June 6, 2012

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

SBA Contracting Process Provides Opportunities (McMahan)

June 4, 2012


Gulf Coast Business

The U.S. Small Business Administration serves as the federal government's gate-keeper for small business access to federal contracts. Small business owners who want sell to Uncle Sam must ask three questions: Are they small? What is the size standard for their type business? And, does your business fall under a certain certification? After answering these questions, the business owner must follow eight steps.

Remember: Any business can sell to the federal government. Alabama firms received over $1.23 billion in federal contracts in the 2011 fiscal year. But Congress gives special categories of small or disadvantaged businesses certain preferences in federal contracts for goods and services, including even what are called "set-asides" These are percentage goals for qualified disadvantaged small business types.

First, identify and obtain a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number. Second, identify Employer Identification Number (or EIN) - see www.irs.gov. Third, owners must identify their NAICS (North American Industry Classification System).

Fourth, each small business owner must register with the US Government's Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. Creating a profile and keeping it current gives access to federal contracting opportunities.

Fifth, small business owners must use the federal ORCA (Online Representations and Certifications Application), an online resource for completing paperwork.

Sixth, small businesses should register with the US General Services Administration's (GSA) schedule, also known as the federal supply schedule. Be sure your business has the resources, financial and otherwise, to meet the contract's provisions.

Seventh, search the federal website for contracting opportunities - federal business opportunities or "FedBizOpps" for short. Here the federal agencies post product and service needs they want filled.

Lastly, (eighth) market your business. Get to know the federal agencies that want what you make or provide. Know the agencies' procedures and focus on your niche. Use other resources via SBA and the GSA for help. The SBA district office in Alabama can be reached at 205-290-7101. Good luck!

  • For more information, visit http://commerce.alabama.gov
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