Learn how to sell to the government
Excerpted from Ohio State University publications
The Federal government spends over $190 billion dollars each year to purchase a variety of goods and services. Last year over $44 billion dollars of this amount was spent doing business with owners and operators of small and medium-sized businesses.
Learning how to market your small business to the government is just a phone call away to the regional Procurement Outreach Center. The mission of this agency is to identify business firms that are qualified to sell their goods and/or services to the U.S. Department of Defense, other federal agencies and state government programs. The ultimate goal of this
government procurement process is to stimulate the local economy that leads to economic growth and the creation of jobs.
The Centers can help businesses:
- Acquire necessary registration with various government agencies.
- Develop a marketing plan that identifies government agencies that buy small business products and/or services.
- Identify sub-contracting opportunities that increase small business activity.
- Understand and utilize Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Value Added Networks (VANS) that access government contracting information.
- Understand contract and referral services, as well as basic contracting fundamentals.
- Utilize and better understand the benefits of electronic commerce procurement business practices.
- Utilize a variety of reference and resource materials.
To market a business to the Federal government, it is required that the business owners obtain a CAGE code number and a DUNS number, and register in the CCR database. A CAGE code is a five-character alpha numeric identification system administered by the Defense Logistics System Center used to identify commercial and government buying activities of businesses. The DUNS number is a numbering system developed by Dun and Bradstreet to identify businesses in its automated files. The number consists of nine digits. The CCR is a single mandatory repository of standardized information about vendors wishing to do business with the government.
The POC has a number of resources to assist small business clients wishing to pursue government contracting opportunities: Regulations on government specifications to help in the bidding process. Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR). In-house bid solicitations, drawings and information. Educational workshops and programs are conducted to discuss general and special areas of government procurement to potential or current small business owners.
Web resources useful in researching Department of Defense (DOD) and other federal agency procurement opportunities:
The Dun and Bradstreet – This company is a leading provider of business-to-business credit, marketing, purchasing and receivables management, as well as decision support services worldwide. In order to do business with the government a business must have a Dun and Bradstreet number.
DLSC refers to the Defense Logistics Support Command (DLSC) – This site contains general information about how to do business with the United States military branches (i.e. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy).
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA – The site contains general information regarding the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the many programs the agency uses to foster growth and development of small businesses, which include use of the Pro-Net System and the Hub-Zone program.
Central Contractor Registration – CCR refers to the Central Contractor Registration. This is a mandatory registration for all businesses wanting to sell products or services to the government. According to Parts 204, 212 and 252 of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), legislation has been amended to require contractor registration in the Department of Defense Central Contracting Registration (CCR) System prior to the award of any contract, basic agreement, basic ordering agreement, or blanket purchasing agreement, unless the award results from a solicitation issued on or before May 31, 1998.
The Electronic Commerce Resource Center – ECRC is The Electronic Commerce Resource Center. This center serves as a catalyst for a vast network of small to medium-sized organizations to adopt electronic commerce. These organizations use advanced eCommerce technologies to provide the Department of Defense and other federal organizations with low-cost, high quality products, goods and services.
ARNET – ARNET refers to the Acquisition Reform Network. The site gives updates regarding the latest regulations and policies that affect how small business owners can actively solicit federal business opportunities.
Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs – This site represents the Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs. The mission of this agency is to enable War Veterans (Department Of Defense) to gain access to small business efficiency, innovation and creativity. The vision of the agency is four-fold: 1. To remain an integral player and valued advisor in Department df Defense acquisition strategy development, 2. To remain a leader in innovative initiatives; 3. To grow as a facilitator for accessing untapped resources; 4. To continue as an advocate for value in Department of Defense procurement.
Commerce Business Daily Network – CBDNET stands for the Commerce Business Daily Network. This site is the government's official free electronic version of the Commerce Business Daily (CBD). Use this site to find out more about business solicitations posted by numerous federal agencies.
Electronic Posting System – The Electronic Posting System is now called Fedbizopps. This site contains general information about federal business opportunities available with the Federal Government for small and medium-sized business owners.
Procurement Gateway – The Procurement Gateway is maintained by the Department of Defense. The site allows contractors to perform comprehensive and detailed searches against Requests for Quotations (RFQs) and contract award documents.
Department of Defense Business OPPS – The Department of Defense Business OPPS site contains general information about business opportunities that exist for small business owners to sell products and services to the United States military.
Defense Logistics Agency – DLA is the Defense Logistics Agency, a logistic support agency for War Veterans (Department of Defense). Use this site to find out more about the procurement opportunities available with the United States' five military agencies.
Defense Supply Center Philadelphia – The DSCP is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia. Learn more about vendor opportunities and email solicitations available with this agency. DSCP specializes in purchasing items in the following areas: Clothing and Textiles, General and Industrial, Medical-DMM Online and Subsistence.
Defense Supply Center Richmond – DSCR refers to the Defense Supply Center Richmond. This agency's mission is to provide best value aviation weapons systems and environmental logistics support to America's Armed Forces.
Defense Supply Center Columbus – The DSCC is the Defense Supply Center Columbus. The agency's prime customer is the U.S. military. The Center is the largest inventory control point (ICP) in the Defense Logistics Agency Command. Currently, the agency manages over 1.8 million S9C (Construction) and S9eE (Electronic) spare parts in over 150 different supply classes (FSS).
Defense Energy Support Center – DESC refers to the Defense Energy Support Center. Learn more about the opportunities available for small business owners with this agency.
Department of Defense Small Business Innovative Research Program – The DOD SBIR/STTR refers to the Department of Defense Small Business Innovative Research Program. Learn more about the advantages of this program and how the Department of Defense is utilizing products and services from the small business market place.
General Services Administration – GSA refers to the General Services Administration. This agency serves three publics: The American public, government agencies, and business and industry. Visit the website for more information on how to do business with this agency and view current posted bid solicitations.
Federal Supply Service – The Federal Supply Service offers three unique services: 1) Provides consumers with information to assist in commercial or domestic purchases; 2) Gives existing or potential contractors the means to transact business in an efficient manner; and 3) Keeps the public informed on all matters pertaining to their services.
Acquisition, Streamlining and Standardization Information System – ASSIST is the Acquisition, Streamlining and Standardization Information System. The site provides users with contact information to defense and federal specifications, standards and related standardization documents cataloged in the Department of Defense master repository, i.e. the ASSIST database.
Procurement Portal – The Procurement Portal, sponsored in conjunction with the Agmas Organization, is a site dedicated to educating small and medium-sized business owners on to sell their products and services to the Armed Services and other federal agencies.
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Popular terms (Glossary)
Contract Award: Occurs when the contracting officer has signed and distributed the contract to, or notified the contractor.
Commerce Business Daily: A Department of Commerce publication used by federal agencies to publish a summary or synopsis of their upcoming procurements to notify interested businesses. Now largely replaced by the Fedbizopps internet site.
RFP - Request for Proposal: A process where an agency or government can seek a specific proposal from vendors. Follows a specifications process and formalized set of standards and procedures. Generally seeks less vendor input than an RFI but more than an RFQ.
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