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The System for Award Management (SAM) and SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) are two Federal registrations that you can use to your advantage to market your business to the Federal government and to other Federal contractors. Here’s a quick overview of each of these sites and a few tips to consider as you’re completing your registrations.
You must be registered on SAM.gov to do work with the Federal government. It is also a tool used by contracting officers and other contractors to do research on businesses. For example, if a contractor is looking for a business in a specific location, with a particular socio-economic status, and that provides a specific service, they can do an advanced search on SAM.gov. As such, it’s important that your SAM profile is accurate and complete. Here are a few tips to consider as you’re doing your SAM registration:
- Include all industries in which you have experience, but don’t go over board and add codes that you have no experience in.
- You can only have one (1) primary NAICS (i.e. the industry from which a majority of your revenue comes from), but you can have as many secondary NAICS as you want (assuming you have experience in those NAICS).
- Make sure all your information is current and accurate. This includes your information with Dun & Bradstreet, which is used to get your DUNS number.
- Read through the entire Representations and Certifications section and look up specific areas that you need to better understand. Misrepresentations can result in penalties.
- When reporting your revenue, take the average of the receipts reported on your Federal business tax returns for the past three years.
- When reporting your employees, take the average for the past 12 months. If you have been in business for less than 12 months, you would take the average number of employees each of the pay periods during which you have been in business.
- At a minimum, you must update your SAM registration annually. However, if there are any changes to your business, including needing to include a specific representation and certification for a particular contract opportunity, you should update your SAM registration as needed.
Based on the information you input in SAM, such as your revenue, number of employees and NAICS, the system will determine if you are small according to SBA’s size standards. If you are a small business, you will then be prompted to register on SBA DSBS at the end of the SAM registration process. Unfortunately, you cannot register on SBA DSBS without going through SAM. In other words, you have to complete your SBA DSBS profile at the same time you are doing your SAM registration. I highly encourage you to do this and don’t skip this step.
Why is the SBA DSBS registration so important? Well, this database is used by government and industry alike to find capable small businesses. As you probably know, the Federal government has small business goals, which are passed down to large businesses. When contracting officers or large primes are looking for businesses to help them meet a specific goal, they often go to DSBS to find small businesses to help them fulfill their goals.
Your DSBS profile should stand out against your competitors so take time to do it well. Here are few tips to help you do this:
- Your capabilities narrative is the first thing that is seen when conducting a search, so it should be easy to read, provide enough information to establish what your business does, and identify the certifications your business has, such as 8(a) or HUBZone.
- Include various key words that describe your business, products, and services. You want to make sure your business comes up when doing a search, so include as many keywords as possible, including general and specific words/phrases.
- Make sure you include bonding levels, if applicable.
- You should include references/performance history. Provide all the information requested in this section, such as contract start and end date and value. You should include recent references, not old and outdated references. Additionally, your references should reflect the various industries you do business in.
For more information on this or other issues relevant to small businesses in Federal contracting, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.