When you are a business owner wanting to do business with the government, it is very highly likely that you will have to bid on Requests for Proposals (RFP’s).
The best case scenario is that the client just gives you the work and doesn’t have to go out to bid via RFP. However, the fact is that most public sector entities must go out to bid over a certain dollar amount.
It’s one of the questions I get asked most frequently in my workshops — how on earth do you find the potential business opportunities? How do you make sure you don’t miss anything? How do you get a timely notification?
Before I go into the Good/Better/Best approach that will support you in this endeavor, I want to hop up on my soapbox and talk to you about targeting. If you tell me you do business with any public sector entity – states, local governments, school districts, counties, etc. – you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Understanding your target audience, knowing who you do and do not want to do business with, is going to help reduce the time and energy you spend looking for RFP’s to bid on. Please first understand your target client in order to find the right opportunities and stop wasting time looking through mounds and mounds of RFP notifications.
Click here to keep reading and learn my Good/Better/Best approach to finding RFP’s to bid on.
Good: The easiest and quickest way to get informed about public sector RFP’s is to engage an online notification service. There are several that I like, but I always recommend that you play around with different options (there’s almost always a free trial period) and find the one that suits you best.
FindRFP.com – this is a low-cost option that does a pretty good job of sending out opportunities based on keywords. Is it full-proof? No. But it will give you more than nothing.
Bidnet.com – Bidnet has a fantastic service, but it’s a higher price point than FindRFP.com. What I love about Bidnet is that they become your partner and can help obtain copies of contracts, past proposals, things like that. And working with them forces you to target to some degree. This is a more hands-on service than FindRFP.com.
FBO.gov – if you bid on federal opportunities, this is the service that you’ll want to use.
With these options, know that none of them are full-proof. You will miss some opportunities, and you’ll get late notifications on others; that’s just the way it goes. That’s why it’s not the Best or Better option.
Better: Use a service listed above, PLUS……
When you know your targeted client well, you can sign up for notifications from inside their organization. Most states, counties, local governments, and school districts have their own notification services. These don’t cost you anything, but you have to sign up by an individual entity. It can be time-consuming especially if you are throwing darts at any moving target.
Best: A combination of the first two, PLUS…….
Truly, the best way to find RFP’s is for the buyer to tell you about them; better yet, have influence over the RFP itself. Building those relationships puts you in the perfect scenario and there is simply no service that can replace those relationships. Sometimes this takes months, even years, but that is a huge part of your business development efforts and your job as a business leader.