About Us Blog Podcast Library Daily LinkedIn Live Training Free GovCon Newsletter Member Login

PTACs | They'll Guide You to Success in Government Contracting in 2019

success tips Jan 24, 2019

Is the Gigantic Federal Government Marketplace Right for Your Business?

 In FY2018, Small Business federal contracts totalled to $482 Billion. However, this exciting marketplace operates with its own unique rules, regulations and language. Fortunately, there are Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) available.

In 2017, PTACs served over 48,000 clients and helped them over $20 billion in government contracts and subcontracts. 

  • *UPDATE:  Ms. Anna Urman has moved on from Virginia PTAP and is currently a Senior Procurement Analyst with U.S. Department of State (Jan2018)


PTAC counselors bring practical experience in government acquisition and are constantly creating new opportunities, especially for minority-owned, veteran and women-owned businesses.

Many are strong advocates for strengthening the economic bonds and financial potential of Historically Under-utilized Business Zones (HUBZones)

PTACs are the local bridge between buyer and supplier, matching government contracting needs with the capabilities of contractors. Find your PTAC here 

What is the Key to Success?

In a recent HUBZone Chamber survey of PTACs, the loudest advice was “Please follow the advice of your PTAC counselor”.

They are experienced professionals who have extensive training and expertise. If they invest their time and energy to help you create a personalized roadmap and action plan, it is important that you follow it exactly. 

And stay in contact with your counselor to let them now how your plan is progressing.

If you encounter problems, they might be able to remove some obstacles and when you succeed, they definitely want to celebrate with you. Your success is their success and there is plenty to go around!


When you are exploring government contracting or just getting started, PTACs offer basic assistance. They can help you honestly assess whether the federal marketplace is a good match for your business. Although the revenue potential is significant, its important to realize is not for everyone. Is your business at a mature enough stage to tackle the requirements?

The ‘rules of the game’ can be confusing, but PTACs can translate the ‘government speak’ of the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) into layman language. 

When you are ready, they can help you register in SAM.gov (System for Award Management), verify your profile in the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database, identify your primary NAICS codes and clear up any initial obstacles.

Then you will be ready next step: Outreach.

PTAC networking events and Industry Days are opportunities to meet fellow business owners, potential teaming partners and even local, state and federal agency representatives.


What might your initial contracting preparation phase include? 

PTACs provide ongoing day-to-day assistance both in preparation and engagement.

  • Business plan review
  • Strategic goals and objectives
  • Personalized roadmap
  • Eligibility review for federal socio-economic certifications
  • Identifying various government & industry stakeholders

Once you are ready to pursue actual opportunities, your counselor can help you conduct market research to learn which government agencies purchase your products or services and what prime & subcontracting opportunities are available

They can guide you through important contracting fundamentals, help you prepare bids and proposals including locating military and other government specifications and drawings if necessary. Most importantly, they can help you solve pre-award & post-award administration issues.


Your own preparation determines how well a PTAC counselor can help you. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What type of customer needs your product or service?
  • What problem can you solve?
  • How does your company compare to your competition?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses? Your core competencies?
  • Do you have experience or past performance anywhere?



  • Commit to doing your homework well, so you can target prospective clients and teaming partners with the best fit
  • Commit to rigorous project management principles to manage the demands of estimating, costs and cash flow, tracking every detail of every project
  • Learn to accept the inevitable bureaucracy, both as the source of frustration and profitability
  • Invest in your PTAC relationship and it will grow over time. 

The world of government contracting can be a slow process. It frequently takes months (sometimes years) not weeks and months before winning meaningful contracts.

It's also important not to rely on a third-party to file your paperwork.  As Neil McDonnell often says, “Government contracting is NOT a Secret... it’s just a Process.” . No one knows your business better than you, so wade through it yourself and learn as you go along!

Patience and commitment is the key to success and as they say, ‘Don’t give up the day job’.

It is important to maintain multiple revenue streams to sustain your business, and not just in the event of unpredictable government shutdowns.

LEARN MORE | Meet the Experts 

For his fifth "Meet the Experts" Video Panel, Neil McDonnell assembled 4 Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) experts from Washington state, Virginia, Idaho and Oklahoma together in candid conversation. (2018)  See what tips they have for you!


Let us know about your experience !

For more information about the HUBZone Chamber of Commerce, please contact Neil McDonnell

NOTE • In 2022, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers changed their name to 'APEX Accelerators'


99% of the way there.

Stay Informed

Watch your email for the confirmation of this subscription as well as our weekly GovCon Chamber Newsletter.