Which Goverment Certifications to apply for first

SBC Consultants JPG


 Obtaining a Government Certification for your business can a confusing process. Which certifications to apply for and which ones would benefit you most?

You must first identify with whom you would like to do business with? Have you seen more bids with the Federal or State Governments? Your answer may be either one or both., If so, we recommend you apply for all, however this may be time consuming and although will help you in the long run, may not be an immediate priority.

Let’s assume for a moment that you would benefit from both the Federal and State Certifications. We recommend you apply for the easiest ones first, in order to get in to the game now. This will allow you to begin working on marketing your firm as a certified agency.

Below is a list of Certifications and their complexities:


1. SBA’s Women Owned Small Business (WOSB): EASY

    The WOSB is one of the easiest certifications to obtain. This is because it is a designation rather than an actual certificate. Obtaining the WOSB Certification will allow you to bid on the 5% set-asides for those businesses designated as WOSB. The process is EASY because there is not physical application process. The requirements are that you register with the various Government sites and upload documents to the repository self-certifying your firm.

2. Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE): MEDIUM

   The WBE is a certification reserved for Women owned businesses only. It mimics the WOSB certification but is verified by one of 5 SBA approved agencies. This certification has a more complex process than the WOSB because it requires a full application and supporting documentation. Your information will go through a process with the agency and you wil be visited by a representative assuring your business indeed is what you represent. I typically advise our clients to obtain this certification if it is being required by a vendor. A physical certificate is issued to the applicant firm.

3. Minority Business Enterprise (MBE): MEDIUM

   The MBE is a national certification given by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. They are one of the nations leading corporate membership organizations. They match a firms goods and services with those of large corporations who intern purchase your product. Think of it as a club where members help each other by purchasing each others product. This certification includes an application and supporting documentation much like the WBE above.

4. SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program: DIFFICULT

   The SBA 8(a) program is the most lucrative and most difficult to achieve. There are approximately 7,000 approved 8(a) firms in the country. 23% of all Federal Contracts MUST go to 8(a) certified firms. Secondly, an 8(a) certified firm is eligible for soul source awards which means that once they have built their reputation in the program they may get contracts without even bidding against other 8(a) certified firms. Thirdly, if certified and bidding against a non-8(a) certified firm, you will get a 5% bidding preference giving you an advantage over your competitive bidder. The process may take anywhere between 3-6 months depending on how much information is requested by the SBA. For those looking for the greatest benefit, the 8(a) certification allows you to grow your business significantly.


1. Metro’s Disadvantage Business Enterprise: MEDIUM

   The DBE certification is the States premier certification allowing 25% of all state set-asides to be reserved for certified firms. Most people think Metro is the subway and bus systems, but contracts are given to a variety of industries. We have seen them as diversified as ink jet suppliers and marketing. So to think that if you are a service business and don’t qualify think again. Having this certification is a big deal and if obtained will open new doors for you. The process includes an application and supporting documentation to be mailed to the certifying agency. approval can take up to 3 months.

2. Department of General Services Small Business and Disabled Veterans Certification (SB)/(DVBE): EASY

   The Department of General Services serves as the business manager for the State of California. They offer two certifications, the SB and DVBE. Both are online based certifications. Typical certification time can be within a few hours or weeks depending on the type of industry. For instance, service based businesses can be certified very quickly while manufacturing companies need to upload documentation which then needs to be verified by a DGS officer. The DVBE certification is reserved for veterans who are at least 10% disabled and honorably discharged. Documents such as dd214 and discharge papers need to be uploaded.

3. Supplier Clearinghouse Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certification: EASY

   Supported by The  California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), which regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies. The MBE certification is an online based certification which is fairly easy to do. Certification can take up to 2 weeks depending on the complexity of the applicant.

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Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.

8(a) Economically Disadvantaged Explained

SBC Consultants JPG

(818) 551-9400


The SBA 8(a) Certification, like other Certifications have rules an guidelines which each business must qualify for prior to applying. Below is the clarification on the Economically Disadvantaged Rule.

 Economically Disadvantaged:

A. Personal Income- The SBA requires that the Individual claiming Disadvantage must have a Personal Income less than $250,000 on average for the past 3 years. If the 3 year average is greater than $250k you are no eligible. Once admitted in to the program, this threshold increases to $350,000.

B. Personal Net Worth- The individual claiming disadvantage must not have a Personal Net Worth greater than $250,000. This does not include, the equity you possess in your personal residence, any retirement accounts you have or the equity in your business. The reason for this being, all of these assets are assumed to be used for your business at one time or another. However, if you do own Investment properties or other business, the equity in each will be calculated toward your personal net worth.


Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.


Business Planning

As a business consultant, the first skill that I learned when I first began working in the industry is how to develop a business plan. I learned that if done right, the business plan will be the most effective tool in achieving business goals and it will act as a road map for your business.

The following highlights important information a proper business plan should cover:

1. Executive Summary

  • A summary of the following longer report.

2. Use Of Funds

  • If requesting for financing or an investment, this section will lay out in detail how much is being requested and what it will be used for.

3. Investor Proposition

  • If requesting an investment you will need to write the proposition you are proposing, which will include the rate of return.

4. Company Ownership

5. Company Location

6. Exit Strategy

7. The New Concept

  • In this section, you will need to describe what the industry is currently doing and how your concept will be changing the industry.

 8. Departments and Services

  • In this section, you will need to explain the different departments and services in detail (what are you selling the customer?).

9. Market Analysis Summary

  • Researching the market. Your goal is to enter the market and share the piece of the pie with your competitors. Knowing how big the industry is and the per capita spending is very important You will also need to identify your demographics in this section as well.

10. Market Segmentation

  • This section will need to explain the segments of the market in which you anticipate will buy your product and/or service.

11. Market Needs

  • What is the market lacking that you are going to provide?

12. Industry Analysis

  • How large is your market? What has happened to the industry in the past couple of months? What do you think the industry will do in the future and why? What has the trend been for the industry?

13. Competitive Comparison

  • Identify your competitors. Who they are and what do they do? Conduct a SWOT analysis

14. Strategy and Implementation Summary

  • In this section, you will be identifying your goals. Label as short term and long term goals. Usually shot term goals will range from the day you start until the end of the first year. Long term goals will be any goal you have after the first year. Additionally, you will also have immediate goals. What you must accomplish before you open your doors are your immediate goals. All of the aforementioned goals are crucial to identify pre-startup.

15. Marketing Strategy

  • Identify the different marketing strategies you will implement. This includes but is not limited to social media, print advertising, and online advertising. Be clear and specific (how much will each cost?).

16. Management Summary and Gaps

  • Identify the key players in your business. Who will be running the day to day operations of the company? If you plan on hiring new employees in the future, identify the key positions needed and when you anticipate on hiring them.

17. Financial Projections

  • Financial projections should be used as a goal. Identify how much money you would like to make per year or per quarter. Once completed, you will have a good idea of how much you need to sell of one product.