Editor’s note: Doña Storey, American Express OPEN Advisor on Procurement, shares the tips below on how small businesses can successfully land contracts in the fourth quarter of the federal fiscal year. Tuesday, Sept. 30 is the final day of fiscal year 2014 for the federal government.

For most of us, summer offers an opportunity to kick back and relax. But for small business contractors, the summer months are a busy time spent wrapping up before the end of the government fiscal year on September 30. In fact, Deltek reports that more than 30 percent of all government spending occurs in Q4. During the end of the fiscal year, agencies that have not met their small business and socio-economic contracting goals will be looking to find qualified small business vendors. This provides a great opportunity for small business owners to market their goods and services to the government and secure a contract before year’s end.

Here are some tips on landing federal contracts for small businesses as the end of the federal fiscal year approaches.

·         Reach out to the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization – OSDBU officials can help identify requirements within their agency that will need specific capabilities in upcoming solicitations. Many times, OSDBU can help connect small business owners to contracting officers or program managers handling those requirements.

·         Keep an eye out for “Sources Sought” notices – During Q4, agencies use sources sought to conduct market research in order to find qualified small business contractors and determine if they can set aside a requirement in upcoming competition. These notices are a great opportunity to call attention to your firm’s capabilities, even if for other future business.

·         Team up with other businesses – Partnering with another business can help increase the odds of landing a larger contract. An American Express OPEN survey found businesses that are involved in teaming have won 54 percent more prime contracts than the national average. Plan your strategy in advance so you are ready to go when solicitations have the typical short fuse during Q4.

·         Fulfill their wish lists – Visit a customer who had wanted an item or service earlier in the year, but feared they wouldn’t have the budget. This is the time that ‘sweep up’ money appears, and they may be able to make those purchases after all.

·         Make it fast and easy – Simplicity becomes especially important in Q4. If you can offer an item that can be purchased by credit card and requires little specifying in advance, you may be on your way to successfully creating new revenue streams you had not considered. One example of this kind of item would be a chair.

Small business owners should take advantage of the government’s Q4 spend and not leave free money on the table.