Congratulations! You’ve taken the first steps to launch your first enterprise. Now it is time to build the team that will support your business and to register online to conduct business with the Federal Government. At a minimum, you will need to establish a relationship with a banker and legal counsel as well as obtain a DUNS number to register your company to do business for Federal contracts. There may be other relationships you need to establish based on your needs such as an accountant, an insurance broker, or an Government Contracting specialist and etc. It is important to develop a team that is available when you need them and are responsive.
1. Establish a bank account for your business. There are several banks that service small businesses. There are several banks that cater to small businesses. I am currently using two different banks. They are Access National Bank https://www.accessnationalbank.com/home/home and Capital One http://www.capitalone.com/small-business-bank/.
I selected Access National Bank for Whetstone Security Group, Inc since WSG was established as primarily a Federal Contractor for Government proposals. I also wanted a small business-friendly bank with Government Contracting experience. To that end, Access National Bank is geared to small businesses and has solid experience in supporting Government contractors.
For Connectify Social, my partners and I chose Capital One. I was impressed with Capital One as they hosted a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) forum at their offices in Tysons Corner, Virginia, explaining Capital One’s services to the SDVOSB community.
Whatever banking solution you chose, look for banks that make you feel like a valued customer and that can support and understand your business goals.
2. Obtain a DUNS Number. Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) provides a D-U-N-S Number for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for contracts or grants; this is a free service. http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do;jsessionid=81407B1F03F2BDB123DD47D19158B75F
3. Register with SAM. The System for Award Management (SAM) is the Official U.S. Government system that allows a Government Contracting Officer to find your business status, banking information, and your representations and certifications (I’ll get more into this on another post). It is within SAM that you will self-certify your business as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, a Woman Owned Small Business, a Veteran Owned Small Business, and etc. https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/##11
Remember, you need to have a Veterans Administration disability rating to self-certify as an SDVOSB. The minimum is a zero percent disability rating. That’s right! You can be rated with a zero percent rating to self-certify as a SDVOSB. There is also an SDVOSB verification for doing business with the Veterans Administration (VA). This certification is through the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) http://www.vetbiz.gov/, but CVE certification is not required (normally) to do business with the rest of the Federal Government. I’ll post more about the CVE process with the VA in the future. There are legal considerations that must be in detailed in your business to pass the CVE process.
You can validate your status or apply if you have a disability that arose during your military service at the VA’s website https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/
4. Search for Government Contracting Opportunities. You can now search the Government website www.fbo.gov to search for contracting opportunities and build your pipeline.
5. Find Like-Minded Entrepreneurs. There are a plethora of resources available online and through local organizations. There are blogs, podcasts, and websites specifically for entrepreneurs. Build or find a community that will support you. I highly recommend joining a Veteran’s organization such as The SDVOSB Counsel. The counsel is there to help Veteran and SDVOSB’s achieve success through a host of activities and political action. They have already been contacted by several Government organizations to find SDVOSBs for procurement activities. https://www.sdvosb-council.org/
Do not wait another day to live the life you want. You have everything you need to launch your business today!
With Love and Respect,