The Canadian government spends more than $16 billion on products and services each year. As a small business owner, you can boost your profits by selling to government agencies through the Public Works and Government Services Canada department. To make your company more attractive to buyers, simply promote yourself within the procurement system. The more visible you are, the better your chances of winning valuable contracts.
Know Who to Target
When a government agency needs to buy products or services, they sent a request to PWGSC. If that contract is $25,000 or less, the agency can also suggest the companies that they want to bid. That’s where promotion comes in — if you’ve already promoted your business to the agency, they’re more likely to include you on the bid list.
But who should you contact with promotional information? Usually, the person in charge of buying is your best bet. To find that person, you can use the Government Electronic Directory Service. The GEDS Department Listing section lets you pick a department. Then, all you have to do is search for relevant job titles with search terms such as "procurement," "contracting," or "material management." Once you find the right person, the directory gives you all their contact information.
If you know the GSIN code for your product or service, you can also look people up on Buyandsell.gc.ca. Just look at the contacts for the GSIN code. Need a more personal approach? Get in touch with your regional PWGSC office to find out about local opportunities.
Get to Know Your Competition
Many small and medium-sized businesses bid for contracts with the Canadian government. With a little research, you can find some of these businesses and see how your company measures up. One great place to start is the List of Interested Suppliers. This is simply a list of companies that want to bid on a job — you can find it on individual tender notices on Buyandsell.gc.ca. Another option is to check out the contract history of PWGSC, which helps you see which companies succeeded in landing government jobs. With the company names on hand, it’s easy to look up individual competitor websites.
Set Your Company Apart
Once you know your customers and competitors, it’s time to set your company apart from the crowd. As you build a relationship with the procurement person in your target agency, try to showcase the things you do differently or better. If you’re selling advertising services, you might mention that you have an in-house graphic designer and web developer — and that you can deliver projects 25% faster that your competitors because you don’t need to outsource these tasks.
As you pick which unique features to emphasize, it’s a good idea to keep the client’s needs in mind. If you want to bid on projects for an agency that’s trying to go green, you could highlight your eco-friendly supply chain. If your facility is close to the department headquarters, try focusing on fast delivery and low shipping costs.
If you’re willing to put in some research and relationship-building, promoting yourself within Canada’s procurement system isn’t hard. As departments and agencies get to know you better, it’s easier to get invitations to bid on valuable government contracts to sustain your company.