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First Steps

Here's a short list of what you must do and what you should consider before going after government business.

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This story appears in the May 2008 issue of Start Up.

Must Do:

1. Determine your business' size, as defined by the SBA. Go to sba.gov and click on "FAQs" (left navigation bar, fifth item). Then click on "Size Standards" (FAQ No. 18) link. This takes you to the SBA "Size Standards" page, which will help you understand the various small-business classifications.

2. Register your business at the Central Contractor Registration website. Registration is required here before you can be paid. To register, you need two things: your North American Industrial Classification System, or NAICS, code and your Dun & Bradstreet, or DUNS, number. To get your NAICS code, select the industry classification that best describes your business at census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html. Each NAICS code will have an SBA-defined size standard that determines small-business classifications for government contracting purposes. Many companies select a NAICS code that allows them to have small-business status.

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