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Solid Tips for Improving Your Bid's Chances

If you've been in business for even a short while, you've invested your time and efforts in identifying bid opportunities. You diligently filled out all the necessary documents, put the insurance and bond requirements in place, met the time restrictions, obtained the correct license and so on. Then you sit back waiting to hear if you were the lucky one who was awarded this project. Months pass and inquiries fall on deaf ears. Finally you discover another company received the award.

Why did they get it and not you?

Maybe they were registered with the federal government's CCR (Central Contractor Registration). If you're not registered on CCR, all your paperwork went in the round file without being read. I guarantee it.

On large commercial and government RFPs (Request for Proposal) there is a section that references FARs (Federal Acquisition Regulations). The FARs book has more than 53 sections. The index alone is more than 100 pages. Just thinking about it could scare you off. The good news is you don't have to read the whole thing, just the parts identified on the RFP. It's not difficult to use once you know how to read and use it. You don't have to buy it either, as it is available online.

Section 52.212 states registration on CCR is a requirement. If you're not registered on CCR, you've lost the bid and your time invested in filling it out. No one will take the time to tell you why.

Are you tired of wasting your time? Obviously, you're not afraid of hard work. If you're like me, you'll work hard every time. But it's so frustrating when that time is wasted.

Although getting registered on CCR is the focus, getting your D-U-N-S (Data Universal Numbering System) number from The Dun & Bradstreet Corp. (also called D&B) is your first step. Everything is keyed off this number and you will not be able to register on CCR without it.

A D-U-N-S number is a unique nine-digit sequence that is recognized as the universal standard for identifying and keeping track of businesses worldwide.

Type the following link into your computer browser - http://www.dnb.com/US/duns_update - or click here and follow the instructions for getting a new D-U-N-S number.

You can expect it will take up to seven days to get assigned your D-U-N-S number. Record this number. Don't lose it. It will be more difficult to get a new number than it was getting the first one.

There is no fee associated with this number. However, D&B will try to sign you up for additional services. I chose none of the additional options.

Another note: Perhaps you're a woman-owned small business, a minority-owned small business, a veteran-owned or disabled-veteran-owned small business, or HUD-registered. Businesses with these designations can be registered as "disadvantaged" with the CCR. These companies will receive preferential bid awards - if the awarding entity knows about you.

Did you know federal law establishes a government-wide contract award goal for disadvantaged business types? The mandate is 5 percent of the total value of all prime contracts and subcontracts awarded for each fiscal year. Often the bid opportunities will be identified as "set-asides" to make sure only a specific disadvantaged-type company can bid on them.

I'm thinking you're getting the idea by now that just positioning your company for bidding is a lot of work. Once that is accomplished, you still have to find the RFPs.

The ultimate goal is to get bids awarded to you and then get paid for the work you performed, right? Obviously the process includes several steps. You could research all of this information on your own. If so, get ready to use up a lot of time and effort.

Or you could find out from me. I've taken the time to learn how to do it properly. I understand how to register the disadvantaged designations. I am a WOSB and a SDVOSB (Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business).

You can consult my workbook, "Taking Advantage of Being Disadvantaged." Or you can attend my seminar, "Cracking the Code," at the Concrete Decor Show & Decorative Concrete Spring Training. Bring your D-U-N-S number and your laptop with you. The course fee includes my workbook.

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