This is a story of pain, suffering, persistence, and ultimately…SUCCESS…well, of a sort!
Last July, I decided that I wanted to sell my training and professional development, and my business coaching services to the U.S. Government. The Government is supposed to have all this money, right? So why shouldn’t I try to help train their people, and profit in the exchange?
First off, to sell “ANYTHING” to our Government, you have to submit what’s called a solicitation (kind of like a proposal.) There are soliitations for hundreds if not thousands of products & services. In order to sell to the Government, you FIRST need to have certain things. You have t have been in operation as a business for 24 months. You need to be able to report two years’ worth of financial performance for your business.
You also have to have your business registered with your state and have a taxpayer identification number. Next up, you also need a Dun & Bradstreet DUNS number (no worries, that’s FREE.) Go to https://www.dnb.com.
So, it takes me MONTHS to get through the process of completing ALL of the written documents (imagine pulling your lower lip over the back of your head) struggling the entire way. There is no one to walk you through the process. You have to read the hundreds of pages worth of instructions yourself. There are no Cliff Notes or little yellow book: “Selling to the U.S. Government For Dummies.”
After sbmitting my 25-page application last July, I received a rejection letter indicating the MANY areas that I incorrectly answered or failed to provide and information on.
So, being a glutton for punishment, I go back and rewrite the entire document (now approximately 50 pages LONG) and send it certified mail to the corrct GSA contract administrator in early July, 2010. Somehow, the document gets LOST on their end. I am informed that it really doesn’t matter that they lost it, since as of July, 2010 all solicitations can only be submitted ONLINE.
About to give up, I get a call a few weeks ago from my GSA contractor that he has located my solicitation (sitting on a fellow staffer’s desk). My GSA guy Joe (his real name) reviewed it, and gave me invaluable insights into additional areas I needed to fix. If not for Joe, I’d be DEAD!
I spend nearly a month completing it then save the document (now @ 100 pages)as a PDF then go to the website (https://eoffer.gsa.gov) to upload it. Turns out in order to send anything to the Government electronically, you need a digital certificate to authenticate who you are. So, I now have to pay $200 for the certificate, but in for a penny, in for a pound (of flesh!)
I get this electronic digital certificate a few weeks later, save all the documents then I go back to the website and hit another wall. For some reason they have me attempting to file the wrong solicitation – it’s not for the right services I want to sell. After a half day calling their “HOTLINE” where I speak with a moron “Service Rep” who accuses ME of not following directions since they cannot answer my questions, I get a Supervisor that actually DOES know what she’s doing. I finally get all my issues resolved.
So, as of 12:55PM Eastern standard time on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 I have now officially submitted a request to sell my services to the Government.
I even received an emal confirmation!
Can a rejection notification be FAR behind? STAY TUNED…