By Jeremy Higbee
Even though there are budget problems right now, the government spends a great deal on government contractors, particularly small business owners. In 2009, the government spent $96.8 billion in contracts with small businesses. That’s a whole lot of money. Any small business owner or entrepreneur would be remiss to not take advantage of that large of a revenue opportunity.
That being said, it’s probably best not to attempt to rely solely on government contracting opportunities as a single source of income for your business. There are companies like Lockheed Martin that develops military weapons, jets, and satellites that rely solely on government contracts that run up into the hundreds of billions. Unless you’re planning on make the next F-35, I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket.
Since you’ll be dealing with the government, there’s going to be a lot of paperwork, registering, and seemingly pointless hoops to jump through. Here are the hoops that need to be navigated in order to benefit from Uncle Sam’s federal contracts:
We have talked a little bit about the different reports that the state requires corporations and limited liability companies to file, but what happens if you forget to send your annual report in? Or what if you find that you simply don’t have the money to pay for the franchise board tax, or the filing fees associated with all of that regulatory paperwork ? Well, you may find your business placed in ‘bad standing,’ branded with a non-compliant mark and, if you don’t take any action to get back into good standing, your business could be involuntary dissolved. Over the years we have talked to a few business owners who were forced through the dissolution process, and often one of the first questions they ask is ‘how do I reinstate my business after dissolution?’ Luckily it is usually a straight-forward process, though it can get a bit expensive.
Get all of your ducks in a row!
This week’s letter-based-topic might seem like a stretch since, really, the subjects are trademarks and copyrights – neither of which begin with an r. But putting registered in front of those terms is not just a cop-out that a lazy writer has used to fit with a weekly theme. There are actually very important distinctions between registered and unregistered intellectual properties.
Technically, you do not have to register trademarked or copyrighted property. An unregistered trademark simply needs the little ™ symbol next to it and, voilà, the property is unofficially trademarked. You can even establish a proprietary right to the mark by using it in the market.
The same general principle is also applicable to copyrights. When the United States signed onto the Berne Convention in the late 80′s, it effectively agreed to see an author copyrighting his or her work as an automatic right. That means that, thanks to the Berne Convention, no registration is required to copyright something in the United States.
If your company is currently working with the government, or thinking about jumping into the government space, a GSA Schedule Contract can open up additional opportunities and make your business more attractive to federal buyers. A GSA Schedule is a contract that can be used by federal agencies to purchase a company’s products and services; it contains pre-negotiated pricing, terms, and conditions which streamline the government sales process. More importantly, a GSA Schedule Contract allows small businesses to capture some of the $32 billion in annual spending through the program – over 37% of which was spent with small businesses last year. Agencies can even set aside contracts exclusively for small businesses through the GSA Schedule program.
For the most part, you can submit a proposal to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract at any time. However, before you begin the process, take the time to assess your current situation. Where does your company need to be in terms of your organizational structure, financials, and past performance in order to obtain a GSA Schedule Contract? What is your plan for when you receive a GSA Schedule Contract? What resources and structure do you need in place to successfully utilize the contract? Continue reading
The possible extension of Bush-era tax breaks, health care reform and an increase in the rate of hiring in November suggests that the economy is gaining momentum. Unfortunately, few expect a change in the 9.6 percent unemployment rate. Yet despite this constant, many economists are optimistic about the Nations hiring forecast.
Two pillars of the economy- jobs and consumer spending- appear to be on the upswing. Factories are producing, auto sales are rising and new businesses pop up daily. Also, applications for initial unemployment benefits hit a two year low in November. Also, 151,000 new jobs were created in November. Continue reading