Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

The Contracting *Checklist*

Use this checklist as you prepare to launch your Government Contracting business. Following this checklist will give you a solid foundation that has been tested and proven successful time and time again. We will talk in more detail about the specific requirement/recommendations under each category.

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): http://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): http://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.

2. Registration:

• Determine if your company is considered a “Small” business: http://www.sba.gov/sizetable2002.html
• Determine your company’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code(s): http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/naicod02.htm
• Register your company with Dun & Bradstreet: http://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): http://www.ccr.gov
• Register in the Vendor Information Pages (VIP) at Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) run by the VA: http://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): http://www.dla.mil/db/procurem.htm
• Register with companies that you know purchase the products or services you sell.

3. Research:

• Research government and prime contractor targets to find out which agencies and companies are most likely to buy the products and services you provide.
• Scan fedbizopps: http://www.fedbizopps.gov
• Scan federal agency Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) offices: http://www.osdbu.gov/offices.html
• Scan state, county and local government Websites.
• Talk to contracting officers at your local military installations, VA hospital, IRS center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office and federal and state offices for local opportunities.
• Research the “small business” or “supplier diversity” Websites of potential customers to learn about their contracting opportunities.

4. Networking:

• Based on your initial research, develop a list of 1 to 3 target customers. Start with the ones that are most likely to do business with you. Don’t expect overnight results. However, as a veteran-owned business, you will certainly have the attention of federal agencies, federal contractors and large businesses. Most have specific supplier diversity goals for veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. Use this fact to your advantage!
• When contacting targeted customers, lead with your ability to solve their problems and meet their needs. Don’t forget to let them know that you are a veteran-owned business.
• Start with the small business personnel first; Small Business Specialist (SBS) at federal agencies or the Small Business Liaison Officer (SBLO) or Supplier Diversity Officer (SDO) at public/private companies. These people can lead you to the appropriate buyer or contracting officer.
• Be professional and treat them like any other customer.
• Fully and completely research your targeted customer’s needs.
• Develop a 1 page capabilities statement.
• Develop professional-looking company brochures, business cards and a business capabilities presentation.
• Attend 1 on 1 counseling/matchmaking sessions with your targeted customers.
• Attend and actively work selected trade shows. Wear a suit and go prepared with company literature and business cards. Be prepared to give a quick, professional synopsis of your company and how it can meet your target customer’s needs.
• Ask for referrals. If a business doesn’t use what you sell, they may know someone else who does.

5. Proposals:

• Research other proposals to use as a template (target customers, SBDC, other small businesses, etc)
• Submit proposals and follow up on leads.
• Consider “no’s” as learning opportunities. Ask why you didn’t get the job. Ask for specifics so you can be better prepared next time. Ask for referrals again!
• When you get a “yes” and you certainly will, ask for specifics again! Now, you want to know what you did right and why you won. These are the positive actions you want to repeat time and time again! Perform the job in a professional and timely manner. Ask for referrals and testimonials. Post past performance and success stories on your company’s Website and in company literature. Let people know that they can count on you to get the job done. Word of mouth of your company’s abilities will spread and more business will follow!

ROCK STEADY!

Like any sales effort, expect many more rejections than successes. It only takes a few agreements to build a successful business. As a veteran-owned business, you can find no better customer right now than federal agencies, federal contractors and large businesses with veteran-owed goals. This limits the competition and puts you ahead of the game!

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

One Response

  1. […] Many, if not most of us were not trained on business matters so our business skills and knowledge may not be as highly developed as other skills we posses.  Not a problem!  That is just another opportunity for us to excel.  We have to devote the time, effort and energy we used in coming up to speed for our military tests to come up to speed on our Government Contracting/Business knowledge.  The reality is we must increase our business knowledge base.  As good as this site is, and I believe its damn good, it can not and will not eliminate the requirement for self-education.  There are many places to receive good, quality business education and training.  Many of those places are listed in the Contracting Checklist.   […]

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