Written by Jayant Row in Business
Viewed by 56 readers since 04-18-2009
The government of the United States is one of the largest customers in the world and requires almost everything that is manufactured or offered as a service in the world. There is a misconception that it is possible to do business with the US Government only if you are a big business. But this is not true. Even a very small business can look to get a share of the business if it sets its mind to it.
There is no doubt that working with the government is hard, and may take you some time to get results, but once you have put yourself in the system you would be able to have a continuous stream of business as long as you adhere to the rules.
You need to educate yourself thoroughly about the process of doing business with the government. You must basically have a system in place in your business to accept electronic fund transfers and a sufficient value of business credit cards. You need to find out your NAICS code and ensure that you qualify as a small business. North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by statistical agencies in the Federal Government to classify business establishments.
These statistics are then used for collating statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. Then of course you need to identify the agencies in the government that will have need of the products that you manufacture, or the services that you offer. Most of these departments once you have identified them may even have special programs that may give you preference if you so qualify.
Now that you have identified your NAICS code and are sure of where and to whom you can sell your product or service, you would need to get a DUNS number. This is a universal standard that could give you universal identification. It is a nine digit sequence also called a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) that keeps track of more than a hundred million businesses all over the world and is easily available from Dun and Bradstreet. This can be applied for online business as well.
This helps you to do business and also attract suppliers, as it enhances the credibility of your business. It also enables all your customers, the government included, as well as your supplier and lenders to easily identify you and also get some information about your company.
You then need to register with the Small Business Administration (SBA) which is an arm of the US government, and also with the agency or agencies you have identified as potential customers. After that, it just means that you have to be on the lookout for notices posted by agencies for procurement action. The Commerce Business Daily is a good source of this information. Then start your bidding and be competitive and get the contracts awarded to you. The processes may take time. Always be in touch with the local SBA office. You could always get additional information there.
Take heart from the fact that 90 percent of the contracts awarded by the government are for values below $5000, and purchases made by the US government total about 225 billion dollars annually. So surely you can get your share of it.