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Did you know that the Federal Government is the largest purchaser of products and services in the world? In fact, not only do they purchase anything imaginable, but their purchases total more than $425 billion per year! As good as this sound, the process of doing business with the government can seem daunting at best, for both new and established business owners. It’s a process worth considering because the rewards for the growth of your business can be significant.
Have YOU positioned your business to become a contractor to the Federal Government?
The government encourages small businesses to bid on contracts for some of these needs. In fact, Federal agencies are required to establish contracting goals, with at least 23 percent of all government buying targeted to small firms. Before you can do business with the Federal Government, here are 5 Important Steps to Position Your Business for Federal Contracting!
Important Step #1: Apply for your SIC and NAICS Codes
An important step in establishing your company to do business with the Federal Government is to apply for your Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes. These codes identify a firm’s primary business activity.
NAICS codes provide a greater level of detail about a firm’s activity than SIC codes. NAICS includes 1,170 industries and SIC includes 1,004 industries. There are 358 new industries recognized in NAICS, 250 of which are services producing industries.
Why is this important to a small business?
These codes were created to establish a standard for classifying business establishments.
- To find your NCAIS Code, go to http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/
- To find your SIC Code, go to http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/sic_manual.html
- For more questions about SIC and NAICS Codes, Ask Dr. NAICS, click here.
Important Step #2: Visit the Small Business Administration (SBA)
The purpose of your visit to the SBA site is todetermine whether your business falls within the established table of small business size standards matched to NAICS industries. You may be very surprised just how big a company can be and still be considered “small” in the eyes of the federal government. SBA states that a size standard is usually stated in number of employees or average annual receipts. For example, a manufacturing company can have 500 employees and $7 million in average annual receipts for most nonmanufacturing industries to qualify. For more information, go to http://www.sba.gov/contractingopportunities/officials/size/summaryofssi/index.html
Important Step #3: Obtain a DUNS number
Before you start bidding on Federal proposals, you are required to obtain a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number. The DUNS number is a nine-digit identification number which uniquely identifies business entities. Obtaining a DUNS number is very easy and there is no charge to apply.
In a recent post on my Linkedin group page, a member asked if it was important for a business to have a DUNS number. My answer, YES!
Why a DUNS?
- It gives your business credibility in the marketplace
- Potential customers, lenders and suppliers can easily identify and learn about your business
In addition, it is important for small businesses to know that you might get a slough of telemarketers calling you to up sell additional services, but it is not necessary as applying for your DUNS number is FREE! For more information or to register for your DUNS number, click here.
Important Step #4: Register in the Central Contractor Registration System
Any business, large or small, who wants to contract with the federal government under a Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) based contract, must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), before being awarded a contract. The CCR is a Web-enabled government wide application that collects, validates stores and disseminates business information about the federal government’s trading partners in support of the contract award, grants and the electronic payment processes. For more information or to register, go to https://www.bpn.gov/ccr/default.aspx
As a new CCR user, you must have the following information established before registering:
- DUNS Number
- Tax Identification Number (TIN) and Taxpayer Name
- Statistical Information about your business
- Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Information
Important Step #5: Start Searching for Federal Procurement Opportunities
The Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) is a government database where buyers publicize business opportunities and vendors seeking federal markets for products and services can search, monitor, and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire federal contracting community via FedBizOpps. This search database has more than 29,500 active federal opportunities. Any project that exceeds $25,000 is posted on FedBizOpps. For more information or to register for FedBizOpps database, go to https://www.fbo.gov/
In conclusion, as you can tell, just getting started requires a lot of leg work. While this is true, there are a lot of resources available to guide you through the process. An invaluable resource that I suggest to all of my clients seeking federal procurement opportunities is to take advantage of the SBA’s FREE online training course “Recovery Act Opportunities: How to Win Federal Contracts.” The course is comprehensive and includes numerous resources to help you understand the process of getting involved in the federal government’s contracting process. Start here, http://www.sba.gov/fedcontractingtraining/
Subscribe today to get your ‘Hot off the Press’ articles at Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneurs, Article’s 2 and 3.
In Article 2: How to Obtain Federal SBA 8(a)/SDB or HUBZone Certification
- Are you a small business and want to understand the Federal 8(a), SDB or HUB Zone certification process?
- Want to learn how your federal 8A/SDB or Hubzone certification can help to grow your business.
- And more!
In Article 3: Women-Owned Business Certification
- Want to know the advantages of being a certified woman-owned business and how to “use” the certification once obtained?
- Want to meet face to face with major corporations who want to do business with WBE’s.
- And more!