Government unheralded customer

By Sandra Taylor-Sawyer: Everybody’s Business

Business owners should always keep an eye on new product or client markets.
The government — federal, state and local — is a common market, perhaps overlooked at times.

Government entities have a need for products and services small businesses produce. However, selling products and services to the federal government takes planning. There are several steps a business must take to sell to the government.
The federal government has two methods of buying products and services.

One is by using a Government Purchase Card, which is basically a credit card. If a business is already set up to accept credit cards, it can accept the GPC. Amounts up to $3,000 can be purchased with the GPC.

The second is with a pre-price contract, required for purchases over $3,000.

Before bidding on a federal government contract, a business must be registered with Dunn & Bradstreet to obtain a DUNS number. The company maintains a database of global commercial entities. Many times, a business will find it is already listed in D&B. Visit the Web site at www.dnb.com for more information.

The next step is to register with the Central Contractor Registration, a federal government database. The Web site is www.ccr.gov.

The third step is registering the business through the Small Business Administration Dynamic Small Business Profile. This is a self-certifying database many public and private entities may use to find potential vendors or suppliers.

The final online registration is with Federal Business Opportunities, a database listing federal contracts of more than $25,000. The Web site is www.fedbizopps.gov.

It is important to gather and write down all pertinent information and numbers needed before beginning the registration process. Proper pre-planning will save hours, possibly days of frustration and waiting while becoming a certified government vendor.

With the new mission announcement for Cannon Air Force Base, it is imperative businesses begin the process to become a federal vendor.

Sandra Taylor-Sawyer is director of the Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College. Call the center at 769-4136 or visit www.nmsbdc.org/clovis.