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Established through the Office of Management and Budget, every federal government agency receives a PAR – Performance Accountability Report – a scorecard system initiated by Al Gore when he was Vice President under Bill Clinton from 1993-2001. There are five or 10 things on which agencies get rated, and one is the small business participation rate.

Energy got an F on their small business participation, and that could be good news for you.

As a small business, the agencies that aren’t making their numbers are good candidates – they’re really under the gun to do something about their small business activities.

You still have to go through the other processes for identifying good customers (Where are the agency’s local offices? What do they do?) and making sure they have money. You still have to do your footwork in the follow up to make sure you’re the ones they think of for the job. And you have to register your business so that you’re easy to do business with.

Talk to the small business people at the agency’s OSDBU office (they don’t have any money, but they can link you up with the right contacts and information).

At the end of the day, this is an agency that wants to figure out how to do business with you. And that’s worth a lot.

The thing about small businesses is that we don’t always have exactly what the government wants. We’re a small business, we don’t have thousands of people doing hundreds of different things. We’ve got what we’ve got, and that’s not always what they need.

But if the agency needs you more to make their small business numbers, they’re more inclined to make things work. They want you on board. So your job is to make it easy for them to see how you can fit, and what you can do to solve their problem. Help them answer the question, “How can we use the services of this small business?”

Agencies with low marks on their small business performance scorecards are actively trying to fill their dance card with small businesses, and you’re one of the people who can help them do it.

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