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September 23, 2013 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Brett Housholder, Wyoming Entrepreneur PTAC program manager
“I want to get into government contracting and have met all the requirements to be eligible. How do I actually find out what opportunities are available?” Jason, Laramie
Getting into government contracting can seem like a difficult enough process on its own, but even after all the effort of obtaining a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number, registering in the System for Award Management, filling out your profile on the Small Business Administration’s Dynamic Small Business Search site, etc., a business owner still has to know how to find the actual work.
One particularly useful resource for finding opportunities is called Fed Biz Opps (www.fbo.gov). According to law, the federal government must advertise any opportunities with a value of $25,000 or greater.
By posting all such opportunities on the Fed Biz Opps (FBO) website, the government satisfies that requirement. It’s important for business owners to know of this site’s existence because if you hear about a contract being awarded that you never even knew was out there, the government can simply point to the FBO website and basically say, “We advertised it, you just didn’t know where to look.”
The important thing to remember is the $25,000 threshold for this website. This means that any opportunity with a value lower than that doesn’t have to be advertised on this website and, in fact, doesn’t have to be “advertised” anywhere. Smaller opportunities are handled differently, but that’s another topic for another time.
The first time you arrive on the FBO website, it can be tough to figure out how to even get started. If you click on the Opportunities tab and find the Advanced Search option, it can be downright confusing. However, if you take each section of all the available search criteria one at a time, you can make sense of it.
There are two important areas to focus on when searching this site: the Opportunity/Procurement Type section, where you can choose what stage of the award process you want to view; and the NAICS Code section, where you can choose a code that corresponds to the services your business offers and see what sorts of opportunities exist in that area.
There are many ways to use the FBO website, and Wyoming Entrepreneur PTAC representatives are always available to walk you through it and help you get comfortable using this valuable tool.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.