Federal, state, and local governments spend millions of dollars every year to purchase products and services from small businesses in Wyoming. Many entrepreneurs aren’t taking advantage of this potential market which is constantly on the lookout for food, clothing, construction services, and now — items and services related to COVID-19. An upcoming event in Wyoming is the best chance of the year in our state to learn everything there is to know about government contracting.
This year’s annual GRO-Biz Conference takes place virtually March 9, 10, and 11, 2021 and while the format looks a bit different from previous years, the conference still promises to deliver a robust offering of matchmaking, networking, and learning opportunities for Wyoming’s small businesses. Whether you are new to the idea of selling your goods or services to the government or you have been working in contracting for years, here’s a quick look at why you should attend:
Reason #1: Meet your Reps
A vital part of selling to the government is getting to know the agencies in your area and the contracting staff who work for them. Federal, state, and local procurement representatives from all over our region will be on hand each day at noon to present via Zoom about government contracting opportunities for small businesses. This is your BEST chance this year to make these connections and get all of your questions answered.
Reason #2: Learning Opportunities
There will be multiple sessions to choose from, with some topics focused on the basics of government contracting and others covering issues more relevant to those who have experience or want to dive deeper into specific topics. You can mix-and-match a schedule that is the best fit for you. Each day will offer a morning session and an afternoon session with plenty of time in between for running your business.
Reason #3: Networking
The GRO-Biz Conference prioritizes not only connections with procurement representatives, but also opportunities to connect with other small business owners, experts from multiple business resource organizations, and dignitaries from the government. There will be a “happy hour” connecting session and attendees are encouraged to share contact information with prospective partners and colleagues.
Now that you know WHY you should be there, here are some practical ways to prepare to get the most out of this year’s conference:
Tip #1: Do Your Homework
- Do a little detective work into which agencies might be interested in your goods or services.
- Once you’ve identified some potential customers, get to know them. What is their mission? What are their goals?
- Explore the bids and past projects they have put out to get an idea of what their needs are — then prepare some solutions!
- Find any available forecasts that outline the agency’s procurement goals for the year.
Tip #2: Create Your Marketing Materials and Online Presence
- Present yourself as a professional by having a polished PDF capability statement that is ready to email to contacts — if you have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code, NAICS and/or PSC codes, include them.
- Have a professional website ready to send folks to.
- Bonus points for keeping your camera on so potential contacts can see your face. A professional Zoom background is also a nice touch.
- Be prepared to use the chat feature in Zoom to reach out to fellow attendees and swap contact information.
Tip #3: Get Assistance
If this sounds a bit overwhelming, it’s not! Your Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network advisors are here to help you prepare. Here are some ways we can support you:
- Research assistance
- Review of marketing materials, website, and social media
- Assistance with creating a powerful capability statement
- Help getting a DUNS number and registering in the System for Award Management (SAM)
- And more!
To learn more or to register for this year’s GRO-Biz Conference, visit WyomingSBDC.org/grobiz. Unlike in the past, this year’s event will focus solely on government contracting. We hope you’ll join us!
About the Author: Janean was raised in the mountain west of Montana and Wyoming and is passionate about helping small businesses succeed in navigating the exciting world of government contracting. Janean has a background in compliance, training, Human Resources, and Equal Employment Opportunity. She and her family love the Wyoming outdoors, traveling around the state for youth hockey, and then coming home to watch the Great British Baking Show.