Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

Understanding the Checklist; Part 2

This is Part 2 of our 5 part series on Understanding the Checklist.  Let’s address the most obvious reason why you need to be registered and (this part is critically important) registered in the right places.  You need to be registered so people can find you and believe me, they’re looking for you.  You have something incredibly valuable, something incredibly powerful, something incredibly honorable, you have the lifelong status and designation as a Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.  No matter what may come, no matter what life or circumstances may bring, you are now and will forever be a Veteran.  That fact alone carries a tremendous amount weight, especially in the contracting arena.  As a matter of fact, it carries so much weight that some people falsely claim to be Veterans in order to win government contracts.  Others represent big companies that play a shell game and trick legitimate Veterans into heading up dummy companies that subcontract all the work back to those same big companies.  See my blog entitled Fast Cash (https://veteransbusinessresources.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/fast-cash/) for more on this scam.  

We must realize the awesome power and leverage having the Veteran status offers our community.  For example, we have priority when it comes to award of VA contracts.  Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) is number 1 and Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) is number 2.  There is currently legislation afoot to bring other federal agencies onboard with their own programs modeled after that of the VA. 

Now, let’s look at the critical areas under Registration. 

NAICS:  Your NAICS code is critical and will be used repeatedly throughout the Government Contracting process.  Take your time and search the tables for the NAICS code(s) that most accurately describes the work your business does or the service your business provides.  These 6 digit codes will be used to; register in the CCR, SBA Profile and VIP.  They will be used by Contract Specialists conducting market research, they will be used by Prime Contractors searching various data bases to find and identify qualified subcontractors.  They will be used when applying for different certifications.  They will even be used as part of your marketing material.  You can now list up to 1,000 NAICS codes in your CCR. 

Small or not Small:  Why is that important you ask?  The Small Business Administration (SBA) has negotiated a contracting goal with federal government agencies and large prime contractors that says 23 percent of all federal contracts will be awarded to Small Business.  Small Businesses can compete for both small and large contracts.  Large businesses can ONLY compete for large contracts.  OK, that makes sense, but how can Small Businesses compete for both small and large contracts?  See my blog entitled T.E.A.M. (https://veteransbusinessresources.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/%e2%80%9ct-e-a-m-%e2%80%9d-together-everyone-achieves-more/) for a better explanation. Your business’ size limitations are determined by your primary NAICS code. 

Dun & Bradstreet:  Before you can register your company in the Central Contractors Registration (CCR) you must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.  Once you have the DUNS number, you must wait 24 hours before you can enter it into the CCR database.  Getting your DUNS number and registering in the CCR are among your initial steps in marketing your business.  D&B will sell your contact information to other companies, so be prepared for all the e-mail you are about to start getting.  Some of it is actually usable.  NOTE:  The DUNS number is free of charge.    

Small Business Classification:  There are only 2 federal classifications you can obtain for your business.  Both classifications/certifications are administered by the SBA.  Those classifications are:  SBA 8(a) and the HUBZone programs.  Go to the following sites to read more about these SBA Programs:  www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/8abd/index.html and http://www.sba.gov/hubzone/ 

CCR:  A lot of people look in the CCR for a lot of reasons, awarding contracts happens to be just one of them.  The government can’t award you a contract if you’re not registered in the CCR and if your registration is not current.  Only about 5 percent of businesses are registered in the CCR.  Said another way, being registered in the CCR places you ahead of 95 percent of the other companies out there.  Don’t get happy just yet, we still have a very, very long way to go.  

VIP:  To enjoy the Veteran contracting priority with the VA, you must be registered and have your Veteran status verified by the CVE.  To date, there is no certification for Veteran Owned Businesses, only a verification process.  The verification as SDVOSB or VOSB is good for 1 year and must be re-verified annually.   

