Learning how to get business contracts is essential to a business's survival. When small businesses get clients that pay well for their products and services and are repeat buyers, it can strengthen the business and keep it running. 

While landing a big contract to make you a supplier for a large Fortune 500 company can be a dream come true, obtaining those orders and contracts can require a lot of work. Both male- and female-owned small businesses have seen a sharp jump in revenue within two years or less after adding a significantly large company to their clientele.

What's great news is that larger companies in the United States are looking to make more purchases and increase their overall business interaction with small businesses, including those owned by women, minorities, and veterans. Starting in 2012, major corporations like Walmart, Macy's, IBM, and many others have made public announcements that they intend to spend more dollars with small businesses.

Tips for Landing Those Big Contracts

While landing those large contracts for the first time can be a long road for small businesses, it is definitely worth the effort. Some tips small businesses should remember when working on supplier contracts with larger corporations are:

  • Do you research before you approach a larger corporation:  While there only 18,000 companies in the United States that employ more than 500 employees, they generate almost 60 percent of all American companies' revenue. These corporations can be difficult to approach and even harder to get in with, so it is important for you to know the ins and outs of the company and what you can offer before you set up an appointment.
  • Don't expect a contract on your first try:  Many large corporations will open their doors for small businesses to bid on contracts but don't get discouraged if you don't get a contract on the first try. It will often take repeated attempts to convince the corporation that you understand its needs and culture and can bring value.
  • Let them know why your company is special: There are many companies that will vie for a corporation's contracts or business. So to set yourself apart from the pack you will need to let the decision-makers know what makes you or your company unique or special and how that can benefit their business.
  • Don't make promises you can't keep: While businesses want you to tell them how you can benefit their company, they expect you to deliver on your promises. If you are not sure if you can accomplish something, do not mention or propose it. You never want to overpromise and underdeliver.
  • Consider teaming up with a pro for the first go-round - Large corporations like the stability that working with another large company can provide. To give yourself a little more weight when pitching your business, consider teaming up with a larger company that can help you get in the door and show the corporation that you are reliable and dependable. After you deliver on the first contract, the corporation may trust your company with a contract of your own.
  • Obtain any certifications the corporation may be looking for: Many corporations require bidding companies to have certifications linked to the specific goods or services. Having these certifications will not only help you check the boxes when bidding, but also give you additional expertise in your particular business area.
  • Start with local companies: Start your search for that large client close to home. Some larger companies like having local suppliers because it allows them to be more available and provides them with more control over the contract. Additionally, some large corporations would prefer to throw their support behind local small businesses as a way to give back to their local communities.
  • Create your own personal brand: A successful branding strategy can help your business stand out while providing an air of credibility and establishing a more professional vibe. Also, having a consistent look and brand may help a corporation keep you in mind longer and may help you stand out from other businesses.

If you need help with how to get business contracts, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.