The World’s Largest Customer

Ever wish you could just find the world’s largest customer? This customer would be so large they buy nearly everything produced on a massive scale. They would buy 24 hours per day, have a nearly endless buying limit, need what you sell, can pay within 7 days (mandated by law to pay within 30 days), and can pay in advance! Wouldn’t this be the ultimate customer?

Well today is a great day for you because I am about to introduce you to the world’s largest customer. Not only do they do all of the above but they are actively looking for you, especially if you are a small business, woman, minority, service disabled, Native American, or a whole host of other categories they find attractive.

Drum roll please, that customer is… The United States Government! You read that right; the U.S. Government is the world’s largest customer. They buy nearly everything that is produced in the U.S. and other places and buys 24 hours per day! In fact, the U.S. Government is spending over $8 Billion per day; yes you read that right, per day!!!!

While our elected officials argue and wrangle over how to get this under control, they still need supplies so why not supply them? I know what some of you may be thinking, they are a pain to deal with, you never get your money, etc. The reality is that most of this is just not true; you just need to know a few rules, stay within them and have a great life.

You see, our government cannot function without all of the items that we produce (and you can supply). Just like you and I need certain things, they do too. Whether its filing cabinets and office supplies, hardware, software, military items, socks, underwear, furniture, fuel oil, vehicles, food, paper towels, chains, engines, and so much more, they need them. The best part is they are looking for you.

You may also be thinking why don’t they just go to Home Depot and buy from them or any other giant company? They do and they don’t. Seems like a silly answer but they also want to help small businesses become bigger businesses. Why would they do that? Because the more businesses that are successful the more opportunities there are for jobs. The more jobs the more people spend, the more they spend the more taxes they collect and the cycle starts all over again.

If the government only went to large businesses it wouldn’t be long before most of the smaller businesses would be out of business. When that happens innovation stops and we would quickly fall behind other countries and be facing some things that you and I would rather not face.

To that end the government actively seeks out smaller businesses and startups. In fact, there are parts of the government that will actually fund (put up the money), your startup. They need new products and cutting edge technology and will help you if you have the items they are looking for and can create the products they need.

The government actively seeks out small businesses because they are mandated to give a certain percentage of their orders to small businesses. The amounts may change but they were something like, 3% to Service Disabled Veteran Owned, 5% to Woman Owned, 8% to Minority Owned and a whopping 28% to Native American Owned. They also look for HUBZone businesses.

What’s a HUBZone? It stands for Historically Underutilized Business Zone. This could be a poorer area in a city; it could be a rural area that has high unemployment. If your business is in one of these zones, you can get certified by the Small Business Administration as a HUBZone business. This does not guarantee that you will win business for any of the certifications listed above. However, it will add to your attractiveness and help those making a decision to go in your favor.

What about price? Everyone believes the government only buys the lowest price but this isn’t true. They buy the best “value.” You may be a bit higher in price than your competitor but you may have a faster delivery and they need it. You may have a better product and that justifies the higher price or a whole list of other reasons they could buy from you.

The government also allows, in certain circumstances for a “price differential” from a smaller company. What does this mean? The government knows there is no way that you, being a small business is going to compete with a giant company like Staples for office supplies. They take this into account and allow up to a 10% price differential. Meaning that you can be 10% higher and still win the business because you are a small business. This doesn’t happen with everything but it does happen. customized socks with logo

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