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Monday, September 9, 2013

Doing Business with Government

Dealing with government agencies is not for all small businesses. Getting started is not easy, but if it makes sense for your business, once you get it under control the opportunities abound.

So here is an outline of where a small business should start.

If you want to do government business there are basically three choices to make and they are not mutually exclusive:

            1. Contract Directly for a specific business opportunity, and be directly responsible for all of the government requirements; 

            2. Sub Contact for a specific opportunity and be responsible for all of the “flow though” government requirements as well as those of the prime contractor;

            3. Establish a blanket ordering agreement for your product or services directly with the government. In which case you deal with the government requirement details one time and agencies simply order against this agreement.

I recommend that most small businesses start by Sub Contracting. This will allow education and support from the Prime Contractor.

Many agencies set aside certain opportunities for small business.

It is necessary to register and get a DUNS (Dun &* Bradstreet) Number. It is free.

Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) makes it necessary to register with SAM (System of Award Management) prior to a contract award. SAM is also a tool used by government agencies seeking contractors, so make this as complete as possible.

Locate the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that apply to your business. This is needed for SAM.

If you want a GSA (General Services Administration) schedule, which is a blanket ordering agreement and allows government agencies to order your products or services, you should get an Open Ratings Inc. Past Performance Evaluation.

Dealing with government agencies is not the same as dealing with commercial customers. Among the differences are the record keeping, reporting requirements, opening all the books of the business for audit and providing the best prices available (most favored customer). Keeping track of all of this often requires someone to spend a significant amount of time and effort. If you are not prepared to deal with the government requirements, it may be best not to do government business.

To get more details go to: » Contracting » Getting Started » Register for Government Contracting

Check this site for leads to federal opportunities: » Contracting » Understanding the Federal Marketplace » Contracting Resources for Small Businesses

Focus on FedBizOps

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor



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