Are Small Business Advocates Helpful? Probably Not

The federal government has hundreds of "advocates" such as small business advocates, women-owned business advocates, and small disadvantaged business advocates. The list is endless. From a political standpoint, such advocates are worthwhile. But companies should not expect these individuals to help them win federal business. Their job is to advocate the use of small businesses in federal contracting in general or to show to the world that federal agencies truly care about small businesses. Although the federal government does care about small businesses on a global level, it cannot be expected to care at an individual business or individual contract level. Small business advocates hold conferences, direct people to registration databases, and promote small business participation through federal agency web sites. They are not direct channels to contracts and shouldn't be considered a real sales resource.

Ask a small business advocate to introduce you to an end user with money to spend and you are likely to be disappointed. To the extent that this does actually ever work out for you, we would love to hear about it because such occurrences are rare.  Let's presume an advocate did happen to refer you to an end user or a contracting officer. The conversation would probably go as follows:

End user: "I have a line of contractors contacting me. Please, I don't need more."

Contracting Officer: "Don't contact me. I can't effectively serve the end users as it is and I don't need any more vendor phone calls."

Companies sometimes think small business advocates will be an answer their to sales prayers and rely on them instead of investing in direct sales efforts.  Avoid this common mistake by focusing on direct sales to the decision makers. 

Fedmarket can help you get ahead in the federal marketplace. 

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Call Fedmarket's sales staff at 301 652 9504, Ext 2 if you have questions concerning these or any other products or services Fedmarket offers.

Richard White
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301 908 0546 (cell)

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