business with one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the world
– the U.S.
Department of Defense (DoD) – can seem like a daunting business strategy for
many small business owners. Many often mistakenly believe that only the “big
guns” can really compete for DoD business.
truth is that the government designates a significant amount of procurement
contracts to small businesses each year. For example, in fiscal year 2009
(ending Sept 30, 2009) the Department of Defense set aside over 22% of its
prime contracts to small business and over 37% of its sub-contracting
This doesn’t even take into account the set asides given to small businesses
owned by veterans, women, minorities and disadvantaged businesses.
a large chunk of change!
whether you are selling a service, reselling a product, or marketing your own
proprietary product to the federal government, the procurement process can be
challenging for a small business to navigate.
from treating defense contracting as a long term business strategy, there are
many other considerations that you will need to navigate through and check off
on your way to securing your share of what can be a very profitable line of
business. Here are some resources from the government and small business expert
communities that can help you get started.
Understanding Federal Government
you delve into the world of defense contracting, it’s worth getting an
understanding of government contracting in general. A good place to start is
the government’s Business.gov
Web site for small businesses. Its Federal
Contracting Guide can guide you through how to become a
federal contractor, find business opportunities, and the rules and regulations
that federal contractors need to follow.
excellent resource is this brief downloadable PDF from OPEN Forum – The Essentials: Securing a Share of Government Business – which summarizes best practices for selling to the
government plus how you can use government resources, such as the Small Business
Administration (SBA), to your
The Ins and Outs of Defense
Contracting for Small Business
registering to do business with the DoD to finding your target market to
finding and securing contract opportunities, the DoD’s Office
of Small Business Programs (DoD OSBP)
should be your one-stop source for everything you need to become a defense
contractor or sub-contractor.
Check out the Guide to DoD Contracting Opportunities – A Step-by-Step Approach to the DoD Marketplace for easy-to-read information on how to establish yourself as a defense contractor.
you know which defense agencies you wish to target, take advantage of the
numerous small business offices and comprehensive Web sites – such as www.sellingtoarmy.info – maintained by at least 15 DoD agencies to help small
businesses explore opportunities and resources.
Government Rules and Regulations that Impact
navigating the defense contracting maze presents its own challenges and
opportunities, depending on the nature of your business you may also encounter
regulatory practices that apply to the aerospace and defense industry.
example, if you wish to pursue contracting opportunities that involve overseas
deployments, such as Iraq or
Afghanistan, you will need
to familiarize yourself with the Defense Base Act, which provides workers’
compensation protection to civilian employees working outside the U.S on U.S. military bases or under a contract with the
government for public works or for national defense.
are also restrictions on the sale of products grown or manufactured outside the
U.S. as stipulated by the
on these and other laws and regulations that govern aerospace and defense
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