Written by JULIANNE GEIGER
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
GUAM - Small businesses interested in federal contracting have a few obstacles to overcome. Sometimes it's difficult to know where to start or to understand federal rules. But with a little knowledge and ingenuity, small businesses on Guam can bid more easily and successfully for federal contracts. In this installment of Federal Contracting 101, GuamBuildupNews.com discusses how the Freedom of Information Act can help with writing a winning proposal.
Volume 11: FOIA Assists Small Businesses with Proposal Writing
Writing a winning proposal for a federal contract can seem an insurmountable task for small businesses. Contract proposal writing takes patience and dedication, and proposals are often quite lengthy. Writing a good proposal also calls for small businesses to know exactly what the government is looking for. The good news is that small businesses do not have to start from scratch.
Small businesses can find assistance with writing proposals from Guam PTAC, the Small Business Administration (SBA), major prime contractors looking for subcontractors, and joint ventures looking for partners. In addition to this assistance provided by government agencies and other contractors, small businesses can find help from other contractors' winning proposals through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
With few restrictions, the FOIA states that any person has the right to request access to federal agency information or records. Upon receiving a written request, government agencies are required to disclose records provided they do not fall under standard exclusions, such as classified information.
Small businesses that wish to enter the federal contract market for the first time can obtain a copy of other winning contracts via the FOIA simply by submitting a written request to the appropriate agency.
Although there is usually a fee involved, reviewing a copy of a winning proposal can provide valuable insight as to what a winning proposal looks like, and to what the contracting officials are looking for. Proprietary information is obscured, but the proposal will include important elements such as descriptions of how a contractor addresses each issue stated in the contract and even price.
Requesting more than one winning proposal will serve as a basis for better understanding what elements should be included in a proposal, how a proposal should be structured, what to highlight in the proposal, and what to omit.
To request a copy of a winning proposal, a small business should submit a letter to the government agency that awarded the contract describing the information needed. Processing of FOIA requests can take considerable time, so it's important to plan as far ahead as possible to obtain needed materials. Additional information regarding requesting copies of contracts can be found at the Defense Contract Management Agency, which also provides contact information for inquiries.
GuamBuildupNews.com will bring you more valuable federal contract information in its continuing series, Federal Contracting 101.
Image used in this article courtesy Koratmember / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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