your local U.S. Commercial Service office.

Export Assistance
International Trade Administration (ITA) experts can help you learn more about the competitive environment around a project, find agents when they are required for you to sell to government organizations in a foreign market, and navigate other challenges you may face.


How to access contract opportunities
You must first be awarded a Schedule, GWAC or MAC contract, or partner with an existing contract holder, to access opportunities available through those contract vehicles. You can access all our other contract opportunities on SAM.gov.

Multiple Award Schedule
Learn how to make an offer to become a Schedule holder.

Becoming a contract holder on our Multiple Award Schedule (MAS, also referred to as the Schedule) program, gives you access to contract opportunities only available to Schedule holders. Unlike our other contract vehicles, a business can make an offer to get on Schedule at any time.

Participating in this program is a good choice for most small and medium-sized businesses. While the MAS Program offers no guaranteed sales for individual contractors, it opens the door to federal contracting opportunities exceeding $39 billion annually.

Some of the advantages of the Schedule program include:

It’s the most common procurement method used by federal agencies.
Your pricing has already been determined to be competitive.
Ordering procedures for government agencies are streamlined.
To be eligible for a Schedule contract, you must have*:

Been in business for two years.
Two years of financial statements.
Measurable past performance.
*These requirements may be waived for eligible businesses through our Startup Springboard program.



7 Resources to Find Government Contracts


Are you taking advantage of all the potential resources to find government contract opportunities to fill your pipeline?

We’ve put together a list of seven sources you should consider in your search for federal contract opportunities. If you’ve read our post, How to Be a Successful GSA Contractor: Five Things You Need to Know, you should be familiar with three of the resources below. However, we’ve also included options you may not have previously considered, along with a few helpful tips.

1) SAM.gov

The System for Award Management (SAM) is one of the primary websites federal agencies use to post contract opportunities. SAM.gov should be your first, but not only resource to find government contracts. Familiarize yourself with conducting searches on SAM.gov, saving your search, and setting notification alerts. It’s important to know how to use the filter options to effectively narrow your results down to relevant opportunities. See our search tips for SAM.gov, along with screenshots here.

2) Agency Procurement Forecasts

While it would be nice if all federal agencies posted their procurement forecasts in the same format in one central location, Acquisition.gov provides the next best thing.

The Agency Recurring Procurement Forecasts page on Acquisition.gov includes a list of federal agencies along with a link to each agency’s procurement forecast page. Be forewarned, there is no set standard for how an agency posts their procurement forecast. However, you’ll find some agencies have user-friendly procurement forecasts that are easy to search.

3) GSA eBuy

If your company holds a GSA or VA Schedule Contract, you have access to an additional resource to find government contract opportunities. GSA eBuy is an online platform that allows government buyers to issue Requests for Quote (RFQs) directly to eligible GSA and VA Schedule Contract holders. By posting an RFQ on eBuy, an agency can typically bypass the requirement to post a full solicitation on SAM.gov.

If you hold a GSA or VA Schedule Contract, make sure someone is responsible for monitoring eBuy and responding to RFQs. Also, keep in mind, your access to RFQs in eBuy is based upon the Special Item Number(s) (SINs) you hold. Search for your NAICS Codes in our SIN lookup chart to see if there are SINs you’re missing out on.

4) Social Media

Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable uptick in the adoption of social media among government agencies. We’ve seen contracting offices that communicate with vendors primarily through LinkedIn Groups, while others post opportunity notices on Twitter. Wherever your target audience is, make sure you’re there as well.

Follow your target government agencies on social media, and you may hear about contract opportunities while they are in the planning stages before an RFI is even released. Use GSA’s US Digital Registry to find out if your federal customers are active on social media and, if so, which platforms they use. The Digital Registry is essentially a directory of agency social media accounts. Select an agency and see a list of their social media accounts with links.

US Digital Registry - Federal Social Media Directory

5) Agency Events

It is not uncommon for a federal agency to hold an Industry Day to discuss an upcoming contract opportunity. You may find these events advertised on the agency’s social media platform of choice.

However, there are also unique agency events to be on the lookout for. For example, GSA’s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM) office helps federal agencies plan contract opportunities to meet their upcoming demands. FEDSIM in turn, holds a “First Fridays” monthly webinar for industry, to discuss and provide updates on contract opportunities the FEDSIM office is working on with their agency customers.

