The Power of Engaging with Federal Decision Makers in Federal Contracting

By Kiyon Brandford,

Anyone doing business in the federal marketplace will know that the relationships you build are instrumental to your company’s success. In order to build the necessary relationships, you must target the right people, prepare properly, and communicate effectively with those decision-makers. For the past several years, the Office of Management and Budget’s Myth-busting memo series has served as a guide for communication among government decision-makers and industry partners. A recent Small Business Administration (SBA) rule, 81 FR 85914, revises the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) to highlight the importance of industry engagement during market research, and its importance for small businesses to understand its implications.

SBA Rule 81 FR 85914 emphasizes the significance of industry engagement for small businesses participating in federal procurements. According to this rule, federal agencies are encouraged to engage in early and frequent communication with industry stakeholders during the market research phase of the acquisition process. This engagement allows small businesses to provide valuable input, share their capabilities, and gain insight into the government’s needs and expectations.

Benefits of Engaging with Federal Decision Makers:

  1. Access to Valuable Information: By engaging with federal decision-makers, small businesses can obtain crucial information about upcoming contracting opportunities, agency goals, and specific project requirements. This insight helps them align their strategies and tailor their marketing materials and proposals to meet the government’s needs effectively.
  2. Building Relationships: Engaging with federal decision-makers allows small businesses to establish meaningful relationships and network with key government decision-makers. These relationships can lead to increased visibility, partnership opportunities, and potential mentorship programs that can enhance their chances of winning contracts.
  3. Influence and Advocacy: Actively participating in industry engagement activities enables small businesses to advocate for their interests and present innovative solutions to government challenges. It allows them to showcase their expertise and influence the development of procurement strategies and requirements. When done correctly, small businesses can create set-asides and sole source opportunities based on technical capabilities

Small businesses interested in pursuing federal contracts should take full advantage of the opportunities presented by engaging with federal decision-makers. SBA Rule 81 FR 85914 underscores the importance of industry engagement during market research and encourages small businesses to actively participate in these activities. By leveraging these interactions, small businesses can gain valuable information, establish relationships, and advocate for their interests, ultimately increasing their chances of securing federal contracts.

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