Archive for June, 2009

How many times have you said “I need to start my own business,” but never took any action? Maybe you thought it would take too much time or money. Well, you are wrong on both counts. Starting a business in the State of Ohio is easy – just 4 steps – and costs less than $150.00.

Become the CEO you were destined to be by taking these actions NOW.
(more…)

Q: On FBO.gov, I found a Veterans Hospital in need of an Integrated Photovoltaic Roofing System. This was a perfect opportunity for my company and I immediately prepared a proposal. As I submitted it electronically, the on-line system stopped and demanded my CCR # to proceed. Mistakenly optimistic, I hot-linked over to the CCR site, but again, before the elusive # was bestowed, they ordered me to enter a DUNS#. Exasperated, yet unwilling to give up (I spent weeks on that ### proposal and wanted someone to read it!) I contacted the DUNS people for their unique numeric identifier. They were quite pleasant and promised me my DUNS identifier within a week after I gave them my company’s name, address and EIN#. Ooof. I hung up and mused whether I should begin hunting for the EIN# which, if it existed at all, would be found somewhere within my company’s un-filing system. Needless to say, no one read my proposal for the Integrated Photovoltaic Roofing System.

Can you help me make sense of this?

A: No. I cannot make sense of it, but I can explain it to you.
First, for our less informed readers, www.fbo.gov is THE site for federal business opportunities. The feds are the largest purchaser in the free world and buy whatever you sell. This robust site lets you match what you sell to what the feds are buying. But, because the feds use a variety of systems to collect, validate, store, identify, categorize, and electronically share data, your company and its wares must have identifiers. George Washington created the first standardized procurement system and wrote many identifiers himself, including my favorite “ a very good grade of rum for the men” and “the skin and hooves from the cow carcass”. Over the next couple of hundred years, the feds have continued the tradition by creating a variety of identifier systems to track the same information.

These are the numbers you will need to get started (they are free if you follow my instructions):

  1. Employer ID Number (EIN). When incorporating your company, the state awarded you a charter number. You will need this number to complete IRS form SS-4. The IRS will issue your company an EIN.
  2. Upon receiving a company’s EIN and other information, Dun & Bradstreet provides a 9-digit number for each location of a business. It is free at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do
  3. The Central Contractor Registration (CCR) is the primary business database for the U.S. Federal Government and tracks company and financial information. You will need both yourEIN and DUNS numbers to be placed on the CCR. Note: During the CCR process you will also be assigned a CAGE code (Commercial and Government Entity) issued by the Defense Logistics Information Service and also asked to create a MPIN (Marketing Partner ID Number). With MPIN, you can access other fed systems such as the PPIRS (Past Performance Automated System) and the ORCA (Online Representations and Certifications Application. More information is at http://www.ccr.gov/doc/CCRUsersGuide.pdf
  4. Don’t forget your NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System). Developed in collaboration with Mexico and Canada, it classifies all economic activity into 20 industry sectors. You search and self-select NAICS codes for your company at http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/
  5. For each NAICS code, the Small Business Association determines the largest size that a business may be to remain classified and given preferential treatment for federal contracting. www.sba.gov/size

Why in the world would anyone go through this morass to make a sale? Because my friend, government contracting is very, very lucrative. In 2008, Lockheed Martin received contracts valuing $34,598,166,657.

Greg Knudson
Director, Rocket Ventures
knudson@rgp.org