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Doing Business with the Government

Regardless of the state of the economy, government agencies still need the supplies and services that keep them going.  The federal government spends billions of dollars each year on goods and services provided by private businesses.  NYS spent $34.5 billion dollars through procurement in State Fiscal Year 06-07.  Government procurement of goods and services typically accounts for 10-15% of Gross Domestic Product and during a recession, these numbers remain relatively constant.  In order to stay aware of procurement opportunities, it is important to make contacts within state and federal procurement offices.  Small businesses in NYS can sign up for the Contract Reporter at  Federal procurement opportunities can be found at

"The opportunities to do business with the government are tremendous IF (and it's a big IF) you are willing to put forth the time and effort required." – Roxanne K. Mutchler, Mohawk Valley SBDC

"In order to take advantage of Federal and State Government procurement opportunities created during the Recession Recovery period, a small business must already be prepared.  They should have all of their registrations in place and be known by Purchasing Agents and or Contracting Officers.  It will be more difficult for an existing or start-up business to break into this market.  Some opportunities may be set aside for disadvantaged firms, but subcontracting opportunities will still exist." – Ann Durant, Watertown SBDC

“With regards to Business With the Government it’s important to understand the role and needs of who it is that is buying from you and to offer them what they want to buy, not just your product because you are selling it. The government is not just one big thing.  The government (federally speaking of course) is a collection of agencies including but not limited to, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Army, etc, etc.  Do not think that just because you are registered and certified that this means that you are going to be contracted for millions of dollars overnight.  This is a common misconception among those newer to the procurement industry.” – J.M. DeJesus, Brooklyn SBDC


There are two distinct audiences to market to when doing government procurement:

1) The regional or local procurement officer/contact.  This is the guy/gal that is listed in the RFP notice as the informational resource and who swill mail or email you the RFP for your perusal and hopefully for you to provide the winning bid.

2) The actual manager within the agency department that is in need and he/she or their staff are the end user(s).  The procurement officer generally gets a call or requisition for the 12,000 pencils that are needed by the manager's department or cluster of departments. 

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Recession Survival Guide for Small Business