Sections C, L and M – What the Heck?

This blog post is a primer to  guide you through the Government request for proposal (RFP) process.

Starting out as a Federal Contractor can be an intimidating experience, but the rewards can be substantial.  There are very few businesses that can go from a start up to having a multimillion dollar contract in a very short time span.  And with the Government’s sudden shift to Low-Price, Technically-Acceptable (LPTA) proposals and small business set-asides, your business can be competitive without past performance — a major advantage to a newly launch business.  The evaluation factors for LPTA proposal and winning comes down to who has a technically acceptable proposal and the lowest (realistic) price.

Now that you’ve located an opportunity under your NAICS code where you believe you can be competitive, what are the next steps?

You will need review the Request for Proposal (RFP).  The RFP is a document that informs you of the requirements the Government is looking to have a contractor perform.  Try not to be overly intimidated by the size of the RFP; you do not need to read the entire proposal although, you may want to be familiar with the standard contract jargon that goes into Government RFPs.  After going threw a few RFPs, before long you will be able to quickly determine what is important to know.  For now, all you need is the most critical information found on the cover page and in  Sections C, L and M.

The cover page will inform you of the type of contract, Cost plus, (CP) Firm Fixed Price – Level of Effort (FFP-LOE), or Time and Material (T&M) or derivatives of these types of contracts.  You should also become familiar with the the Federal Acquisition Regulation www.acquisition.gov. You can look up and review the FAR references that apply to the proposal.

You have already determined if the proposal falls within your NAICS code, so now see if the proposal is Full and Open (meaning it is open to all contractors) or a set-aside contract (set asides are only open to those companies qualifying, such as SDVOSB, WOSB, 8(a), and etc.)

If you are not familiar with Federal Contracting, please see my previous blog posts on building a pipeline http://wp.me/p4xkC1-16 and competing for Federal Contracts http://wp.me/p4xkC1-Q

After downloading the Request for Proposal (RFP), you will need to:

1. Review Section C – the Statement of Work (SOW), this is the Government’s requirements for the service they are expecting a contractor to perform.

2. Look at Section L – this is where you learn the Government’s requirements for formatting (font size and type; page count, and etc.) and the organization of the proposal volumes (Technical, Program Management, Past Performance, Security, and Cost) of the proposal you will deliver to the Government.

3.  Closely review Section M – this is where the Government lists the criteria they will evaluate each proposal volume .  Failure to follow all the Government’s requirements could result in a non-compliance proposal which will automatically be taken out of competition.

4.  Develop and Outline – Once you have reviewed the RFP, you will need to develop an outline for each volume you will be writing.  You will want to provide an outline that will provide you with the best organizational flow for how you will meet the Government’s requirements.  Sometimes it can tricky to combine the SOW and evaluation criteria so it flows logically and smoothly but you should include both both Section A and M in your outline.

Below is a sample of a Technical Volume outline I developed for a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal.  Remember, you are providing the Government what they are requesting, not what you believe they should have.  Make sure that you following L & M to the letter and combined them within  your outline.  Beautiful writing does not win proposals — compliant and technically sound proposals win when combined with price.  Also be aware that various sections are assigned higher weighted values for the overall evaluation of the proposal.

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NOTE:  This is the sample outline with guidance taken from the RFP combining sections L & M and guidance for Volume I, Technical.  The outline decomposes the Government’s requirements to include page count limits.  Anywhere you see “writer’s directions” this was added by me to help the writer know the Government’s criteria.  RFP guidance varies based on the Government customer and the type of procurement.

Writer’s Directions: The information provided from the RFP provides overall guidance for the proposal submission. This information will be deleted after the guidance is no longer needed by the writers.

III.1       52.212-1 INSTRUCTIONS TO OFFERORS — COMMERCIAL ITEMS (JUL2013)

(a)   North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and small business size standard.  The NAICS code and small business size standard for this acquisition appear in Block 10 of the solicitation coversheet (SF1449). However, the small business size standard for a concern which submits an offer in its own  name, but which proposes to furnish an item which it did not itself manufacture, is 500 employees.

