How small businesses can identify open and winnable government contracts

Thomas Pollock

THINQ Learning founder Thomas Pollock. Source: supplied.

In my almost 20 years of searching for, bidding for, winning and losing government business, I’ve never witnessed a period as ideal as this for Australian small businesses to target and win government contracts.

Smart small businesses are now seeing government revenue opportunities far more frequently, and importantly, as much more accessible.

No longer are government contracts left on a table which only big business can reach and gorge themselves on.

No longer is government business reserved for the company with the deepest pockets and resources at hand to demand contracts worth millions of dollars.

No longer are small businesses left scratching at the back door, pleading for government scraps and hand-outs, hoping to survive just one more winter and see better times.

You see, in times such as we are experiencing, our governments are extremely aware that without a strong and robust small business community, Australia will be left with a big business sector capable of very quickly and easily dictating price and service levels.

Compounding the problem, big business could do this without fearing any real loss of market share.

While this is a very real concern, it also reinforces the fact that in difficult economic times such as this, the government must make every effort to support and indeed strengthen our small business communities.

So, what is the quickest, simplest, yet most powerful way for government to ensure small businesses can realise a future after COVID-19?

Put simply, by ensuring more small businesses win a larger share of government business.

By procuring more from the small business sector, government provides financial relief and support to not just help small businesses to survive, but indeed, to grow.

By procuring more from the small business sector, government can spread the wealth across many regions in desperate need of help.

By procuring more from the private sector, government delivers financial support to local communities which otherwise would wither and die as small businesses communities close down around them.

However, there’s a problem that needs to be overcome for government to succeed in really supporting small business through the economic impacts of COVID-19.

With the exception of a few, unfortunately, we have a small business community that largely sees government revenue streams as untouchable, unrealistic, and for the most part, reserved for big businesses with dedicated teams with heavy purses.

Until small businesses wake up and realise they are capable of winning and fulfilling government contracts, they’ll continue to be battered by big and small economic storms.

Before its too late, small business has to understand that government revenue can be won, and that they are capable of winning.

The first place that small businesses should begin to hunt for government business is on long-standing government business portals.

These portals usually make available:

  • Contracts won;
  • All open contracts and tenders;
  • Closed contracts tenders; and
  • Amendments and updates to current government contracts.

So for small businesses looking to explore government opportunities, these portals are the place to begin walking down that yellow brick road.

While there are too many sites claiming to help small businesses find government opportunities, the best source is the actual source: government.

Here are the government portal sites which are updated relatively regularly, and provide small businesses with a smorgasbord of government opportunities.

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it’s certainly the best place for small businesses to start.

I’d implore all small business owners to regularly visit sites such as these. Even if a small business currently has no intention or desire to target government business, smart small businesses will keep one eye on sites such as these. After all, you never know what’s screaming around the corner intent on ruining small businesses.

Small businesses determined to see the other side of this COVID-19 period must take some time to sit down and decide if they have an appetite to target potentially lucrative and life-changing government revenue streams.

For proven small businesses that want it, there’s a very, very large pool of government opportunities, and never before has small business been given so many incentives to start swimming in it.

To find out how ready your business is to partner with, and win government contracts, you can complete the free ‘are you gov-ready’ pulse check I have developed.

Once completed, you’ll be sent a report detailing your businesses strengths and weaknesses with regards to government business, as well as recommendations and quick wins to help your business get ready.

In part two, we’ll look at the most diverse and popular source of government revenue: business as usual.

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