How To Get Federal Solicitations Set Aside For Your Business

The Federal Government is looking for you. They like small business. They need small business. In fact, the Federal Government is required to “set-aside” certain procurements for a particular size or classification of business.

So why care? When a procurement is set-aside for a small or disadvantaged business, the government is effectively eliminating your toughest competition. While we believe strongly in the ability of small business, your chance of winning a set-aside procurement is almost 80% greater than an open procurement.

By law, the Federal Government is required to actively seek small business sources for every solicitation greater than $100,000. The method for this is called “Sources Sought.” (The requirement has many, many exceptions, and there are many, many workarounds, but the general idea is sound.)

On average, there are 1,200 Sources Sought notifications posted to FedBizOpps every month. In many cases, there are multiple solicitations that apply directly to your business.

A Sources Sought notification actually means “Small Business Sources Sought.” Sometimes the solicitation will specify explicitly that they are looking only for small businesses (or 8(a), HUBZone, …) to respond. (Even if it doesn’t say “only small businesses” it means only small businesses.)

If a Sources Sought opportunity is in your wheelhouse then you’ll want to add it to your watchlist and respond.

Every. Single. Time.

Sources Sought is your one chance to “get in early.”

In addition, responding to a Sources Sought notification is some of the best marketing and business development you can do for your business. It gives you a captive, interested audience with a real buyer who is required by law to read your response. Don’t waste this opportunity.

We know that you don’t have a full time capture and business development team. We know that you don’t have the time to respond. You’re too busy working on actual bids, right?

We’re introducing a new feature that’s available from an item on your watch list that makes it much faster, and much simpler to respond to Sources Sought notifications.

Responses from Bidspeed are fast, simple, and complete. Bidspeed can often reduce the response process from hours to minutes – making the decision to take the time to respond simple for the small business owner.

More importantly, the response process is simple, provides the contracting officer with a standard, complete, and readable response, and allows the small business owner to effectively manage their relationship with the government post-response, all with a minimum of time commitment from the small business.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Add appropriate Sources Sought solicitations to your watchlist. We’ve added a built-in filter (Filters Menu, Sources Sought Only) that will show only Sources Sought in the main search page. To add the item to your watchlist, click the ‘Add’ link on the list or the ‘Add’ button from the item’s detail page.
  2. Click the ‘Respond’ button.
  3. From the Response detail page, add the contracting officers, appropriate set-asides that your company has, and any documents that support your case. Typically you’ll attach your capabilities statement and a document that fully responds to the solicitation. Pay attention to the page limit, it’s often 10 pages or less.
  4. Complete the form letter using the editor. Bidspeed provides a standard response that works well as an outline for the email response you are going to send.
  5. Make SURE you answer all of the questions as stated in the solicitation. Failure to do so is almost guaranteed to make your response non-responsive.
  6. Click ‘Send to Me Only.’ Check your email. Read the email. Make sure this is what you want to send.
  7. If you have changes you can always get back to the response by clicking the ‘Respond’ button again from the opportunity detail page.
  8. When you are ready to send the response click ‘Send.’ The response will be sent to the proper recipients and the opportunity will be marked as ‘Responded.’ (An alternative is to forward the email sent to you from your email client. If you do this, you’ll have to mark the opportunity as responded yourself.)
  9. Follow up (Bidspeed automatically creates a task for this, assigned to you) to make sure your response was received. (Another chance to talk to the buyer, use it.)

Remember, this is one of the best marketing and business development tools you will ever find. Period. Here’s the best news – sign up right now and you can start developing your business today.

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