Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

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):
  • 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):,,id=102767,00.html?portlet=4
  • Select and register a company name that reflects what your company does.





Filed under: Getting Started, Government Contracting, The Checklist

One Response

  1. […] about the Contracting Checklist and the first 2 of the Three Simple Truths.  We did a series on Understanding the Checklist and Three Simple Truths that will help you in this Basics […]

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