Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Federal Government Contracting Small Business Subcontracting Tips

Brookhaven Science Associates LLC/Brookhaven National Laboratory

Visit our Small Business Program web page at: https://www.bnl.gov/ppm/SDB/ Research what we do. If we buy what you sell, send the SBLO your one page capability statement.

Jill Clough-Johnston, Small Business Liaison Officer 631 344-3173 or clough@bnl.gov https://www.bnl.gov/ppm/SDB/

Tips to help you become successful in federal government contracting:

Steps to take BEFORE bidding on a federal government opportunity:

To be eligible to bid on a federal government bid, you must identify if you are:

A Small Business? Identify your North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code for your industry and the related U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standard, which is how you determine if you are considered small for that particular NAICS code. The size standards are expressed in terms of either: Annual revenues (averaged over the last three years) or Total number of employees. http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation- structure/contracting/contracting-officials/eligibility-size-standards AND

Are you:
  • Organized for profit?
  • Located in the United States? Or do you operated primarily within the U.S.A. or make significant contributions to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials, or labor?
  • Independently owned and operated?
  • Not dominant in the field of operation in which you are bidding for federal government contracts?
  • A sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form

If you are a small business, do you also qualify for one of the other small business subcategories?

Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government- contracting-programs/small-disadvantaged-businesses

A sub-set of SDB is the 8(a) Business Development Program (8a.) Pursue the free formal certification, if you meet the SBA requirements for the 8(a) program. https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/8a-business-development- program and https://certify.sba.gov/

HUB-Zone Small Business (HUB) Pursue the free certification, if you meet the SBA requirements for the HUB-Zone Program. https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting- programs/hubzone-program and https://certify.sba.gov/

Woman-Owned Small Business (WOB) https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/how-start- business/business-types/women-owned-businesses

A sub-set of WOB is the Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/women-owned- small-businesses A free formal SBA Certification is required if you meet the SBA requirements for this program. https://certify.sba.gov/

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOB) https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/service-disabled-veteran- owned-businesses

Note: New York State (NYS) Office of General Services (OGS) has an SDVOB NYS Certification http://ogs.ny.gov/moved.asp Not NYS, check if your states OGS has a similar program.

Veteran-Owned Small Business
(VOB) SBA Veteran Resources to help you grow your business https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/how-start-business/business-types/veteran-owned- businesses?SOCMEDJULVET=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Register in the System for Award Management (SAM) All federal government contractors must be registered in this free database prior to the award of a federal government contract. When a small business registers in SAM, there is an opportunity to fill out a small business profile. This profile populates the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS). Federal contracting officers use DSBS to identify potential small business contractors and small businesses can also use DSBS to identify other small businesses for teaming and joint venturing. https://www.sam.gov/portal/SAM/#1#1

Bidding on a Government Bid:

Once you have done the above - DO YOUR HOMEWORK on the specific Agency or Prime Contractor that you want to do business with. Research what they do and what/how they buy BEFORE you contact them.

Contact them only if you can meet their needs. Prepare a 30-second elevator speech, be professional in your presentation, concisely identify what problem you can solve with your specific product and/or service, and later follow up to make the sale.

Research Your Potential Federal Customer – Government and/or Prime Contractor:

Many federal agencies have what is known as an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). These offices work to identify opportunities for small businesses; they are your advocate and entry point into that Agency. http://www.osdbu.gov/members.html. Each agency releases a forecast of anticipated procurement activities. Once you have reviewed an agency’s forecast and used systems like FPDS and USASpending.gov (see below) to discern if there may be opportunities, then reach out to the OSDBU and try to build a relationship. Additionally, most OSDBUs hold training/events to help small businesses. To learn more about OSDBUs and events, visit www.osdbu.gov.

Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) – A Google-like search to help you find federal contracts and procurement data. https://www.fpds.gov/fpdsng_cms/index.php/en/

USASpending.Gov https://www.usaspending.gov/Pages/Default.aspx

The website is a searchable database that contains information for each federal award. This information can be used to help you identify procurement trends within the federal government and as well as potential opportunities.

