Jill Aitoro wrote an informative piece for the Washington Business Journal earlier this month, breaking down how much the federal government spent on contracts with small businesses, as well as its spending on businesses with special certification (women-owned businesses, disadvantaged businesses, HUBZone businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses).
On the whole, the government did not meet its 23% goal and that’s unacceptable, according to Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., chairman of the House Small Business Committee. Graves made these statements in Congress:
“The fact that the federal government hasn’t met this meager 23 percent small business contracting goal for seven years is simply unacceptable, and further proof that our government continues to give lip service to small companies.
The Administration must make meeting this goal a priority because it’s efficient governance, and not just a law that makes small businesses feel good. Improving small business opportunities through federal contracts creates jobs and saves taxpayer money because small businesses bring competition, innovation and lower prices.”
There were even worse gaps between goal and actual subcontracting dollars that went to small business. As far as report cards for specific agencies, Aitoro highlighted, as we did on this blog, that Energy got a failing grade. She also called attention to the agencies that improved as much as two grades between fiscal year 2011 and to fiscal year 2012.
Putting a positive slant on things, the SBA noted that there was an increase over preceding years, and that there have been new initiatives such as ChallengeHER that were designed to improve things even further.
A couple of things here are worth noting – first, the Government has consistently failed to meet goals overall, but individual agencies are doing a good job. Second, that each of those failures is an opportunity – get in and build a relationship, because those folks are hungry for a successful small business that meets the set-aside criteria, and can do what they need done. But (heheh) THE FISH WON’T JUMP IN THE BOAT – you need to find a customer who has money and is ready to spend.
One final note, this situation demonstrates that you can prosper in the midst of sequestration and in this so-called “down” economy. Just “be where they ain’t,” (get out there and use every possible opportunity to build relationships with your prospective customers), “sell what they need,” (as part of your capture management process, do research into the challenges the agency is having and what solutions they’re looking for) and make sure you’re talking to someone with money to spend.
You can read the full article in the Washington Business Journal here: Agencies fall short of small business contracting goals – again.