(b)  Submission of offers. Submit signed and dated offers to the office specified in this solicitation at or before the exact time specified in this solicitation.

(1)  The solicitation number
(2)  The time specified in the solicitation for receipt of offers;
(3)  The name, address, and telephone number of the offeror;
(4)  A technical description of the items being offered in sufficient detail to evaluate compliance with the requirements in the solicitation.
(5)  Terms of any express warranty
(6)  Price and any discount terms
(8)  A completed copy of the representations and certifications at FAR52.212
(9)  Acknowledgment of Solicitation Amendments;
(10) Past performance information
(11)    If the offer is not submitted on the SF1449, include a statement specifying the extent of agreement with all terms, conditions, and provisions included in the solicitation.

(c)   Period of acceptance of offers.  The offeror agrees to hold the prices in its offer firm for 30 calendar days from  the date specified for receipt of offers.

Volume I – Technical Proposal

This volume must not contain any reference to price; however, resource information (such as data concerning labor hours and categories, materials, subcontracts, etc.) must be contained in the technical proposals or that the Contractor’s understanding of the requirements may be evaluated.

This volume shall consist of the sections described below.

1.0   Section 1 – Transmittal Letter

A letter that formally transmits the proposal and states in general terms how the offeror meets the solicitation requirements. (not to exceed 2 pages)

2.0   Section 2 – Executive Summary and Table of Contents

In this section, the offer will be summarized, highlighting salient features of the proposal, including a description of the offeror’s approach and plans to satisfy and support requirements of this solicitation. Any technical and schedule risks should also be detailed. The summary should indicate the offeror’s complete acceptance of the technical requirements or specify any exceptions. A clear table of contents with page numbers referenced should be included. (not to exceed 5 pages)

3.0    Section 3 – Technical Approach

The technical approach should be in as much detail as the offeror considers necessary to fully explain the proposed technical approach or method and must demonstrate a clear and concise presentation that includes, but is not limited to, the requirement of the technical proposal instructions. The Technical Proposal shall be tabbed as indicated below and each tab shall not exceed the maximum page limit identified after the title of each tab. The Technical Proposal should reflect a clear understanding of the nature of the work being undertaken. The technical approach should discuss any perceived areas of risk and risk management. If subcontractors are to be utilized, the offeror shall submit the same information pertaining to the subcontractors.

The offeror should state all assumptions, exceptions, and deviations at the end of this section. For every instance where the offeror does not propose to comply with or agree to a requirement, the offeror shall propose an alternative and describe its reasoning therefore.

For requirements that describe a mandatory feature, the response may consist of a reference to the offeror’s technical literature. Any technical literature used as a reference must be furnished as an attachment to the proposal. If the reference contains the required technical detail, it is not necessary to restate such detail in the proposal itself. All references must clearly identify the volume, page and line number of the referenced material. For requirements that describe an optional feature or function, the offeror must provide a response on how this optional requirement is to be satisfied.

Elaborate brochures, binders and the like are neither required nor desired. Legibility, clarity and completeness are important. The submission of brochures or flyers alone without an accompanying explanation specific to this proposal is not acceptable.

Page limits have been established for each tab. If the offeror includes more pages than are allowed, all pages that exceed the page limit will be removed from the proposal prior to the evaluation.

4.0     Tab A: Corporate Experience and Assessment Methodologies (not to exceed 5 pages)

The offeror shall provide a detailed description of their experience, qualifications, and technical knowledge, as it pertains to the requirements outlined in the solicitation. This should detail the number of years of experience in providing polygraph services, any major accomplishments, and how they can contribute to CBP.

4.1     Description of Experience, Qualifications, And Technical Knowledge

5.0     TAB B: Polygraph Examination Processes, Methodologies, and Quality Assurance (not exceed 20 pages)

The offeror shall fully-describe their polygraph examinations process. This should completely outline all steps and processes for the Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test (LEPET) polygraph examination format. This should outline all pre-test preparations, the polygraph exam, any other additional procedures, and correspondence measures with CBP.

