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How to Set Your Business Up to Bid on Federal Government Contracts The federal government is the largest buyer of goods or services in the U.S. Here is what you need to do to prepare for doing business with it.

By Catherine Clifford

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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To supercharge your revenue, consider doing business with the largest U.S. buyer of everything from oatmeal cookies to new tires, the federal government. Navigating the many layers of bureaucracy can be challenging. Here are essential steps to getting set up to search for and win work from Uncle Sam, courtesy a new e-guide from Microsoft.

1. Obtain a D-U-N-S number.
To do business with the federal government, you will need what's called a Data Universal Numbering System identification number. It's free, and you can do it online at this Dun & Bradstreet website or calling by (866) 705-5711.

Related: Loans, Contracts and Jobs: How Federal Spending Cuts Could Affect You

2. Figure out your industry identification number so you can search for available work.
These product and service codes are called Federal Supply Codes and Product Service Codes (FSC/PSC) in the Department of Defense, and can be found here, and more generally, your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, which can be found here.

3. Learn if you qualify for preferential business status.
You will have to register with the System for Award Management to determine if your business is considered "small" for your industry or whether you qualify for any preferential status, such as woman-owned, HUBZone certified, or veteran-owned, to name a few.

Related: A Cluster of Clusters: Where the SBA Is Investing in Regional Economies

4. Get your business protocols up to government standard.
You are going to need to have business insurance, high-speed Internet, a business plan that demonstrates your ability to do potential work for Uncle Sam, working capital available so that you can efficiently carry out any jobs you do win, and meticulous recordkeeping to protect yourself in case a government auditor wants to see how long you are spending and how much money you are spending devoted to a particular government job.

What other recommendations do you have for fellow entrepreneurs that want to get set up to do work for the government? Leave a note below and let us know.

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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