8a Business Plan – Form 1010C

The Purpose of the 8a business plan

The Small Business Administration (SBA) requires an 8a business plan for all 8a certified business. The purpose of the 8a business plan is to help the SBA determine if your company is capable of fulfilling government contracts provided to your company. The SBA 8a business plan also helps determine and outline the objectives and goals for your business.

The SBA’s 8A Business Plan also know as form 1010c consists of 11 key sections which contains 52 detailed questions which must be filled out thoroughly. The 8a business plan is a very daunting document which requires an experienced business plan writer. Pulling all the information together in order to complete the document can take weeks. Errors in your 8a business plan will cost you time and money because the SBA will send your document back if there are any errors or missing information.

The sections of the 8a business plan (Form 1010C)

Section 1: Executive Summary

The applicant must describe what the business is in and what is hoped to be achieved. The business plan will then be presented to the assigned Business Opportunity Specialist to review.

Section 2: Business History, Background, and Objectives

When did the applicant form the company? Why was the business formed? What are the objectives over the next year and beyond? What are the achievements and successes? What obstacles had to be overcome to succeed?

Section 3: Business Environment

What is the current business environment? Is it a boom or bust time? How does it impact marketing?

Section 4: Products and/or Services

What products and/or services does the applicant’s company offer? What changes are planned in the next year?

Section 5: Present Market

Major customers need to be identified. What is the growth potential with current customers and getting new customers? What is the current marketing approach? How does the applicant compare to competitors?

Section 6: Competition

Who are the competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How will the applicant be able to compete and overcome their advantages?

Section 7: Marketing Plan

What are marketing strategies, tools, and techniques will the applicant’s business use to promote the business? Section 8a and non-Section 8a market segments need to be addressed.

Describe your management team and list its strengths and weaknesses. Is the applicant properly utilizing social networks like Facebook and Twitter to spread their message?

Section 8: Organization and Management

How is the applicant’s company organized? What is the organized and management structure? What are the management team’s strengthens and weaknesses? Is there a succession strategy? If yes, who will take over if the owner is unable to serve or a key employee leaves?

Section 9: Business Resources

What suppliers are used? Where are they located? What are the payment terms (30, 60, 90, 120+ days)? Does the applicant need to use temporary or contract workers to fill orders? What quality standards are used to ensure products have the highest quality?

Section 10: Financial Plan/Data

What is the financial state of the company? Two years of projected business and cash flow need to be provided. What bank does the applicant use? What are lines of credit, amount owed, and amounts available?

Is there any debt? How much is it and who is owed to? Does the company use cash or accrual accounting? Are quarterly or annual statement prepared in house or outside accountants?

Section 11: Contract Support Targets

What support targets are the applicant trying to reach? The applicant needs to identify 8A and non-8A business they can obtain.

With a Section 8A Business Plan, an applicant will follow checklists and timetables to increase their chances of getting 8A and non-8A business. This also increases chances of growing America’s economy and creating jobs for Americans.

Contact Us Today

The SBA 8a Certification Attorneys at DBE Direct are experienced and available to help you complete your 8a business plan.
Call us at (305) 755-9551 Ext: 102
We are available to review your 8a business plan before you submit your 8a business plan to the SBA.

8a Certification Process

An Overview of the 8(a) Certification Process.

Applying for 8(a) certification can at times seem daunting. However, if you take your time to go through the process step by step, you can successfully obtain certification. The following is an overview of the steps you must take to obtain certification:

  • Determine your business’ North American Industry Classification System Code(NAICS, pronounced “Nakes”) by logging on to http://www.naics.com and using the search tools on the website. Your business may have more than one NAICS code.
  • To apply for 8(a) certification you will need a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. A DUNS number is obtained by going to the Dun & Bradstreet website athttp://www.dnb.com/ and applying for a number. DUNS Number assignment is FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for contracts or grants.
  • Once you have your DUNS number you must register with the System for Award Management (SAM) at http:www.sam.gov/. It may take up to 72 hours before you are given access to the 8(a) Business Development Program electronic certification system.
  • Next, you must register for an account in the SBA’s General Log-in System (GLS) by going to the following website: https://eweb.sba.gov/gls/dsp_addcustomer.cfm?IMAppSysTypNm=8ASDB
  • Once you receive access to the 8(a) Business Development Program electronic certification system, complete the electronic application. Follow the directions provided. You can download SBA’s user guide by going here:https://sba8a.symplicity.com/downloads/BDMIS_UserGuide.pdf
  • After you have completed the electronic application, you must print and sign all required forms and provide all required supporting documentation. Binding of the document is not necessary or required.