The offeror shall describe their methodology to ensure quality polygraph examinations. Details need to be provided that clearly explain their processes, methodologies, strengths, and how it contributes maintaining our timelines for delivery.

5.1         The Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test (LEPET) Polygraph Process

5.1.1      Pre-test preparations

 5.1.2     The Polygraph Exam, Additional Procedures, and Correspondence Measures

 5.1.3     Methodology to Ensure Quality Polygraph Examinations

 6.0        Tab C:  Facility Resources:

6.1          Detailed Description of Current Facility Resources/Locations

6.1.1      Details on the Number of Polygraph Rooms and Total Square Footage

6.1.2     Additional Facility Locations to Meet Capacity

6.1.3     Steps for Procuring Additional Facilities

6.1.4     Resources/Locations and the Anticipated Timeline

7.0         Tab D: Equipment Resources and Training (not to exceed 15 pages; process flows and screen shots can be included in a separate appendix and are not included in the page limit)

7.1         Detailed Description of Their Current Equipment Resources

7.1.1     Meeting DHS CBP’s Requirements for Conducting Polygraph Examinations

7.1.2     Staff’s Experience using Software and Equipment.

7.2         Steps for Procuring Additional Equipment to Meet An Increased Capacity

7.2.1     Procurement Timeline

7.3         Training Program

7.3.1     Timeline to Complete Training

8.0         Tab E:  Staffing Representation and Training: (not to exceed 15 pages)

The offeror shall provide the extent of their current polygraph examination workforce and their ability to provide qualified candidates that will be utilized for purposes of this contract.

8.1         Our Polygraph Examination Workforce and Ability to Provide Qualified Candidates

Name Current Certification Years of Experience Time Away to Maintain Certification

Figure 8.3-1. Polygraph Examiners Current Certification(s) and Experience

8.1.1        Anticipated Number of Examiners and Estimated Yearly Workload to Meet Contract Requirements

8.1.2        Recruitment strategy for increased capacity

8.1.3        Recruitment timeline

9.0            Tab F:  Approach to Security Requirements (not to exceed 10 pages)

Provide a detailed description of the approach to maintaining all security requirements related to this contract.

10.0        Tab G: Communication (not to exceed 5 pages; process flows and screen shots can be included in a separate appendix and are not included in the page limit)
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Once you have your outlines completed, double check to ensure you capture all the proposal requirement.  For the most part, try to ensure the outline is easy for a Government evaluator to follow; if you follow the evaluation criteria it will make the evaluator’s job easier.

Here’s to writing your first Government proposal … and a win!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

What does it Mean to be an Entrepreneur?

I truly believe that each of us, regardless of our past or background, have the capacity to enhance our lives for the better.  The spark that can propel us into richer and fuller versions of ourselves is perspective.  The simple act of changing how we view the world.  When we can be truly present and look about the world and see the beauty and bounty available,  ignoring rather than listening to the chattering negative voice inside our head, we suddenly change from a place of comparison and criticism to one of gratitude.

When life’s daily toll has removed the shine and wonder from our eyes, it is hard to refocus and see through the mental haze  thrust upon us through the sometimes hurtful actions of the unconscious,  culture, societal roles, and a media that praises appearance and material possession as the way to self fulfillment and happiness.  I believe that when we work  toward achieving goals that we set using our own internal compass, we change our lives from simply existing to living dynamic lives where passion grows and thrives.

This is what I love about being an entrepreneur.  The ability to set my own life’s direction based on my values and how I view success.  The very concept of success changes.  Since starting my business, I become excited when small victories are made — the first website, the first proposal, the first win.  I see my dreams begin to take shape and to me, this is success.  I am more fulfilled, confident, and happy as a result.

