There are many procurement assistance programs offered by the Government to help small businesses wade through the process of offering their goods and services to the Government. One not-so-well known program is DLA's Procurement Technical Assistance Program.
The Procurement Technical Assistance Program was created in 1985 to help increase the number of small businesses participating in Government contracts at all Government levels including state, local and federal agencies. The program is administered by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Office of Small Business Programs.
There are Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) operating in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Additionally, there are eight PTACs specializing in providing procurement assistance to Native American owned small businesses.
These centers provide a variety of services, from identifying contracting opportunities, providing guidance on the bidding process and providing detailed instruction on registering in or using federal procurement systems, such as SAM (the System for Award Management), and www.fbo.gov, the website where DoD and other federal agencies post opportunities for contractors.
PTACs generally offer their services free although some charge a small fee for "bid-match" services where PTAC counselors will help identify opportunities that match a firm's business.
In theory, increasing the number of small businesses pursuing Government contracts promotes a stronger industrial base which will result in greater competition and higher quality goods at lower costs. That theory could be true but difficult to quantify.
The PTACs also offer training, some by counselors and sometimes through partnerships with Government agencies. Many PTAC counselors have themselves been contracting officers or have held relevant procurement related positions.
Its free, why not give it a try. To find your PTAC (or your Native-American PTAC), click here.