Maybe you’ve never even thought about whether your company qualifies in the first place. You may not think that it is that big of deal to be classified as a small business until you hear this: government contracts! Small businesses can indeed take advantage of government contracts like any other company; in fact, there are contracts just for small businesses.
The Small Business Act is the main protagonist for small businesses acquiring and competing for government contracts. It was passed and created specifically to help small businesses compete in the U.S. economic market. Federal contracts often run into the billions leaving small businesses in the dust of larger corporations, but with the Small Business Act, small businesses are able to get in on the action.
Government contracts can give your company a huge boost in revenue and greatly increase the value of your business as a whole. Your company doesn’t have to restrict itself to the commercial sector of business.
Well, how in the world do I know if my company is a small business?
The qualifications are defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). You must follow these qualifications in order to register as a small business for government contracting. Even after you’ve registered, your company must follow industry size standards put into law by the Small Business Act.
Here are the questions you should ask yourself:
Is your company organized for profit? If not, you don’t need profit from government contracts. No profit, no contracts.
Are you located in the United States of America? No? Then you probably won’t be able to register for a U.S. government contract.
Does your business operate principally in the U.S.? If you’re headquarters are in Los Angeles, but all of your workers are in China, you probably won’t qualify as a small business.
Do you own and operate your business independently? If you’re a branch of a much larger company, you’re not a small business.
Are you the very best and greatest at what you do in the nation? Then you’re not a small business. You must not be a dominant business within the industry that you’re working.
Ok, so you meet the qualifications and are able to register, how do you maintain size standards?
The SBA recognizes that every industry is a little bit different. A paper company is going to have different size standards than an IT company. The SBA accounts for this by having small businesses select a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code which defines different size standards for different industries.
Once all of that is taken care of your company should receive a list of active contracts that you can bid for. After that, keeping track of the contracts is up to you. It’s pretty easy to do if you use a bid notification tool to keep you up-to-date.
There’s more than just qualifying your company as a small business. There are special set-aside contracts for certain disadvantaged populations that own a small business: Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOSBs), Woman-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB), and Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones). Explore the SBA’s website and see if there are any other support systems for your small business.
So, are you a small business? You’re definitely sure.
Jeremy Higbee loves to snowboard and ski on the many mountains in Utah, but always attempts to shred some slopes in Idaho, the obviously superior state. When he’s not face-planting in snow, Jeremy can be found writing blogs about government policy, contracts, and in the third person.