Research how your business stacks up with the competition. Benchmark your business against competitors, map your customers, competitors and suppliers, and locate the best places to advertise.

Find a Mentor - Don’t go it alone - consult a mentor for advice. He/she is experienced, successful and willing to provide advice and guidance. FREE ASSISTANCE /mentoring can be received, on any federal government contracting topic, from:

National Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC): http://www.aptac-us.org/new/

PTAC - Long Island, New York:
PTAC - LaGuardia College Long Island City, NY 11101
Edgard Hernandez, Director
718-482-5289 Ehernandez@lagcc.cuny.edu

National Small Business Administration (SBA): https://www.sba.gov/

SBA - Long Island, New York:
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Peter Fehnel - LI Branch Manager
Certification (631) 454-0750 x218 Peter.Fehnel@sba.gov
SBA – New York City:
New York:26 Federal Plaza, New York City, NY
Clyde Martin – 8(a)/HUBZone
(212) 264-5276 Clyde.martin@sba.gov

National Small Business Development Centers (SBDC): http://www.sba.gov/tools/local- assistance/sbdc

SBDC - Long Island, New York:
Farmingdale State College
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Erica Chase-Gregory, Director
(631) 370-8888 erica.chase@farmingdale.edu

New York City College of Technology:
Brooklyn, NY 11201 Robert Piechota, Director
(718) 797-0187 RPiechota@citytech.Cuny.edu

Stony Brook University: 
Stony Brook, NY 11794
Bernie Ryba, Acting Director
(631) 632-9070 bryba@notes.cc.sunysb.edu

National Women’s Business Centers (WBC): https://www.sba.gov/tools/local- assistance/vboc  Training/counseling to start and grow your small WOB businesses.

Other Long Island, NY Resources:

Finding Government Agency Contracting Opportunities:

www.fedbizopps.gov Federal contracting opportunities - valued over $25,000.
www.gsa.gov/portal/content/101195 General Services Administration (GSA) subcontracting.
www.bidlink.net/ Combines over 100 databases covering army, navy, air force, marines, etc.
www.nyscr.ny.gov/ The New York State Contract Reporter for NYS bidding opportunities.
www.govcb.com/ Search for the latest bid notices from the U.S./Canadian.
http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/beyond.php U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) & DOE National Labs:

Finding Prime Contractors and Subcontracting Opportunities:

Federal Law states that any federal government contract over $700,000 ($1.5M for construction) MUST

have a Subcontracting Plan (SCP), and that SCP MUST set specific goals for buying from small business.

SBA Subcontracting Network (SUBNET) Go to: https://www.sba.gov/contracting/finding- government-customers/subcontracting/sub-net

Prime Contractors flow the SCP small business goals requirements down to their subcontractors (on subcontracts over the SCP threshold). So ask the OSDBU for a list of large business prime contractors http://www.osdbu.gov/members.html

Supplier Connection

Powered by IBM, it’s a free, cloud-based business-to-business community.

Enables collaboration between small businesses and the supply chains of Fortune 500 corporations, mid-market firms, and other enterprises.



  1. Create a one-page capabilities statement of the products and/or services you want to sell (a few bulleted items works the best). Be sure to include your small business & what type(s); what you sell; and all your contact information.
  2. Follow up – Be assertive NOT aggressive!!! Respect the Buyer’s and/or SBLO’s time (remember, everyone is doing double duty). See if they received your marketing letter and ask them if you can schedule a meeting with them to discuss the various ways that you can help their organization.
  3. If you have the type of product and/or service that can be bought on a credit card - be prepared to accept a Government Bank Card (talk to your bank about how to set it up).

Keep on top of your Cybersecurity

It’s one of the biggest threats businesses of all sizes face. More than 75% of data breaches target small and medium-sized businesses. 60% of small businesses affected by cybercrime will close within 6 months of the breach, according to a study by McAfee.

Contact your internet service provider to check on your security options, and find out where your network protection may be falling short. Then talk with your employees about creating strong passwords, backing up data regularly, etc.