  1. Registration: 
  • Determine your company’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code(s):  www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/naicod02.htm
  • Determine if your company is considered a “Small” business:  www.sba.gov/sizetable2002.html
  • Register your company with Dun & Bradstreet:  www.dnb.com
  • Determine your company’s small business classification:  SDVOSB, VOB, 8(a), SDB, WOB, HUBZone, etc.
  • Register your company on the Central Contractors Registration (CCR):  www.ccr.gov
  • Register in the Vendor Information Pages (VIP) at Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) run by the VA:  www.vetbiz.gov
  • Register on your state’s contractor Website.
  • Register on your county and local government contractor Websites.
  • Register and consult with your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), run by Defense Logistics Agency (DLA):  www.dla.mil/db/procurem.htm
  • Register with companies that you know purchase the products or services you sell.
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Filed under: Getting Started, Government Contracting, Registrations & Certifications, Veterans Affairs, , , , , , ,

Understanding the Checklist; Part 1

WHY?  Why is the sky blue?  Why do clouds hang in the sky?  Why did the chicken really cross the road?  Why does it snow in April?  Why, why, why?  Why is 1 of the 5 “Ws” and the how questions that must be answered correctly to find success in this business of Government Contracting.  The 5 “Ws” and the how are who, what, when, where, WHY and how.  Today, we will deal with the WHY.  In my opinion, “WHY” is one of the most powerful words in the English language.  Webster defines “WHY” as; for what purpose, reason, or cause; with what intention, justification, or motive?  The reason, cause, or purpose for which; on account of which; for which.  The cause or intention underlying a given action or situation.  I believe that when we truly understand “WHY” we do certain things, we gain a greater appreciation for how they fit into the “big picture.”  The big picture for us is winning government contracts.  This post is 1 or 5 post dealing with “WHY.”  Why is it necessary to do the things listed under each of the 5 categories that make up the Contracting Checklist.

Please refer to the complete Contracting Checklist in the Government Contracting section of the Discussions board.  However, each individual section of the checklist will follow my WHY explanations for that section.

You were already given some reasons/explanations under each bullet in the Getting Started section.  Now, I will go into more detail and further explain the WHY of it all.

The Business Plan:  Take the vision of your business out of your head and put it on paper.  You might just be surprised to find that you overlooked some critical areas to  successfully launching your business.  Do you have enough financing?  How long before you reach the breakeven point?  Can you take a salary from the business income, if so, how much and starting when?  Are you giving yourself enough time to accomplish individual goals and objectives?  How do you know if/when you accomplished your goals and objectives?  Do you need insurance?  Do you have insurance?  Do you have enough insurance?  Do you have the right type of insurance?  Do you need employees?  Can you afford to hire your first employee?  How much can you afford to pay him/her?  As you can see, the list of questions can be quite extensive.

Get Business Start-up Education:  All of us need education.  Regardless of our Branch of Service or the length of our service, we all received an education on that Branch of Service.  Unlike the almost 100 percent dedicated time we had to study and prepare back then, most of us now have other responsibilities that limit the amount of time we can devote to study and preparation.  That’s ok, take your time, but keep in mind, the rules change.  That means you just embarked on a road of continuous learning and education.  Here is the good news; if other people learned it, you can too!  Educate yourself:  This business belongs to YOU!  YOU need to be smart on YOUR business!  Period.

Legal Entity:  Depending on the scale to which you intend to build your business, your personal tolerance to potential legal problems, your personal outlook on taxes, and several other considerations help determine the legal entity best suited to match your needs.  Educate yourself on the pros and cons of each legal entity type, make a list of questions and get legal advice before you pull the trigger.

Company Name:  Select a company name that tells what you do.  This minor detail is part of your greater marketing campaign.  Marketing?  That sounds like selling to me, and I can’t sell, I’m not a salesman.  Yes you are, we all are, and we do it everyday.  We just don’t get paid for it.  Part of the Business Plan that you wrote in the first step is your Marketing Plan.

When possible, do not use a company name that you have a great personal attachment to.  At some point in the future after you’ve grown and developed your company into a highly successful, industry leader, you might choose to sell it.  When this happens, the name that you chose early on would have been successfully branded and very much synonymous with your business.  Any serious buyer will insist on taking the name too. 