When we decide to take responsibility for our own lives, as if by magic, ideas begin to appear more frequently and for the first time, perhaps in years, we begin to see the true possibilities of our potential.  With a new clarity we understand that we do not have to be limited by the narrative of what success “should” look like.

Here is to us — for living rather than existing and complying to others idea of who we are, how we should behave, and what our limits should be — the deciding factor is ourselves!

So let’s launch that new business and make the decision to live with determination and persistence and the knowledge that passion is created from doing what comes from within us.  We can do this.

Here’s to being entrepreneurs and taking action toward our goals each and every day!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

 

The Facility Clearance and Classified Cage Code Process

In a previous post, I explained how a business is sponsored to obtain an Facility Clearance (FCL) http://wp.me/p4xkC1-1t.  However, this is just the first step in completing your FCL.

After you have been issued a DD Form 254 by the Government or a prime company with a classified contract, you will need to apply for a FCL through the Defense Security Service (DSS). http://www.dss.mil/

So what the heck is an FCL anyway?  The FCL is an administrative determination that a facility is eligible for access to classified information. This can be at the Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret level. It does not necessary mean that you are holding classified material at the facility.  There are two types of FCLs.  One is for safeguarding (possessing facility) which means you actually hold classified material at your facility; the other is a no safeguarding (non-possessing) facility which does not hold classified material.

While we are at it, the facility can be a place of business or in a home if that is where your business operates from!  Yes, your home office can possess a TS facility clearance.

To request the FCL, you will use the DSS portal. The eFCL Submission Site was developed for contractors to submit facility clearance applications https://submission.dssfcl.anl.gov/dsssub/uframe.page#%2Fuser%2Fv%3Adashboard

There are several documents (eFCL submission package) you will need to complete and upload to the eFCL portal.

  • A Department of Defense Security Agreement (DD Form 441)
  • A Key Personnel Management List (KMPL) [This is a list of officers in your company]
  • A Certificate Pertaining to Foreign Interests (SF-328)
  • A list of classified contracts your company holds
  • A company organizational chart
  • Other required documents as required

As part of the process, you will be assigned a DSS Industrial Security Representative (ISR) to help guide you through the submission process.  They will also visit your facility to ensure you have the proper documentation and if you are authorized to hold classified material the necessary safeguards are in place.

You will also need or have someone in your company complete training as a Facility Security Officer (FSO).  To obtain training you can register at the Security Professional Education and Development (SPed) portal.  There are different training requirements depending on the type of facility — whether safeguarding and a no safeguarding facility.  You can register at: http://www.cdse.edu/index.html

The time the entire process takes depends on whether the key personnel already possess the proper clearances.  If not, then they will need to submit an application for clearance SF-86.

DSS offers a comprehensive users guide to walk you through the process.  This link will download the guide: http://www.dss.mil/documents/diss/efcl-submission-site-user-guide.pdf

Once you have been approved by DSS, you can then apply for Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) access.  This allows you to hold clearances for the personnel working on classified contracts, request investigations and reinvestigation, submit visit requests, and other administrative details associated with cleared personnel.  This also requires you to complete your FSO training and other training before access will be completed.  You can request account here: https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/psawebdocs/docPage.jsp?p=JPAS

The entire FLC process can be lengthy and time consuming.  There are companies that can guide you through the process.  Whetstone Security www.whetstonesecurity.com is one of those companies in the Washington DC area that can help (Full disclosure – I am a partner), but there are others with qualified personnel that can assist you also.

Here’s to your success!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

Turning Dreams into Action

For me, writing down my goals appears to have an almost magical quality to it.  If I imagine something I would like to accomplish, I write down my thoughts and set a timeline on turning it into reality.

For example, when I write down the things I would like to accomplish for the day — usually no more than three or four items; if I don’t complete them all, I move them to the next day’s list.  I also review and revise my goals for the next 6-months and for the next year and beyond.  I place the date I wrote the goal and the date I expect to have it accomplished.