Be sure to communicate to your customers, your online safety policies - especially if you’re offering ecommerce services. Be open with customers who may have questions about the security of their orders or personal information, and welcome discussion.

Don’t forget, keep all the federal government databases you are registered in updated.

After you are awarded a contract and make final delivery, ask the Buyer for a letter of recommendation on your successful completion of that contract. Once you receive the letter, use it as a marketing tool with your next prospective customer for similar work.

A huge benefit of contracting with the federal government is:Federal government agencies have an obligation to pay every "proper invoice" within 30 days after its receipt. Under the Prompt Payment Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3901-3905), an agency that fails to pay within the required time will be liable for interest on the delinquent payment.

Interest begins to accrue the day after the required payment date and ends only when the government makes payment. The government must pay all required interest automatically. The contractor is not required to file a claim for the interest.

Remember - - - - DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!

Prepared by: Jill Clough-Johnston, Small Business Liaison Officer (August 2016)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

IRS Urges Public to Stay Alert for Scam Phone Calls

The IRS continues to warn consumers to guard against scam phone calls from thieves intent on stealing their money or their identity. Criminals pose as the IRS to trick victims out of their money or personal information. Here are several tips to help you avoid being a victim of these scams:
  • Scammers make unsolicited calls.  Thieves call taxpayers claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via phishing email.
  • Callers try to scare their victims.  Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.
  • Scams use caller ID spoofing.  Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
  • Cons try new tricks all the time.  Some schemes provide an actual IRS address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment they make. Others use emails that contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for a reply. These scams often use official IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail that they send to their victims. They try these ploys to make the ruse look official.
  • Scams cost victims over $23 million.  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of about 736,000 scam contacts since October 2013. Nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid over $23 million as a result of the scam.
The IRS will not:
  • Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
Phone scams first tried to sting older people, new immigrants to the U.S. and those who speak English as a second language. Now the crooks try to swindle just about anyone. And they’ve ripped-off people in every state in the nation.
Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

NY Wage Theft Prevention Act - Employer Requirements

The Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) contains requirements for employers regarding statements issued to employees at the time of hire, annual statements to existing employees, information required to be displayed on pay statements and record-keeping.

The WTPA requires you to give a written notice to each new hire and to all employees on or before February 1st of each year.  Information about the Act and the notices can be found on the New York Department of Labor website. Click here to view the fact sheet.

- Notice for Hourly Rate Employees
- Notice for Exempt Employees
- Notice for Employees Paid a Weekly Rate or a Salary for a Fixed Number of Hours (40 or Fewer in a Week)

You must keep the signed and dated notices and acknowledgement for six years and provide a copy to the employee. The notice of acknowledgement should become part of your New Hire Packet, similar to the W-4 form.

Also, please review any reporting requirements related to payments requiring the issuance of any of the various Form 1099's and be aware of the penalties for not preparing and issuing them.

If you have any questions about the Wage Theft Prevention Act, please contact Anthony Attina C.P.A., P.C. at 631.504.6420 or Email Anthony

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Starting a New Business: A Word About Capital

Because of the changes in price levels, the amounts required to start a new enterprise today are substantially above those of a few years ago.  Prices may or may not stabilize around current levels.  Therefore, any dollar figures given at a specific time may be substantially different two or three years later.  The New York State Department of Economic Development maintains detailed data on changes of this order and has material written expressly for the purpose of guiding owners.

Experience has shown, however, that over a period of time there is little variation in certain standard ratios.  It should be noted that in the food service industry, a diner may require twenty times as much capital investment as a roadside stand or luncheonette.  A dry cleaning establishment requires four times the capital needed to start a mail-order service.  A medium sized furniture store might need an investment half as large as that of a moderate volume shoe store.  Generally speaking, a cash and credit business requires at least 50 percent more capital than does a cash business.

How much money does it take to keep a business running?  One way of answering this is to show the different kinds of capital:

This includes all expenses needed before starting the operation of the business (security deposits, pre-advertising, research, etc.).

This includes operating expenses such as wages, rent, advertising, supplies (including stock), heat, electric, telephone, taxes, insurance, interest on borrowed money, repairs, improvements, delivery, etc.  These are commonly lumped together as overhead.

