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Sunday, December 17, 2006

REGISTERING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS FOR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING

Link to Ken Larson Counselor Profile at SCORE:


Key Words: "Federal Government Contracting"

this is Ken's profile

IMPORTANT NOTICE AND UPDATE: (7/12/2012)

The System for Award Management (SAM) to Streamline Government Contracting Process
In an effort to improve the federal government contracting process for small business owners, the System for Award Management (SAM) was created. Phase 1 of SAM services combines several procurement systems - including the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), Federal Agency Registration (FedReg) and the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) - into one, easy-to-use website.

SAM, which was scheduled to launch on May 29, 2012 has been postponed.  The new launch date will be July 29, 2012.  SAM will serve as a government-contracting portal and enable small business owners to register to do business with the federal government, and represent/self-certify as a small business all in one place. This streamlined, integrated approach will eliminate data redundancies, improve capabilities of the government-contracting workforce and save taxpayers money by reducing costs. SAM will be managed by the General Service Administration (GSA). If you or your customers require any assistance (troubleshooting, data concerns, general information, etc.) with SAM contact the Federal Service Desk at fsd.gov or by telephone at 1-866-606-8220.

For more information, please visit SAM.gov.




INTRODUCTION

You have worked hard establishing your small business in the commercial market; or you have succeeded in your profession working for large enterprises. You have established yourself and you are recognized as a success by your superiors, your peers and your subordinates. Someone or something one day attracts your attention with the suggestion that the federal government may be in the market for your skills, products or services. This article will address the path to expanding your existing business or initially undertaking a business involving federal government contracts.

There are not many products or services that the federal government does not buy and it buys them on a large scale. In the year 2005 the federal government purchased $314 billion worth of goods and services from businesses large and small. Small businesses received a record-breaking $79.6 billion in federal prime contracts, exceeding the statutory goal of 23 percent of the total government buys according to the Federal Procurement Data System and the SBA.  This article is the first in a series of papers addressing the exploration of the federal marketplace for small business.

II. GETTING STARTED

The best way to explore federal government contracting possibilities is to expand your business plan to include a sector for that type of business or develop your start up plan including a federal government business sector. Doing business with the Federal Government is not "Rocket Science" but it is different. It embodies a set of regulations entitled, "The Federal Acquisition Regulation" or FAR, which contain the rules by which the government and industry abide in contracting for supplies and services. The FAR had its genesis during World War II and has evolved since that time to control and regulate the ever-expanding amounts of goods and services which the federal government buys.

The following are the most important "Mechanical Steps" necessary in positioning your business to begin selling to the federal government. They are listed in the necessary sequence for becoming a supplier entity in the government system. A link to appropriate web sites is provided at each step.

A. Dunn &Bradstreet (D&B) Number Go to Small Business Tab At:

http://www.dnb.com/us/

If you do not have one a D&B Number is necessary before you can complete a Central Contractor Registration (CCR) which is required for all companies who aspire to sell to the federal government. A D&B Number is also required for your Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) application if you intend to pursue minority- owned business certification. If you are not already incorporated you may wish to incorporate before you set up your D&B number. Incorporation is fairly inexpensive these days and can be done via the WEB for either a non-profit or a for-profit business. Try search mechanisms, such as "Incorporate.com", or "Incorporate Now". It is best to do a check with the Better Business Bureau before using the results. Establishing your D&B is free.

B. For Central Contractor Registration:



C. For application in the SBA Small, Disadvantaged Business (SDB) Program:

http://sba8a.symplicity.com/applicants/guide

If you qualify as a minority, follow the directions closely. Note there is a preview section which will acquaint you with the application and the types of information that will be necessary when you start the process.

D. For Historically Under-Utilized Business (HUB) Zone Information:

http://map.sba.gov/hubzone/init.asp#address

Note that Hub Zone qualification is based on where the business is located and where the personnel in the business reside as well.

E. For Searches on Federal Buys:

http://www.fedbizopps.gov/

FEDBIZOPS is the gateway for all federal business. The search tool there is a very powerful engine with many filters that are useful. It is well worth the time to learn the filters. Every federal agency is required by regulation to advertise there and you will be amazed at the products and services the federal government buys.

F. For an example of a small business capability statement check the following web site:

http://www.smalltofeds.blogspot.com/2007/01/seven-management-techniques-to-assist.html


A capability statement is always a good idea for marketing. The link above as an example. It was found on the web in the public domain Note that the site is a SDB. Later you will get into proposal preparation and the regulations governing the types of grants and contracts, as well as billing the government for your work and other factors.

G. Questions for you:

Are you planning to produce a deliverable, distinct, end product such as software, hardware, a commodity, a report, a conference, a survey or a study, sell it to meet the government's statement of work and bill for the end product when delivered?

OR

Are you planning to price your services at an hourly rate, sell them by labor categories with professional job descriptions to perform the government's statement of work and bill by the hour for labor and at cost for material and travel?

Answers to the above questions are key factors in how you set up your business and price your work in proposals to federal agencies. The answer to the above questions is "Yes" in both cases for some businesses. Some small businesses sell their product commercially, but contract for product implementation and support on a service contract basis.
The next topic in this series of articles will deal with avenues for marketing a small small business in the federal government environment.

3 comments:

Pro Office Services said...

very informative.. and I appreciate your post on my site - I believe a client needs all their information first and to do it themselves rather than waste money on a consultant. Yes, I am a consultant and do all these things to register a company with the federal government, however, I am not out to get rich quick. My clients are loyal to me because I give them this info free first. THEN if they don't have time or the inclination to do it... they will call me. If anyone has any questions this site is very good, and of course they can always contact me at contact@pos-ny.com or visit my website at www.proofficeservices.net
Thanks again for the information and your post will remain on my site.

Anonymous said...

A lot of good information, Ken. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through your articles and various blogs. You also might want to suggest that veteran and service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses register in VA's Vendor Information Pages (VIP). Although, this site is not mandatory in order to do business with the Federal government, it is a helpful database for government buyers when they are looking for veteran businesses (and VA MUST use this site). This database lists businesses that are 51% or more owned by veterans or service-connected disabled veterans. It is used to promote and market Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVOSBs). This database is the number one source for Federal agencies looking for SDVOSB's to comply with Executive Order 13360 (97KB PDF) . The Vendor Information Pages (VIP) database averages over 4500 visits per month accounting for over 4100 vendor searches by Federal agencies, prime contractors and private citizens. This database is also the sole source for all inquiries for market research requested through The Center for Veterans Enterprise(CVE) and The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The website is: www.vip.vetbiz.gov/

Carlene S. Bowman
President, FEDcon Consulting Associates, LLC
carlenefedcon@cox.net
www.fedconconsultingsite.com/index.html

Anonymous said...

Hello from Alaska...this is Moe...

Moe's Shop Logging
Forestry/Felling/Firewood
www.moesshop.com

I was a previous contractor in WA and I found the SCORE program a life line to information otherwise paid for and not up to date with laws and regulations to ensure prompt payment.

I was directed personally by the founder to access information.

This site is fast and efficient.

Thank you very much,

Elizabeth Moe
Owner/Operator
Moe's Shop