Did you know that the US government is the
world’s largest buyer of products and services? In fact, from space vehicles to janitorial
services, it spends nearly 600 billion dollars a year. And many of those purchases go to small businesses.
So the federal government could be your next customer! If you’re interested in selling to the government
as a small business, the first step is to make sure you qualify under small business
standards. You may think your business is small. But
that’s an important detail to be sure of if you want to pursue government contracts. For most industries, the SBA defines a “small
business” in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months. It may
also be based on your annual receipts over the past 3 years. And your business can be any legal form- from
a sole proprietorship to a corporation. Not sure if your business is small? Check out
SBA’s size standards tool to find out. If you do qualify as a small business, there’s
help to get you started with government contracting. There are also special programs for women,
veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged small business owners. All small businesses
can access one-on-one counseling, training workshops and more from the SBA. So you don’t have to go it alone. Here’s what you should also know about getting
started with government contracting: Government agencies use NAICS codes, or the
North American Industry Classification System, to identify products and services by industry.
So, you’ll need to identify the products and services you sell by specific NAICS codes. You’ll also need to apply for a DUNS number,
which is a unique identification number for each physical location of your business. To find contractors, federal agencies often
use The System for Award Management, also known as SAM. So it’s important to register
and maintain your business profile in SAM. Once you qualify and you’re ready to do business
with government agencies, you can find contract opportunities online through FedBizOpps- or
Federal Business Opportunities- at fbo.gov. Want to learn more about how to make the government
your next customer? Visit sba.gov/contracting. And go to sba.gov/gcclassroom for free training
on government contracting.