The SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search is a vital component of any small business’s government marketing strategy. However many vendors either overlook this step or create an ineffective profile on the search, hurting their chances at winning government contracts.
To register in the DSBS, vendors must first complete their SAM registration and be classified as a small business under the SBA’s size standards. Once SAM registration is completed, a link to the SBA’s Supplemental page will be displayed on the screen. Clicking this link takes the vendor to the page where they may enter their firm’s information which will then be populated into the SBA Dynamic Small Business Search.
Every applicable question on the DSBS should be completed. There are a few particular areas that you should pay extra attention to.
Vendors should choose appropriate keywords for their business. Imagine you are trying to find your business on Google; what search terms would you use? Ideally, keywords should describe the business through the use of nouns or verbs. For instance, a flooring contractor would want to use keywords like “tile”, “carpet” and “refinish”. They would not want to use keywords like “honest”, “quality” or “affordable”. It is extremely unlikely that contracting officers would use such search terms when looking for vendors. There are some exceptions to this. For instance, if you own a restaurant specializing in healthy, organic dishes then you certainly should use “organic” and “healthy” as keywords. Since you are limited to 525 total characters, it is important to pick effective keywords for your specific business. You should also refrain from choosing keywords that are designated elsewhere in your DSBS listing. As an example, your keywords are not the place to advertise that you are a minority owned business or that you have a GSA schedule contract; these are advertised elsewhere in your registration.
The next pitfall for vendors will be the Capabilities Narrative. Here, vendors have 255 characters to describe their company’s capabilities. First, this should not be a listing of keywords. A narrative is requested, so you should write out complete sentences.
Focus on only those products and services you are marketing to the government. Successful firms specialize; so should you. Try to pare down a description of your business’s capabilities to one or two sentences and it should fit. The same thing goes for the Special Equipment/Materials section, except this is where you can describe any special equipment or materials that sets your business apart from your competitors and benefits government buyers.
The final section that trips up most vendors is the past performance references page. Under no circumstances should you consider your DSBS profile complete until you have at least one reference listed. Most government buyers who view your DSBS listing will expect you to have at least one reference. If they find this section left blank, they will simply skip past your business to the next eligible vendor. If your business has not worked government contracts before, private sector references or the principle’s past performance may be used. Also, remember to be courteous and inform your reference that you are listing them on your profile.
When completed, your Dynamic Small Business Search profile will be linked to your FedBizOpps.gov profile and your System for Awards Management (SAM) profile. This allows buyers to get a complete overview of your capabilities and experience each time you express interest in or bid on a contract.