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How to do 8(a) Federal Market Research

I get asked about 8(a) post award marketing and what kinds of tools are available to an 8(a) firm. So today I have listed a number of free sources that 8(a) firms can have great success with, if utilized properly. Remember that the federal government spends over $30B with 8(a) firms annually so there are a multitude of avenues that 8(a) firms take to get from point A-B-C. Here are what I believe to be some helpful suggestions.

FBO.gov
Many people are under the presumption that waiting for opportunities to appear on fbo.gov is a place to go in searching for federal opportunities, however, if one would look right now, they would find that there are approximately 250 open opportunities; approximately 1,200-1,400 8(a) procurements pass through fbo.gov per year; with approximately 6,400 8(a) firms

GSA Forecasting Tool
I like this tool and think it is great for anyone looking for janitorial and maintenance contracts and additionally there are also complex cloud computing contracts included in this forecast. http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/101163 currently there are 2,640 opportunities. The nice thing about this tool is it gives you the point of contact within that agency as well as the OSBU Technical Advisor (Office of Small Business Utilization). Even if you miss an opportunity in your area you know who to make your rounds with in the future.

USA Spending / FPDS
These are two federal web portholes that give an 8(a) firm the ability to look at past contract awards in order to do future forecasting. The key here is looking at what contracts were awarded in the past 1-5 years as often those contracts will be renewed again with another 8(a) firm and the prior 8(a) firm in many cases will have graduated.

https://www.fpds.gov/fpdsng_cms/index.php/en/
https://www.usaspending.gov/Pages/Default.aspx

Small Business Dynamic Data Search
This website allows you to find other 8(a) firms in your area, same industry, and to view how long they have been in the 8(a) program. An 8(a) firm in its 9th year maybe highly interested in continuing some of its existing contract by means of joint venturing with a new 8(a) firm. If used in conjunction with USA Spending the new 8(a) firm can see the number of Federal contracts the prior 8(a) firm had as obviously partnering with a more successful 8(a) is probably the new 8(a)’s best course of action.