For some business owners, contracts with federal and local governments are the backbone of their annual revenue. Oftentimes, securing one contract with a government agency opens doors with other departments providing a steady stream of opportunities for your business.
While there’s a constant need for small business services in government, we found that a lot of entrepreneurs think getting in with the government is as easy as registering in the agency database. To learn more about what is *really* required to get a government contract, we turned to our friends at Charlotte Business INClusion, an organization committed to enhancing competition and participation of small, minority and women-owned firms in City contracting.
“It takes more than just registration to get contracts,” said Sam Montanez, Program Specialist for Charlotte Business INClusion. “You should attend project pre-bid meetings, attend networking and capacity building events, and most importantly build relationships with the City Procurement staff making buying decisions.”
Just like when securing private contracts, building relationships with decision-makers is critical to getting your business noticed in the vendor lineup. If you’re not sure how to get connected to the right people, start by browsing the Find a City Vendor tool on the Charlotte Business INClusion website for organizations you know – they may be able to help you make a connection. Spoiler, you can also see what other businesses like yours are registered for and potentially compete against you for certain contracts.
It’s also important to be sure that you have the proper certifications for your business in order to be eligible. For example, most trade services like plumbing or electric require an industry-issued license. If eligible, you should also become a certified Minority Women Small Business Enterprise (MWSBE) and pay close attention to the City’s goal-setting process for MWSBE participation.
Don’t worry, Charlotte Business INClusion can help you navigate the certification process. They offer several continuing education and professional association scholarship programs to help certified small businesses prepare for government projects bids. You can contact them at 704-336-4137 or by visiting them online at www.CharlotteBusinessInclusion.com
To see all available opportunities, visit the State of North Carolina Interactive Purchasing System as well as the City of Charlotte Contracting Opportunities webpage. When you’re ready, you can register your business with the City of Charlotte by clicking here. If you have questions about certifications or the bidding process with the City of Charlotte, contact Charlotte Business INClusion, or tweet us @CBRbiz!