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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.

By Mark Amtower

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Must Do:
1. Determine your business' size, as defined by the SBA. Go to 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 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.

Register at the D&B website,, if you haven't already. Your DUNS number will also be your CCR number. While you're on the website, check your D&B rating and make sure it's good. If it's not, contact D&B through its website and provide enough data to improve your rating. Contracting officers check a company's D&B rating to make certain it's financially stable.

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