This is what my goals look like:

– Review and take steps to complete my goals

TODAY:  Immediate Goals:

  • Exercise!!!
  • Touch base with Michael concerning Insurance
  • Sketch out patent and forward on to legal zoom
  • Review RFP response for CBP opportunity
  • Complete teaming agreement and target rates
  • Start new blog (done)

6 Months: My goal for within 6 months is to

  • Start CVE application (04/15/14) (started)
  • Launch ConnectifySocial (04/15/14) (done)
  • Develop Social Media Tool (04/22/14) (done)
  • Apply for patent (04/25/14) (started)

This week

  • Set meeting with Connectify group for Thursday (done)

1 – 2 Years: My goal for within one to two years is to

  • Develop podcast for Veterans/SDVOSB (02/16/14)
  • Develop ideas for book based on blog and podcast (04/17/14)
  • Buy property in Slovenia (04/25/14)

If you have an idea, write it down and then take action every day to make it into reality.  This simple concept can be life changing.  You do not have to complete everything all at once.  Even if you only have 30 minutes to work toward a goal, as long as you do it consistently, by the end of a year you will have gone a long way to reaching your goals — persistence, persistence, persistence.

Please do not wait another day or even a second to live your dreams.  You are capable of doing more than you believe; you are capable of achieving your dreams.

With Love and Respect,

Gary

 

How to Obtain a Facility Clearance (FCL)

Ah, the great bane of many start up federal contractors is how does one obtain a Classified Facility Clearance (FCL)?  You cannot pursue classified contracts without one and you cannot obtain one without having a classified contract…a classic catch-22!  Hopefully, the process will be clearer by the time you finish reading this post.

Your company will need a facility clearance to pursue or team with another company for classified work and to have the ability to hold clearances for your employees.  As a Government Contractor, having a facility clearance is vital to growing your business and going after classified opportunities.  So how do you go about obtaining an FCL and having a classified Cage Code?

There are two way to obtain an FCL.  The first is to win a classified contract. The Government will issue an DD Form 254 which allows you to apply for a FCL through the Defense Security Service (DSS). http://www.dss.mil/  However, the actually ability to bid and win a classified contract without a FCL is difficult at best as many proposals require a company to already have one.

The best way forward is the second option which is to be sponsored as a subcontractor by a company holding a classified contract.  As part of the subcontract, the prime contractor will prepare a DD Form 254 allowing you to request an FCL from the Defense Security Service (DSS).

So how can you find a sponsor?  You will need to build relationships with larger primes that may be willing to bring you on.  There are many successful business owners that understand the difficulties of starting out and are often willing to provide a leg up.  As a business owner, you have to go out into the contracting community to establish yourself.  If you have set aside status as a SDVOSB, it can be beneficial for the prime to establish a working relationship with you as there are several small business set asides where larger companies cannot bid as a prime and must be a subcontractor under a small business.  The bottom line is you will need to prove that you will be a valuable partner and will bring value to the relationship. Other small companies have done and continue to do so and so can too.

For a start up business, subcontracting to other established contractor is not only a way to obtain past performance, but to also obtain a facility clearance.

Once you have found a company to sponsor your facility clearance, there are a slew of paperwork requirements through DSS.  I’ve posted about the about the process here http://wp.me/p4xkC1-2g.

Until then, go out and take action today!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

Building your Pipeline

If your business is looking to pursue Government contracts, you will need to find opportunities that match your NAICS Code.  What the heck is a NAICS Code you might be asking yourself.  NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System.

The http://www.census.gov states, “The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.”

You can find the various NAICS codes here:  http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/

So what does all this mean?  The Federal government uses NAICS codes to categorize contracting opportunities.  For example, the primary NAICS codes used by Whetstone Security Group is 541611, Investigation Services.   This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing investigation and detective services.  We use the NAICS codes to search for opportunities in FebBizOpps.gov, https://www.fbo.gov/ the Government portal for Federal contracting opportunities.  However, you can also select other NAICS codes that match your business.  When you register in the System for Awards Management http://www.SAM.gov, https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/##11v  You will want to identify and list all the NAICS codes that apply to your business.

