With nearly $4 trillion to spend, the U.S. government offers great opportunities for small businesses looking for new streams of revenue.
Paul Karch, president of SelltoGovernment.com, which helps small businesses earn government contracts, said even though the federal government's buying season doesn't start until July, the application process is a lengthy one so now is the time for small businesses to start laying a foundation.
"If you're not planning now, you're not selling," Karch said.
Karch outlines several steps small businesses should start taking this month in order to land a government contract later this year:
- Get registered with the System of Award Management (SAM), which isthe primary database of vendors doing business with the federal government. According to the Small Business Administration, Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) require all prospective vendors to be registered in SAM before the award of a contract, basic agreement, basic ordering agreement, or blanket purchase agreement.
- Find the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codesfor what you want to sell at www.naics.com/search.htm. The code classifies the economic sector, industry and country of a business.
- Find out what the government wants and think about how you can modify your company's product or service to meet the government’s needs.
- Get your infrastructure in place,so when you are awarded a government contract you are able to fulfill it. Small businesses don't want to overpromise and then under-deliver.
Knowing the government doesn't move at a breakneck speed, Karch advises small business owners to be prepared for an extensive process and not expect immediate results.
"You have to be in it for the long haul," Karch said. "If you're not, don't do it."
The Small Business Administration also recommends that businesses interested in securing a government contract obtain a free a Dun & Bradstreet DUNS Number, which is a unique 9-digit identification number for each physical location of a business, as well as an Open Ratings Inc. Past Performance Evaluation. These evaluations are an independent audit of customer references and calculate a rating based upon a statistical analysis of performance data and survey responses.
In addition to an NAICS code and DUNS number, small businesses applying for a government contract will need their Federal Tax Identification Number, Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes, product service codes and Federal Supply Classification codes.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.