In today’s aggressive business landscape, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to acquire new customers and remain competitive within respective industries. The great ideas have been done, the new ideas are difficult to come by, and good ideas are just…well…okay.
To take the level of difficulty it is to merely exist in today’s business world a step further, let’s assume you are among the group the SBA considers to be socially or economically disadvantaged. You have your own unique set of challenges to overcome that at times can seem irresolvable.
So how does a business like this effectively compete for market share in such a cut-throat environment? The answer though simple, doesn’t come as obvious to everyone. This is as clear as it gets; as a small business owner, you market and work hand-in-hand with the world’s #1 customer, the Federal Government.
While that may scare some of you off, it shouldn’t. In fact it should make you feel excited because businesses of all shapes, sizes, and economic statuses have found HUGE success in what is commonly known as, government contracting.
Let’s dig in a little deeper and talk about a Government Contracting program specific to socially or economically disadvantaged businesses.
About the 8 (a) Business Development Program
According the U.S. Small Business Administration, the 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. It offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and allows them to gain access to the economic mainstream of American society.
Furthermore, the program helps business owners gain a foothold in government contracting, which is where the magic happens.
Benefits of the 8 (a) Business Development Program
Participants who become eligible have the opportunity to receive sole-source contracts, which equates to a yearly ceiling of up to $11 million.
Not too shabby of a number, right? The potential is huge but also doesn’t have to be if your particular firm is not set up to handle large volumes of business. Businesses that are 8(a) certified can also partner with other business owners to bid on contracts allowing them to be a piece of the puzzle, vs the puzzle in its entirety.
Furthermore, 8(a) certified businesses have the opportunity to secure SBA-backed loans as well as ongoing educational and guidance programs such as the Mentor-Protégé Program.
For a quick cheat-sheet on the requirements and benefits of the 8(a) program, download our 2018 8(a) Specification Sheet here for a quick reference to the program.
Are you excited yet?!
So now that we’ve gone over the basics of the program, it’s time to talk about some logistics in regards to HOW you go about registering your business with this government program.
You essentially have two options:
1. You can navigate it on your own, or
2. You can do it with help
We prefer the latter, and here’s why.
It’s a huge time investment.
The application process itself is lengthy to say the least. Vetting a government contracting consulting firm to take on the time involved lends you the ability to keep that valuable resource and put it towards more important activities…such as gearing up for all of the potential work that comes with government contracting programs such as this.
It can be incredibly overwhelming.
The process is confusing. The questions are tough. It’s hard to know where to even begin!
Choosing a company who has in-depth experience to all of the methods involved (and yes it’s basically a science) can truly be a stress-level life saver; as if a business owner doesn’t have enough of that already!
Rejection rates tend to be high.
There is a number floating around the industry that the SBA rejects approximately 70% and questions almost 90% of all 8(a) applications submitted. We can’t confirm or deny this exact number because it changes on a yearly basis however, from experience we have seen a notable number of business owners reach out to us because of a failed first attempt.
The lesson – it’s probably best to just seek expert help from the get-go.
A note from Select GCR:
Select GCR is a consulting firm committed to helping small and medium-sized businesses achieve growth through government contracting. We identify the best path to success for each individual business and assist in the completion of all necessary registrations and certifications. Our strategic involvement simplifies the overall process and allows business owners to focus efforts on their principle business activities.
We proudly maintain a 97% approval rate with applications and registrations submitted on behalf of our clients. For more information or assistance, please visit us at www.selectgcr.com.