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Wyoming Business Tips for Oct. 30-Nov. 5

October 21, 2016

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, Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) program manager

“I have looked into government contracting certifications for my business like the SBA’s 8(a) program and HUBZone certification, but it’s hard to figure out exactly how the application process works. Do you have any tips for how to prepare for these certifications?” Michael, Laramie

Going through any government contracting certification process -- 8(a), HUBZone, veteran-owned small business, woman-owned small business, etc. -- can be an intimidating task if you do not know what to expect.

Getting into the specific details of each certification, and all of the documents required for each, would take a much longer answer. But, below, you will find some general tips that will save a lot of stress when applying for any of the certification programs:

-- Call your PTAC representative first. Our program is available to help with the application process and can explain in a way that is clearer than most of the information you will find searching websites on your own.

-- Be organized. This applies to running any efficient business and is more of a general tip that you ideally should have implemented from the first day of running a business. But, for certification purposes, it pays to have a well-maintained and organized record-keeping system. Having access to organizational documents, such as articles of incorporation, operating agreements and by-laws, and accurate, current financial statements, is vital for most certifications.

-- Find a checklist to track progress. One of the more complicated parts of most certifications, believe it or not, is finding a complete checklist of all the required documents that will be reviewed. There are checklists available, but finding them can be challenging.

-- Take it one step at a time. No matter which certification you are going after, it will take longer than you expect. It is best to tackle one piece at a time and not get overwhelmed by the various tasks you will be required to complete before submitting an application.

-- Be patient. The application process alone may take a matter of weeks, even if you are well organized and prepared. The review process will take even longer, as the offices that review applications and make determinations are constantly inundated with new applications.

Finally, just to reiterate, the PTAC is available to assist and make this sometimes-confusing process more manageable. Although we do not have any influence over whether a company receives certification in any of these programs, we can help prepare a complete application package and increase your odds of success.

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, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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