Finding & Creating Opportunities to Bid

Why you should understand this

  • You need to know where to look: Sure the government buys a lot of stuff, about $2 billion in goods and services a day but if you don’t know where to look for your kinds of solicitations you can’t even get in the game
  • Opportunities comes out all over the place: is the single largest library of government solicitations, but there are dozens of other, smaller places where opportunities come out
  • Create your own opportunities: The best way to find a solicitation for what you sell is to convince the government that they have a need. While this takes time the big primes are constantly seeding ideas for what they can provide to the government

Where to find opportunities

  • Government Opportunity aggregating websites: The government manages a number of websites that aggregate opportunities from various government agencies:
    • This is the biggest aggregator and some of the opportunities on the other sites may appear here
    • Government grants (typically larger grants that are oriented towards universities, non-profits, and large companies
    • Smaller grants for smaller companies
    • Smaller R&D funding
    • IDIQ/GSA Schedule Specific: The GSA schedule and many of the larger IDIQs have their own websites where opportunities under that vehicle are listed
    • Forecast: Most agencies post a list of contracts that they anticipate releasing over the next 12-24 months:
    • Agency and office websites: Some agencies maintain small portals to announce solicitations
  • Projected Opportunities: You can identify opportunities that are likely to come out by:
    • Looking for contracts that are ending: The government’s needs don’t change that much year over year, and the government likes to sign multi-year contracts to meet their ongoing needs. so if you find contracts that are ending in the near future, there is a reasonably good chance that a new solicitation for very similar products and services will come out soon.
    • Looking at budget requests: Government budgets are available to the public so if:
      • You see an area where budgets are increasing
      • Or if you see a totally new budget request
      • Then there is a high probability that the government will release solicitations related to that topic
    • Reading congressional testimony and statements by agency leaders: Government leaders frequently testify before Congress or make statements at conferences related to the vision and mission for their organizations. It takes a while but generally those visions become solicitations
  • Talking to your customers and planting seeds: The last, and arguably the most important way to find opportunities, is to talk to you customers about what’s on their mind. And this is the pro-move because:
    • It’s private info: All the other methods are public. Every big company is basically doing the exact some thing, so has the same insights about what is coming out. But if a customer tells you something that is a competitive advantage.
    • Plenty of time: Typically, if the government tells you about a need they have they are a year away from buying a solution (assuming this is a relatively large need), which gives you plenty of time to influence their thinking in says that favor you (for more on this see our course on Shaping and limiting competition)
    • Creating your own RFP: Depending on the strength of your customer relationship, and your ability to influence their thinking, you may be able to give them a white paper, and see that magically become the foundation for a solicitation a few months later.
    • For more on this see our courses on relationship building and Shaping

FedScout: Clearly we are biased, but we think that FedScout does the best job aggregating opportunities from across federal websites and other sources and helping people find what they are looking for

The rest of this class

The following classes provide more information about each source, and how to create a search/find opportunities in each