If you want to sell to the federal government, you’ve got to first be on the GSA (General Services Administration) schedule…true or false?
Most would say “true”. Most would be wrong.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being on the GSA schedule; it’s just not required to make government sales and win government contracts. This is a good thing. Getting listed on the GSA contract schedule is time-consuming and expensive.
Now, don’t get us wrong. To be successful, you’ve got to figure out how to make it as easy as possible for federal customers to buy from you. Being on the GSA schedule certainly is one approach. But, there are other buying schedules that work just as well…some of them better, depending on what you’re selling. (Many state and local governments don’t use the GSA schedule.)
There is another route – partnering with someone who’s already on the GSA schedule (or another appropriate contract). You won’t get off scott-free. You’ll likely pay the partner a portion of the sale. And, you’ll still need to follow the rules of the contract and the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation).
Yes, plan on getting on the right contracts…but, don’t consider getting on GSA or other contracts as your federal contracting strategy. You won’t make these arrangements, then see orders magically come in. You’ve still got to make your value propositions to the right people at the right time. The contracts should be only one element of the strategy.