By now we’ve all heard one of the newest American complaints — all this stimulus and bailout money, but where’s mine?

Like many individuals, most businesses won’t get much government help.

But many savvy companies will find ways to make sure they benefit from the massive increase anyway.

Here are three examples of some of the opportunities and how to capture them:

1. Prepare yourself for government contracting opportunities.

The first step to selling yourself to the government is to get a GSA Schedule, a sort of certification from the federal government that makes it easier to get business from federal agencies. As I told my nephew, a GSA Schedule is a pain to get, sort of like applying for an important job, or filling out a college application; but a real advantage once you have it.

It establishes the competitiveness of your price structure and your qualifications to perform federal contracts. It is a shortcut through the procurement maze and lets you deal with government people who can focus on the task at hand. Your prices for activities and services are clear, agreed upon and standard. Negotiations take place within a clear context. As an added bonus, many states use GSA Schedules as well.

2. Renewable energy and energy conservation can save money, stabilize energy costs and open new business lines.

While the incentives are a nice extra and can help stem initial costs, in the end, it is the value of the kilowatt-hours not purchased from your utility and the value of those sold back to the grid that will provide value to your business for many years to come.

3. Old skills can do new jobs.

Installing energy efficient water heaters in low-income housing may not be quite the same as building hot tubs in luxury condos, but the skills are similar, and the plumber who made a living doing the one thing can make a living doing the other. As an added bonus, the plumber may often be working for private owners or associations, who generally are the beneficiaries of public grants, and who may one day have reason to hire this plumber for other projects or privately financed jobs.

Photo by slonecker/katagaci.

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