Small Business Administration Certifications
A Small Business Administration certification is a great way for your business to stand out in the marketplace. Certifications can help you gain access to specialized funding and scholarships, allow you to compete for set-aside contracts, and can be a great bonus to potential clients. Here are some certifications to consider for your small business:
- Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (WOSBs)
- 8(a) Business Development Program
- The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Procurement Program(SDVOSB)
- Historically Underutilized Business Zone Program (HUBZone)
The Federal Government Offers Great Opportunities For Many Types Of Businesses
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. They are often key sources of innovation and research. The mom-and-pop shop has been part of the landscape and American dream since the beginning of this great nation. The federal government can help you achieve your business dreams. Let us help you take this vital first step on the pathway to success.
Help is available from special small business programs that encourage participation by small businesses and help these businesses navigate the government contracting maze This includes small businesses owned by minority and traditionally disadvantaged groups. These programs, which are administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), assist small businesses on how to obtain both large business and government procurements.
Sometimes the hardest step is getting your foot in the door. Networking is extremely important when trying to secure government contracts. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great resource and hosts many events throughout the year. These events are usuallyat no cost to business owners and can offer a treasure trove of information about how to obtain contracts from various agencies.
This is your opportunity to shine so make sure you are prepared to present an elevator pitch to better define your company. This is a speech that explains what your business has to offer and how you can help another organization meet its goals. It should be short and simple, no longer than a 30-second elevator ride.
Make Sure You Are Organized
Having solid financial records and a clear thought-out process goes a long way to impress government agencies that you can handle the job. It presents a professional demeanor that is quite impressive.
The Key To Winning A Government Contract Is To Pay Attention To Guidelines
You must read closely what the request for proposals or RFPs wants in your bid. Make sure that you are aware of deadlines and who is handling the requests. Usually, small businesses have 6 to 8 weeks to submit a bid but this can vary, depending on the agency.
Make Use Of Government-Provided Free Tools.
You can identify contracting opportunities online by utilizing tools such as this forecasting tool that lets you see what opportunities are available. You can study the government contracts that are a couple of years old to see what requirements are needed to win the job. This puts you in an excellent position to have all your research completed when the contract is about to expire and you put in your proposal.
Do Your Research
Once you have selected some agencies that require your goods and services, it is very important to research your customers. Luckily, nowadays you can find out a lot about an organization online.
At the end of the day, the United States government is a customer just like any other. However, this customer has deep pockets and unlimited needs. A small business can cater to the government by following a strategy in which the customer’s needs always come first. Identify what the government agency’s pain points are and then offer them your innovative solutions to their problems. This type of discipline always wins big points with the government. Here are a couple of examples of how you can find the information you need to usually at win lucrative government contracts:
- Inquire about the vendor Outreach Sessions and when will they be held
- Inquire how your company’s products/services could help with the agency’s missions
- Request meetings with Agency Program managers leading the contract requirements you’re pursuing
If you would like to do additional research, you can also check www.fbo.gov, an online listing of government contracts that detail all contracts with a value exceeding $25,000. Another available resource is www.usaspending.gov, a site that details how government money is spent, what agency is issuing awards, and who the federal government is buying from.
The Capability Statement
Capability statements are essential marketing tools. These written documents state your firm’s abilities clearly and compactly. This should include a company overview, past performance, and how you can fill a need for the agency. To stand out from other businesses, be sure to tailor your statement to specifically match the project and/or agency needs.
SAM stands for System Award Management.
To do any business with the federal government, you must register your business in the System for Award Management. The government will not hire any type of business that has not registered in the SAM directory.
How Do You Get Started Working With The Government?
For example, the following are the steps to apply for a federal grant:
- Step 1: Obtain a DUNS Number
- Step 2: Register with SAM
- Step 3: Register with Grants.gov
You might be wondering what SAM means and how do you register with the site. Go to sam. directory to find people who are willing to make this as easy as possible. Be sure to also check out our informative article Everything A Small Business Needs to Know About the SAM Directory, which should easily answer most of your questions.
Make Sure You Get A CAGE Code (Commercial and Government Entity)
This code is five characters and unique to your business. It’s your ID code, and government agencies will identify your business using this code. It is a bit like a social security number for your business. If your business includes more than one facility, then you will need multiple CAGE codes. Each location must have its unique code, and each location must be registered separately with SAM.