Once you register in FebBizOpps, you can watch opportunities, see other contractors who are interested in the opportunity and obtain automated email notifications when there has been an update or change to the opportunity.  When you see opportunities that you want to pursue, you add these opportunities to your pipeline.  Your pipeline is the lifeblood of a Federal Contractor.  It is the sole purpose of your business existence – to pursue and win contracts.

It is important to manage your pipeline closely to get ahead of opportunities before they are released.  There are other commercial tools available to companies and are used by all the bigger contracting firms. One of the most popular is Gov Win, http://www.deltek.com/products/govwin which offers a 30-day free trail.  However, you should stick with FBO.gov until your business is generating enough revenue to cover all your expenses.

There are also commercially available tools to track your pipeline opportunities, but for now you can used a spreadsheet.  Some basic information you will want to track is the Agency the procurement falls under, the NAICS code, if it is a set-aside, the estimated value, and your estimate of your chance of winning.  These numbers will go into how you develop your fiscal year budget for the next year and what your estimated revenue will look like.

You should also approach other companies that are pursing the opportunity and try to join their team.  This is the primary way that start ups gain enough past performance to pursue (prime) opportunities on the own.  Joining a larger prime has many advantages for a newly form SDVOSB, VOSB or other set aside category.

On my next post, I’ll talk about teaming and how one goes about obtaining the holy grail of many small businesses – a classified facility clearance (FCL) and a classified cage code.

With Love and Respect,

Gary

How to Compete for Federal Contracts

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,

Gary

 

The Basics

What are the essential elements needed to start your business journey?

There are thousands of online sources available to you but a good starting point is the Small Business Administration. (Concerning writing a business plan, you may have to write one at some point, but do not let it stand in your way — take action today).  http://www.sba.gov/content/follow-these-steps-starting-business

Most of these steps can be completed in a manner of minutes (please perform your due diligence).

1.  What do you want to do?  If you have business experience, a hobby, or something that you have a passion for, use it as the base to determine the type of business you would like.

2. Name your business. Check to see if the name of your business is available – I believe all States provide this service.  In Virginia where I live, you can check for name distinguishability at https://sccefile.scc.virginia.gov/NameAvailability

3. Choose the Type of Entity. Determine what type of entity will work best for your business e.g. Limited Liability Corporation, Corporation, and etc.

For WSG, we chose to be incorporated as an S corporation; for Connectify Social, we chose an Limited Liability Corporation.  You need to decide what will work best for you.  http://www.sba.gov/content/business-structure-and-tax-implications

4.  Register with Your State. Register your business through your State Corporation Commission.   http://www.scc.virginia.gov/clk/formfee.aspx

5. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-%28EIN%29-Online

6.  Obtain a Business License. Check with your local Government to obtain a business license.  Local Governments generally have resources available to help you launch your business.

Obviously these are just the initial steps to start your journey, but your business will soon be growing and evolving in remarkable ways and directions you might not have expected.

Here’s to you and your new business venture!

Gary

Getting Started

With any new challenge, just getting started is the hard part.  So how do you turn your business idea into reality?  My advice is to not over think it.  Over thinking or waiting until you have the perfect solution, plan, partners, and etc. is a prescription for inaction and unrealized dreams.

Step 1.  Write down your vision of how your business will look, feel, smell like (especially useful if you are opening a bakery), the culture you wish to establish and your financial goals.

Step 2.  Working backwards, mark out milestones for your business over the next 12 months.

Step 3.  Take action – launch the business and get started.  Trust me, you will work out the details as you build out your business.

Step 4.  Take action each and every day.  Action will keep your dreams alive; inaction leads to the death of dreams.

Step 5.  Do not let resistance defeat you.  Resistance is your enemy.  Keep step 4 alive by doing something for your business each and everyday.

Starting a business really is easy as that.  Really.

I’ll go into more detail on further posts.

You can do this and succeed.

With Love and Respect,

Gary