6) Executive Orders

Presidential Executive Orders (EOs) are an indirect resource to find government contracts. They provide insight into an administration’s plans and priorities, which could require industry help to achieve.

Executive Orders can set agency wide goals related to cybersecurity or greenhouse gas emissions, just as an example. EOs can also task specific agencies with creating the process and infrastructure to meet certain goals. These types of directives can translate into upcoming contract opportunities for industry.

You can review Executive Orders on the White House’s website or the Federal Registrar. Monitor releases and review those that might involve your industry. Take note of the terminology used and if specific agencies are cited. Consider using this information to create new Google and/or SAM.gov searches.

7) Subcontracting Directory

If your company is a small business you should look into subcontracting opportunities, if you haven’t already. Prime government contractors are required to establish plans to subcontract to small businesses.

One final note, there is no cost associated with using the resources we’ve put together above. However, if you find you need additional assistance, there is certainly no shortage of paid subscription services that help you identify, track, and manage government contract opportunities.

Be Ready to Capture Contract Opportunities

Contract vehicles like the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS), can help you capture opportunities. Keeping your contracts up to date with your current pricing and offerings puts your company in an optimal position to win when a contract opportunity arises.


See:  The Five Best Government Contracting Websites

by Ali Khan | Oct 24, 2022 | GovCon 101


The internet has a wealth of information for government contractors. But with so many government contracting websites out there, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the five best government contracting websites to help you get started with your search for government contracts. These websites offer a wealth of resources for both government contractors and government agencies, making them an essential part of any offeror’s toolkit.

GSA eBuy
GSA eBuy is a web-based government contracting application that allows users to request quotes for goods and services from federal contractors. Contractors can use GSA eBuy to find business opportunities with the government, and government agencies can use it to streamline the procurement process.

FedBizOpps is the primary government contracting website for posting federal business opportunities. It consolidates opportunities from multiple sources into one central location, making it easy for contractors to find and apply for bids. The site not only includes opportunities for small businesses but also information on how to do business with the government. In addition to contract opportunities, the site also offers resources and training on various aspects of government contracting.

FBO can be a valuable tool for businesses interested in doing work with the government. By using the site, businesses can find opportunities that match their capabilities and increase their chances of winning a contract.

USASpending.gov is the federal government’s database of information on how taxpayer money is being spent. It offers data on federal contracts, grants, loans, and other financial assistance programs and can be a valuable resource for both contractors and government agencies, as it provides transparency into how taxpayer dollars are being used. The website provides information on all federal government contracts, including the contracting agency, the amount of the contract, and the contractors involved. So whether you’re a small business owner looking for contracting opportunities or a grant seeker looking for funding, USASpending.gov is a great place to start your search.

SAM.gov is the official website of the U.S. Federal Government’s System for Award Management (SAM), and by extension, possibly the best government contracting website in this list. SAM also provides resources and tools to help businesses navigate the government contracting process, and is the system that businesses use to register in order to do business with the federal government. All businesses that want to contract with the government must have a SAM registration, which can be obtained through this website.

Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) (SBA.gov)

Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) is a website maintained by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Its purpose is to help small businesses find government contracts. To use the DSBS, businesses must first register with the SBA. They will then be given a login and password, which they can use to access the DSBS website. Once on the site, businesses can search for contracts by keyword, category, and other criteria. They can also set up alerts to be notified when new contracts become available. The DSBS is a valuable resource for small businesses looking to find government contracts.

Now, it is important to note that, while free to use, all of the government contracting websites require you to register yourself and your business before use, so be sure to have information, such as DUNS number, Tax ID/EIN, point of contact, etc. at hand. If the websites provided do not suffice your needs you can always reach out to us at DIGITALSPEC and we will be happy to guide you.

DIGITALSPEC is an IT and business consulting government contractor with 15+ years of experience with top agencies, numerous certifications, and 80+ employees. Feel free to learn about our story by visiting our website or reaching out at sales@digitalspec.net.


Micro Purchasing



Here’s what you need to know about micro-purchase and how to use these to let a federal buyer purchase up to $10,000 from you!


A warranted federal contracting officer or someone with buying authority may purchase goods or services through a credit card worth up to the value of $10,000.

These things are called micro-purchases. It can be anything— from cutting grasses to a lunch and learn session.

