Congress has recognized the importance of a vibrant U.S. small business community, and the superior service provided by veteran-owned small businesses by writing into law, set-aside goal measures for each department in the federal government and agencies.There must be at least two or more responsible small business concerns that are competitive in terms of market prices, quality, and delivery for an automatic set-aside to occur, according to the SBA.Currently, the government stipulates that at least 23% of all federal dollars should be awarded to small businesses. Additionally, target sub-goals are set for these categories:
- 8(a) Small Business (Small Disadvantaged Businesses - 5%
- Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) Small Business - 3%
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) - 3%
- Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) - 5%
It’s a good idea for government contractors to keep a close eye on any signals for new spending priorities set by the government and the presidential administration. As with any business owner, staying knowledgeable about what’s going on in your industry is good business practice. For government contractors, it’s no different. Keeping apprised of the changes in the government can directly affect your business.
As A Veteran, You’re Already in the Market
What we mean is you have already done business with the government through your military service. You’ve got an understanding of how things in government work and you have an excellent network inside and outside of the government.Relationships are key to your success in establishing and maintaining government contracts, bidding on contracts and getting government contract financing. While the government buys tons of goods and services, there is a lot of competition to break into this space. As veterans, you have a leg up on your competition because of the government set-aside for veteran-owned small businesses. But, how do you know where to start or what’s available for veterans?This is where relationships come into play.Bottom line: relationships with leaders of businesses you’re interested in bidding for, such as a prime contractor, will give you an advantage in securing a contract later.You have to be willing to put yourself out there to grow your network, by taking the initiative to meet people. An important part of networking is showing others how you can help them and their businesses, not just how they can help you.For veterans, a good place to start building those connections is to know what events are going on at a local base near you and in the veteran community. These could include open houses at college campuses or companies, events at your local Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC), or local contracting incubators like Eastern Foundry. Get yourself out there, get in the mix, and make connections that will enable you to win those contracts. This is not an industry where you should enter alone.You can learn more about government contracting for veterans here.