Small businesses make a huge part of the U.S economy employing more than half of the country’s working population but despite this, small businesses still struggle with getting jobs actually working for the country through government contracts. It is said that 23% of the $500 billion in contract deals the U.S generates are expected to go to small businesses but securing one is pretty tough considering that the qualifications are pretty high and exclusive. For those who maybe interested in securing any of these contracts for their business, here are steps you should take to qualify for receiving one.
It may be surprising to know that the government has its own definition of what constitutes as a small business that might be different from what you thought it was. On top of this, factors such as the industry your business works in can also affect your small business status as well as it varies per industry. In order to find out where your small business stands, you’ll need to research what status your small business falls under by looking up and selecting a North American Industry Classification code from the NAICS chart which lists all the industries all businesses in the country operate under and searching for that same code in the Table of Small Business size standards which has the number of employees or gross profits that can determine the status of your business.
DUN & Bradsheet
A DUN& Bradsheet number, for those that don’t know, is a 9 digit number that is individually created and assigned to physical location of all of your businesses for those that have more than one location. All businesses must have one in all of their branches if they want to register their business to the government. The number can be recorded for free if a business owner uses the D-U-N-S request service in order to receive a contract or grant.
Your business would next have to register with the System for Award Management (SAM) which can also be used as a tool for the government agencies to find your business because it conveniently list the size, location, experience and other important information about your business. After you’ve filled your business’s profile you can be entered in the Dynamic Small Business Search(DSBS) database which is where contracting officers will find small businesses for any contracting needs they have.
At this point you’ve already dealt with the hard part but the next step is still not going to be a walk in the park. When it comes to actually finding contracts there are different places you can search online to help connect you with a contractor. One website ,Sub-Net, has a list of government contractors who give out sub-contracting jobs as part of their contract and if you’re registered to do business with the government you can take advantage of this opportunity. GSA schedules are databases that list government contracts for goods and services. Small businesses can use the vendor toolbox in the database to complete the process.
Lastly the government can help your business get more acquainted with the process through mentor-ship programs two of which are the GSA mentor-protégé program and the SBA 8 (a) program. Both programs connect small businesses with experienced professionals who can provide assistance as you begin the process of working for your biggest client, the U.S government.