This tip is from an article published in our February KYPTAC Newsletter through Govology. If you have any questions about this topic, please contact your KYPTAC Consultant. Not a client? Sign up here.
Industry experts estimate that 70% - 80% of small businesses have issues with their SBA profile. The problem is that incomplete and inaccurate profiles make it difficult for government buyers and prime contractors to find the right contractors for the opportunities they have available. This article will address the top SBA profile issues and suggestions for solving them.
Issue # 1. Your capabilities narrative is missing or not optimized. Capabilities narrative is one of the first fields (on the list of results) procurement professionals see when searching the SBA's Dynamic Small Business Search (dsbs.sba.gov). It provides a snapshot of a firm's capabilities and helps potential buyers identify qualified candidates for the opportunity at hand. Make sure your SBA profile has a well-written capabilities narrative highlighting your core competencies.
Issue # 2. Your profile has no keywords. Procurement professionals commonly search the SBA's small business database by keywords. Hence, you should always list your services as keywords in your SBA profile. For example, if you do a service like "HVAC," but your capabilities narrative or the keywords section of your SBA profile is missing the keyword "HVAC," you will not show up in search results.
Issue # 3. Your profile has no URL leading to your website, or your URL is improperly formatted. If you have a website that allows prospective customers to learn about your business and your capabilities, make sure to include the URL of your website in your profile. But that's not all. The URL must also be formatted correctly: it should have http:// or https:// before www.yourdomain.com. The best practice is to go directly to your website, copy the URL, and paste it directly into the field.
Issue # 4. Your profile is missing relevant NAICS codes. Take a closer look at the NAICS codes in your SBA profile: Are they relevant to your core competencies? Your goal is to include all NAICS codes directly related to what your business does. Keep in mind that while your NAICS codes show up in your SBA Profile, you can only change them by updating your SAM.GOV profile. If you are looking for a good market research course to help you determine if you are listing correct NAICS codes in your profile, check out Market Research For Small Businesses Selling to Big Buyers on Govology. You can access this course at no cost to you as a PTAC client. Contact your counselor for more information and a discount code.
Other Issues. Your SBA profile also allows you to provide information for business type percentages, bonding (for construction firms), and performance history references. Unfortunately, many contractors leave these fields blank, which is a big mistake. For example, if you were a contracting officer looking for construction firms, wouldn't you want to know their bonding capacity? In sum, missing important information from your SBA profile may cost you an opportunity.
Bottom line: Don't leave blank fields in your SBA profile. When completing a vendor profile, take your time, do it right, and be thorough. Doing so will increase your odds of being found by procurement professionals working in government agencies and companies seeking specialized contractors for subcontracting opportunities.