Obtain quotes from multiple insurance companies to pick the best rate.
Request quotes for the best deal on your office furniture.
Search for human resource outsourcing firms based on your company’s needs.
Gather and compare rates on business loans and equipment leases.
Get connected with professional web designers to sell your product online.
Improve your cash flow with a cash advance based on your receivables.
Find the best service for processing credit cards online and in-house.
Use email marketing tools to send out your product/service deals and details.
Select the right direct mail vendor to help promote your small business.
Find a collection agency to chase down late payments and unpaid bills.
Discover the best phone service and rates to improve your communications.
Learn about VOIP phone systems and find a solution for your business.
Let's begin with an overview of federal law:
The Small Business Act of 1953 states that small businesses should receive a "fair proportion" of federal contracts and that small businesses should enjoy the "maximum practical opportunity" to participate in federal contacting. The Small Business Act established the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses receive their "fair proportion."
The Business Opportunity Development Reform Act of 1988 amended the Small Business Act to require the President to establish an annual government-wide goal of awarding not less than 20 percent of prime contract dollars to small businesses. The Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 amended the Small Business Act still further to increase this goal to not less than 23 percent.
Under the small business set-aside program, federal agencies "set aside" contracts exclusively for small business participation. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 19.502-2(a) states that a purchase with "an anticipated dollar value exceeding $2,500, but not over $100,000, is automatically reserved exclusively for small business concerns and shall be set aside for small business unless the contracting officer determines there is not a reasonable expectation of obtaining offers from two or more responsible small business concerns that are competitive in terms of market prices, quality, and delivery." This requirement often is referred to as the "rule of two."
An important first question to ask, then, is whether yours is in fact a small business.
The magic number is often 500 employees (i.e., if your company has 500 or less, it's a small business), yet the numbers vary widely from industry to industry. The SBA often uses annual sales as the determining factor. Those numbers also vary widely.
Here are the general size standards:
To find out the size standard for your industry, go to this URL:
As with the women-owned small business program, the SBA does not issue certificates establishing the eligibility of small businesses. Instead firms must self-certify their small business status at the time of bid response.
Okay, now let's assume that yours is a small business. If you haven't done so already, check to see what types of contracts have been or are being awarded in your industry. Go to FedBizOpps.gov. When you search, be sure to select "Total Small Business" in the Set-Aside Code option.
In general, focus on the under-$100,000 opportunities where you aren't competing against large firms. And make sure you're self-certifying your small business status in your bid responses.
But don't wait for the opportunities to come to you. Be proactive. Find buyers and let them know your firm is capable of meeting program requirements. You may gain some advantage when the bid comes out. Not only that, you may help ensure that relevant bid opportunities come out as small business set-asides. You want to see to it that the "rule of two" works in your favor. You want buyers that buy what you sell to know there are at least two small businesses capable of providing quality products or services at competitive prices. They won't know unless they find such businesses. Help them find yours.
Although it's no substitute for contacting buyers and end-users personally, make sure your firm is listed in SBA's PRO-Net database. PRO-Net is a primary vendor directory used by federal buyers in finding small businesses. http://pro-net.sba.gov/
Federal agencies often put out special procurement forecasts that are geared toward small business. To learn more about forecasts and why they're so important, read "Finding Information On Future Procurements."
Where do you go to find forecasts? Fedmarket's Jumpstation is a good place to start, http://www.fedmarket.com/freeRes/jumpstation/. It's free. Another place is the SBA site, http://www.sba.gov/GC/forecast.html. Also, the bid searching product Bidengine, http://www.bidengine.com, allows you to search agency forecast pages by keyword.
Remember, too, as we discussed in Installments 8 and 26, subcontracting opportunities are often the best way to get involved in government contracting. Federal procurement law requires that--
Sell your capabilities to prime contractors. Help them meet their small business contracting goals. To find primes by state, take a look at DoD's Subcontracting Directory, http://www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/publications/subdir/index.html. Another one to check out: SBA's Subcontracting Directory, http://www.sba.gov/gopher/Government-Contracting/Subcontracting-Directory/.
Programs at the state and local levels are similar to those at the federal level. California is a good example. Small businesses in California:
To be eligible as a small business in California a company:
As at the federal level, there is no shortage of state and local resources available to small businesses. For example, the state of Maryland maintains a network of 15 Small Business Development Center offices across the state, in four major regions.
Also, as at the federal level, the key is to locate your target agencies first, make solid contacts, then learn about the small business programs that are available to you. Don't rely solely on these programs or expect sudden miracles, but certainly use them to your advantage. That's why they're there.
An easy and always updated list of grants & opportunities with direct access to grantor's contact information as well as the application requirements.
Grants and Funding
© Copyright 1997-2017, WomanOwned. All Rights Reserved. | Serving Women Business Owners since 1997