This amount is needed for machinery, fixtures, and all physical aspects of the business.

The buyer should be aware of all three forms of Working Capital.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Starting A New Business: Getting Started

Small Business Characteristics
As a business owner, you must know and meet your customers’ needs. You must select your location with an eye to market centers or neighborhoods. You must hire and train your own staff, arrange for banking services and insurance, do your own buying and record keeping, make your own plant, office, or store layout complete with window displays, and promote customer goodwill while maintaining proper credit control.

Because it is necessary for you to know about the many and varied aspects of business, this blog is designed to help you develop basic managerial knowledge. You cannot become an expert in banking, real estate, insurance, purchasing, inventory control, record keeping, regulation, advertising and credit, but there are certain things you should know about each of these subjects. You should also consider turning to specialists who are available in your community.

Also, look for small business workshops and seminars offered by government agencies (such as the Town of Brookhaven Economic Development Office), chambers of commerce, banks, libraries, educational institutions, and trade and professional organizations. They are frequently listed in the business section of your local newspapers.

Getting Started
By your interest in this blog, it is assumed that you have taken a personal inventory of your skills, aptitudes, likes and dislikes and have decided to be your own boss. Studies show that most small business owners choose to strike out on their own for the following reasons:

  1. Pride in Product/Service
  2. Control
  3. Freedom
  4. Flexibility
  5. Self-reliance
  6. Customer Contact
  7. Income
  8. Employee Contact
  9. Recognition
  10. Privacy
  11. Security
  12. Status
  13. Pride in Self-Achievement

Your interests, experience and knowledge of trends in different trades will determine your selection of the kind of business to operate. Assuming you have already made that decision, how much capital – cash and credit – will you need to start a small business?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Starting a New Business: The Big Idea

Origin of the Business Idea
The origin of the business idea is one of the most mysterious aspects of a new business. Remember the following about any idea for a new business:

  • Always be on the lookout for ideas. They can come from anywhere: your work experience, a hobby – or even your experiences as a consumer when an existing product or service does not meet your needs.
  • Identify a niche. Usually this opportunity area will be a proven idea in a new market or a unique idea in an existing market.
  • Learn everything you can about the business you want to start and the marketplace you will be operating in. This means getting work experience and collecting information so you will know the market inside and out.
  • Make sure your idea is so focused that you can express it clearly in 50 words or less.


  1. Summarize your business idea in 50 words or less.
  2. Where did your business idea originate (from a specific experience, long observation of an industry, a sudden inspiration)?
  3. If your idea is for a new product or service, describe how you expect to get it known and accepted in the marketplace.
  4. If your idea is for an improvement or variation of an existing product or service, describe why customers will use it instead of what is already there.
  5. Describe your market niche in 50 words or less.
  6. List at least three qualifications that you have that will allow you to pursue a business in this market niche (work experience, education, research, reputation, etc.)
  7. What are your two most important personal goals for the next five years?
  8. How will this business help you achieve these personal goals?
  9. List and describe briefly the two most significant barriers you expect while launching and operating your business.
  10. Explain how you expect to overcome these problems.

Testing Your Idea

As you evaluate your idea, keep in mind the following:
  • Market research does not have to be complicated or expensive, but you must do it.
  • Do research to determine whether enough potential customers exist to support your product or service. Use the following sources for statistical and demographic information:

- Library (specifically, the Miller Business Resource Center at the Middle Country Public Library is a valuable resource)
- Computerized databases (available at many libraries)
- U.S. Small Business Administration
- U.S. Bureau of Census
- Trade associations for your industry
- Local Chamber of Commerce

  • Test your idea with potential customers and others who can offer constructive feedback (e.g., friends, relatives, bankers, suppliers, business executives). Keep a written record of responses.
  • Be prepared to make changes based on the responses.
  • Study and evaluate the competition.
  • How will your product or service be an improvement over the competition?
  • Price your product competitively – higher if your product or service improves on an existing one, and lower if it will be equal to what is on the market. Be sure you can make a profit.