The U.S. federal government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world--and offers great opportunities for small businesses to get a piece of that pie. There are currently at least 31,000 federal contracting opportunities listed on the government's clearinghouse website (more on that in a minute). Small business owners can feel like they're at a disadvantage when competing against larger entities for money from the government, but the government does prioritize small businesses and actually sets aside about a quarter of its contracts for small businesses.
If you want to do business directly with the U.S. government, your company needs to be registered with the Central Contractor Registration database. CCR can also be a great tool for you because it shows you how many competitors in your industry are already doing business with the government. Also useful is Supplier Connection, a shared database that connects potential subcontractors to 16 major contractors. Included are AT&T, Bank of America, Facebook, IBM, John Deere, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Kelloggs, UPS, and many others.
Government contracts going out for bid are listed on www.fbo.gov, known colloquially as "Fed Biz Opps." Besides allowing you to bid on contracts yourself, you can get clued in on contracts that larger entities might go after. That might mean opportunities to latch on as a subcontractor.