Owners of small businesses might not realize that Uncle Sam could become a valuable customer through government contracting.
But, to bid for government contracts, you have to be certified, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Each year, there is around $100 billion earmarked for spending through small businesses to help them compete amongst larger companies. To qualify as a small business according to the government, manufacturing companies can have up to 500 employees, and non-manufacturing companies should have annual receipts of less than $7 million.
Signing up to be placed into the pool of businesses that sell or want to sell to the government requires applying for a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number to verify that there is a real physical business.
There are additional opportunities with separate spending earmarks for companies that are women-owned, veteran-owned, disadvantaged, or working in particular urban or rural areas that are part of HUBZone.
Once you are on the government list, you’ll have to learn how to write applications targeted to certain projects or goals.
The SBA’s 8(a) program can set up a small business owner with a mentor-protege program to help navigate the contracting system and give them an edge over the competition.