  1. Getting Started: 
  • Write a Business Plan!  The plan will change over time, as will your business.  Most seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you that by far the most value in writing a Business Plan is the though process behind it.  Writing a Business Plan forces you to see and think about all the holes in your plan and your business.  PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN!
  • Talk to other Small Business Owners, suppliers, competitors and others to see where you can establish an advantage.
  • Get business start-up education.  A good place to start is your local community college.
  • Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) run by the Small Business Administration (SBA):  www.sba.gov/sbdc/sbdcnear.html
  • Educate yourself on entrepreneurship and your industry by joining trade associations.  Talk with other business owners in your industry.
  • Determine your company’s legal entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.)  If you’re seeking some legal protection between your business and yourself, a sole proprietor is not for you.  It is also advisable to get a lawyer for every legal entity OTHER THAN a sole proprietorship.
  • If you plan to incorporate, get an Employer Identification Number (EIN):  www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=102767,00.html?portlet=4
  • Select and register a company name that reflects what your company does.

 

   [UPDATE! READ THE IMPORTANT NEW CHANGES IN 2014 ABOUT THE “NEW” CCR!]           

 

Filed under: Getting Started, Government Contracting, The Checklist

President Obama discussing Government Contracting reform

This is a video of President discussing government contactting fraud abuse & reform of the Government Contracting.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Lets Get It Started

Remember years ago, make that many years ago, when Saturday Night Live (SNL) was brand new and really funny? The cast in those early years on SNL was known as the “NOT READY for Prime Time Players.” Well, each of them put in their time, studied their craft, experimented with different roles, grew as individuals and entertainers, honed their skills and made us laugh every Saturday night. As time passed, different cast members left the show in search of greater fame and fortune. After a period of time all the original cast members had moved on to bigger and better things. Funny thing, almost ALL of them achieved the fame and fortunes they sought. Now, you older types are thinking, “You know what, he is right, they did become big stars” others of you are thinking “ok, but what does this have to do with me?” Here is what it has to do with you. Many of you reading this post fit into the “NOT READY for Prime Time Players” category, but like the original cast members of SNL, you too can and will go on to accomplish your goals and dreams, if that’s what you really want. You already have everything it takes to get there, we just need to develop it some more. By virtue of your successful service to our great Country, you’ve proven you have the right stuff and qualities that set you apart from the crowd. You have; the passion, the discipline, the dedication, the organization and management skills, the mission focus, the never quit attitude, the integrity, plus an acute understanding of duty, honor and loyalty, just to name a few.

There are 3 simple truths about Government Contracting that I want everyone reading this post to understand and remember;

1. Government Contracting is Hard Work
2. Government Contracting takes Time
3. Government Contracting is Worth It

As we journey through this process, the reality of each of the above statements will ring true. We can answer most of your questions and concerns here in this Blog and on the Veterans Business Resources (VBR) Facebook site, we can even direct you to No – Low Cost agencies/resources that can help and provide hands-on solutions for your contracting needs. One thing that we can not do is eliminate the need for you to self educate about this business of Government Contracting. The attention to detail that helped you advance through the ranks must be on full display 100% of the time whether building your business or dealing with customers.

Government Contracting and General Business are more closely aligned than one might suspect. Many of the same things required to be successful in General Business are also required in Government Contracting. For example, in each category, one must have;

1. Processes
2. Relationships
3. Homework/Research
4. Niche

Before we can drill down deeper into any of the above categories, we must first create the look of a company poised to do business with the government. These are the broad categories that help us create that special look;

1. Getting Started
2. Registration
3. Research
4. Networking
5. Proposals

The 5 categories listed above are part of a detailed Contracting Checklist aimed at getting us all off to a great start and with a solid foundation. We will post that detailed Contracting Checklist on the Discussions Boards later this week.

Filed under: Uncategorized