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How to Get Started as a Small Business

By Kristin Ghanem | Harkcon's Contract Manager Congratulations! You’ve taken the leap and decided to start your own small business working in the Federal Government sector! You know that Federal Government contracting could lead to enormous growth for your new company. The government even sets aside specific contracts solely for small business contractors. What is a Small Business? Is your company

  • Organized for profit?

  • Independently owned and operated?

  • Not dominate in its field on a national basis?

Does your company

  • Have a place of business in the US?

  • Operate primarily within the US or make a significant contribution to U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American, products, materials, or labor?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you are a small business! It is easy to assume that you automatically qualify as a small business for the purpose of federal government contracting. However, this is not the case. In addition to the above definition, the SBA also defines most small businesses either in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months or average annual receipts over the past three years. Qualifying as a Small Business To register for federal government contracting as a small business, you must follow industry size standards set by the Small Business Administration (SBA). When you register as a government contractor in the System for Award Management (SAM), you self-certify as small.

  1. Establish NAICS codes and size standards You must identify and select NAICS codes that best describe your business and determine if your company meets the size standards for the selected NAICS codes.

  2. Register as a government contractor Once you have determined that your business is small, you can certify as a small business by registering as a government contractor.

How do you determine the size standard and NAICS codes that best define your business? Where do you register as a government contractor? The next blog post in this series will delve deeper into these requirements. If you would like to contact the author of this blog, send an email to and reference the title, "How to Get Started as a Small Business."

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