By Yolanda Cowart | July 31, 2017
If you know the power behind doing business with the local, state, or federal government, you’ll want your small business to have a piece of that pie. First things first. The government only does business with companies registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) database. They buy a large assortment of products and services from small business owners just like you every day. Keep reading for seven steps you can follow to complete the SAM registration process and procure the first of many government contracts that can catapult your business to success and profit.
- Go to www.sam.gov and register your business. Registration is free and simple. It’s a small business owner’s best Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project.
- If you have questions or run into obstacles, help is only a phone call away. Contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). They’ll help you with the registration process and can answer questions about the government purchasing market and what opportunities might be available.
- SAM has a quick guide registration resource you can download from their website that will guide you every step of the way.
- Check and double check to be sure you have the exact legal name of your company on your SAM paperwork. Look at your Secretary of State registration for accuracy.
- Does your business have a DUNS number? If you don’t, you can register for a Data Universal Number System free. You’ll get it in 10 days or less and it’s a necessity for identifying as a small business with the federal government. It’s so important that they’re in the process of instituting a separate DUNS numbering system that’s solely theirs. Make sure you designate yourself as publicly searchable. If the government can’t find you in their search process, they can’t do business with you.
- Do you know your North American Industry Classification (NAICS) code? You only need one code for SAM registration, but be sure to grab all the codes you qualify for because NAIC codes are another way government agencies search for small businesses.
- At the end of the SAM registration process, the system will give you the option of completing your U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) registration as well. Just do it! SBA registration is directly tied to your SAM registration as part of the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) portal.
Do not skip the SAM registration process. The government cannot and will not do business with your company without it. Completed SAM and SBA registration allows you to do two important things. First, it lets you take a sneak peek at what keywords your competitors use and what capabilities they list. That knowledge can help you punch up your own registrations and profiles. Second, it makes you eligible to search for bidding opportunities. Take a look at http://www.fbo.gov. That’s where the government posts all requests for bids higher than $25,000. Wouldn’t you love to get in on that small business action? Set aside the necessary time to complete your SAM registration as soon as possible. Your business will thank you.