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Extra! Extra!

Where to look for government contracts.

If your small business is looking for a big contract that'll catapult you into the big leagues, Uncle Sam wants you. If you think small businesses don't have the resources to compete for government contracts, check out the treasure trove of free information the government provides on the Web.

For entrepreneurs seeking information on government contracts, CBDNet (http://cbdnet.gpo.gov), Commerce Business Daily's Web site, is the place to be. That's where you'll find the business opportunity listings printed in Commerce Business Daily. This newspaper publishes a daily list of proposed government procurement actions, contract awards of more than $25,000 that may result in subcontracting agreements, sales of government property, and other procurement information, including seminars on how to land government contracts. Each hard-copy edition (available by subscription for $275 annually) contains 500 to 1,000 notices, as all federal procurement offices are required to announce proposed procurement actions and contract awards of more than $25,000 in Commerce Business Daily. Although you can't look at each issue on the Web site, you can "Browse the CBD" to look at listings from the past 15 issues of Commerce Business Daily, or search by date posted in the "Fielded Search" section.

Before delving into the site's listings, brush up on your government lingo. You'll find commonly used abbreviations in the "Reader's Guide" section. If you want to narrow your search to your company's industry, print out "Classification Codes" and "Numbered Notes." In the "Search FAQ," you'll find more helpful hints, such as that using "8a" and "set aside" as search fields reveals government procurement actions set aside especially for small businesses.

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This article was originally published in the August 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Extra! Extra!.

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