This even happens with virtually no competition, no small business set aside, and the Buy American Act does not apply.

“The people want to make it easy— to give you a little bit of a try to do a project that they don’t have to run a big fancy competition for.”

So, why is this relevant? 

Well, as a small business or a business that is just new in the federal marketplace, the chance is so low for you to win a huge contract because you have no past performance yet. 

The good thing with these micro-purchases is these are the ones that most big contractors don’t look at.

Apart from that, the federal buyer is also encouraged to award these contracts to local suppliers.

Let’s say you provide interior painting services. If you’re close to a federal installation or an agency that buys your specific service, then you can talk to this federal buyer and be directly given the job. 

Most importantly, consider that business begets more business. A specific buyer won’t give you large contracts, if they don’t know that you can execute it well. 

So, what should you do? Take advantage of the micro-purchases and show the end user that there’s a low to no risk working with you. 


The number one thing you need to win a micro purchase is your phone.

Here’s what you need to do… leave a voicemail. 

It doesn’t have to be a two-minute voicemail. It can be a 30 second, with a maximum of one minute. 

With that in mind, make sure that you treat your voicemails like gold. Remember, you have 30 seconds of someone’s undivided attention. 

Most importantly, give it with the amount of loving care. Here’s an example voicemail for you:

“I’m so glad that we’re connected. So sorry I missed you. Here’s what it is that I’m calling about. It’s Colin calling with assessment services that you can use and the best value anywhere. Check your email, I’ve got details. Missed you today. I’m going to call you back Thursday at two. Talk to you soon.”

Then, once you make that voicemail, you make a note on your calendar and call them back. Pay attention to what time zone they’re in and call them when you say you will. 

Consider that you might have to reach them through voicemail many times before they answer your call, but just be patient and persistent. 

“You’re going to think about three or four different things that represent the best value that your company provides, what sets you apart, why are you memorable, why do they really want to talk to you.” 



Micro-purchases are not posted online or in any database; these only happen through conversations with the federal buyer. 

So, if you’re looking to do business at the micro-purchase level, you need to form a personal relationship with the players and layers of a specific agency. 

In most cases, you can first build a relationship with the small business specialist.

This person might not be able to lead you to the person with the micro-purchase power, but they can advocate and help fine tune your navigation in building relationships with the end user. 


Micro-purchases are location specific because you’re delivering a product or a service to a specific location.


Micro-purchases don’t need a contract agreement because the exchange about a specific purchase mostly happens through email or by conversation. 

Still, if you want to use an agreement for some purposes, you can download an agreement for micro-purchases online. 



Behind every contract agreement is a real federal human who has everything on the line when they choose you. 

So, if you want to sell a specific service, start close to home and find someone with a specific need. 

Consider that if you have never sold to anyone in the federal government before, they’re going to want to see that you’ve sold the product or the service to another organization or customer that has a size and scale of requirement really similar to theirs.


2.1 million federal employees are already on LinkedIn, so why not start with that to learn more about them and build relationships with them? 

Consider that this is a great time to do this because once the fourth quarter of the fiscal year starts, your federal buyer may already be looking for companies to do some micro-purchase with. 

Also, a lot of information about federal contracts and your players and layers are publicly open, so take advantage of those.


It’s critical that you invest your time and effort in learning government contracts and building relationships.

It’s not enough that you watch a 10-minute video and say you figured everything out because you still need to do the work. You have to watch the content and you have to apply it. 

“You can’t do half of the activity and expect to get the whole result.”


If you want to learn more about what micro-purchase is and how to use this to your advantage, then check our full Mastermind Monday video with Judy Bradt. 

You can also visit the GovCon Giant website or the new GovCon Edu where you learn everything about government contracting!

What is a micro purchase and how to use them?


Micro-Purchase Delegation of Authority

Executive Agencies and the Judiciary may directly procure projects and services without a Reimbursable Work Authorization (RWA) in facilities under GSA control if:

  1. The cost of the work is at or below the Micro-Purchase threshold.
  2. The Agency has received the written approval of the GSA Building/Property Manager or, if a leased building, the written approval of the GSA Lease Administration Manager (LAM) and Lease Contracting Officer.
  3. Authority has transferred from the head of the customer agency to the requesting agency official.

Resources and Guidance