— By Jenn Surface

Small businesses often struggle to generate revenue, but a contract with a federal agency can provide steady income to qualified organizations. If your small business has been established for over two years and is stable and profitable, consider bidding on federal contracts.

To start the process, register for a D-U-N-S number and Cage Code here. A D-U-N-S number is a unique identifier attached to your business credit, allowing potential partners to estimate your company’s stability. Determine your NAICS code, which classifies businesses by industry in order to collect data. These codes allow you to register on the System for Award Management site. SAM is a free service that will allow you to create a business profile and publish your information on federal business registries.

To smoothly transition to a larger market, update your business plan to include all capabilities of your company. Consider the corporate structure, financial status, administrative capabilities, production, and distribution capabilities.

Quick tips:

  • All business will be conducted online so you must be comfortable working electronically.
  • Invest in a professional email service as most government firewalls will block emails that appear to be sourced from a personal account.
  • A user-friendly website with clear information and a simple navigation will help potential clients and partners understand your capabilities.
  • Utilize a variety of revenue streams to stabilize your business and attract potential partners.
  • Network with public agencies and prime contractors to build relationships.
  • Be proactive in looking for and responding to opportunities that are published by federal agencies. You will gain access to lists once you are registered with SAM.
  • Secure bonding and financing as necessary.
  • Develop a marketing plan, including an elevator pitch, a capability statement, and a capabilities presentation.

Take advantage of the many support systems to grow your business. Use the programs listed below to gain an advantage in the federal marketplace.

Women-Owned Small Businesses – businesses that are at least 51% controlled and owned by women are eligible to compete for specifically designated contracts.

Small Disadvantaged Businesses – companies that are 51% owned by a person(s) with a disadvantage have access to a business development program.

8(a) Business Development Program – helps small businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals gain access to resources to develop their company.

HUBZone Program– helps small business in disadvantaged or underutilized areas access federal funding.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses – registered businesses can compete for contracts designated for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

For more information, visit the Orange County Small Business Development Center webpage.

jennsurfaceJenn Surface is Founder and Principal of Vantage Intelligence. She is a former US Government Intelligence Analyst (FBI) who represents a new breed of private investigator specializing in intelligence services for the legal field in today’s digital world. Services include uncovering hidden assets, locating hard-to-find persons, and developing deep background profiles. Visit her website to learn about these services and more.