Applying for certification can be time consuming but you can apply on your own. However, if you want to save time (and money) and/or you run into difficulties please do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact Us Today
Contact an 8a certification attorney at DBE Direct regarding the 8(a) certification process. Our attorneys can be reached by phone at (305) 755-9551 or by e-mail using our contact form. We are ready to help you obtain your 8a certification. Our attorneys can thoroughly examine your application and make sure you meet all of the 8a certification requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

At DBE Direct, we receive calls every day from individuals who seek SBA 8(a) certification. Below are answers to some of the frequently asked questions that we receive:

Do I need to be 8(a) certified to do business with the federal government?

No. SBA 8(a) certification (or any other certification for that matter) is not a requirement to do business with the federal government. The 8(a) program is a resource for small businesses that seek business development assistance. The program helps to level the playing field by allowing small business to compete for government contracts against similarly situated small businesses. In some cases, certified firms can be awarded contracts without competing. Other benefits of the program include mentoring, procurement assistance, training and other assistance. However, if you don’t qualify for the SBA 8(a) certification or other certification you are not precluded from bidding on government contracts.

Does getting certified guarantee that I receive a government contract?

No. Getting your company certified is only one step towards being awarded a government contract. Once you obtain certification you have to market, you company and products to the agencies that buy your service or product. In many cases, we counsel our clients not to get certified because they are not in the position to benefit from the 8(a) Business Development program either because they are too small, too inexperienced or simply do not have the financial strength to undertake an effective marketing program.

How long does it take to get certified?

It depends. Once the regional Division of Program Certification and Eligibility (DPCE) determines that your application is complete, a final decision regarding 8(a) eligibility is required to be made within 90 days. However, this doesn’t take into account the amount of time it will take you to perform all of the steps towards completing your certification application such as determining your NAICS code, obtaining your DUNS number, registering on the CCR, gathering your documents, completing the application, signing and notarizing them where necessary, etc., etc. etc. We have literally met individuals who have procrastinated for years because they simply didn’t know where to start. We’ve also seen individuals spend months dealing with turning in incomplete applications and dealing with the questions that result.

How much does it cost to get certified?

If you prepare your application yourself, it shouldn’t cost you anything other than your time and effort. However, if you hire a consultant to prepare your application, it can cost you several thousand dollars. At DBE Direct, although we are a law firm, our prices are competitive with many of the consultants you will find. Besides, our knowledge of the 8(a) program one added benefit of retaining us to prepare you application is that our price includes a free appeal in the event that your application is denied. Since, appeals require much more work on our part, it is our policy not to take on any client seeking certification unless we determine it will be successfully or we believe we can successfully appeal a potential denial.

I’ve been in business less than two years, can I still obtain 8(a) certification?

The rules governing the program require you to be in business for more than two years. You can obtain a waiver if you meet certain criteria. (See our article regarding the 2 year waiver). However, we often counsel our clients not to get a two year waiver. First, they often don’t qualify. Second, many times if the business is less than two-years old the company is not in the position to take full advantage of the 8(a) program. Many times we help our clients determine if other alternatives exist that allow them to participate in government contract opportunities without getting the 8(a) certification. This may mean getting the company certified through another program or helping the client team or subcontract with other companies.

Will getting 8(a) certified help me get business at the state and local level or from private corporations?

It may if the state or local government or private corporation accepts the 8(a) certification as a tool to meet its small business contracting goals. However, in our experience, 8(a) certification is really only accepted at the federal level by those agencies that use the certification to help them meet their small business contracting goal. If your goal is to obtain business at the state or local level or from private corporations there may be other certifications more suitable to helping you reach your goal. At DBE Direct, we pride ourselves on our knowledge of small business certifications and helping our clients choose and apply for the certification that most closely aligns with their goals.

Does getting more than one certification (i.e. Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business, Women Owned Small Business, etc.) make me more eligible to get government contracts?

In our experience, no. Agencies will not award a contract to your company solely because it is 8(a) certified, women-owned or whatever. Agencies hire firms that provide goods and/or services that they need. If you are 8(a) certified, women or veteran-owned then you also provide the additionally benefit of helping that agency meet its small business contracting goals, but they won’t award a contract to your firm for that reason alone.

I’m not a minority (veteran or woman) but my wife (or husband) is. Can I make her (or him) the majority owner of the company and get certified?

This is a tricky question. First, the 8(a) certification program like most small business certification programs require that the company be owned and controlled by the person who qualifies the business as an 8(a) firm. Simply handing over 51% ownership to your spouse or anyone else does not give them control of the company as shown in the company’s financial and business records. From time to time we have assisted individuals who have legitimately transferred their business to their spouse or another individual. We have helped the new owners establish control of the company and meet the requirements to obtain certification. Each case is different. If you are in this situation we strongly urge to contact us.

Can my 8(a) certification expire?

Yes. The SBA 8(a) Business Development program only lasts 9 years. After 9 years the firm graduates from the program and is no longer able to participate as an 8(a) firm. However, your firm can also face early termination or early graduation from the 8(a) program. You will know that a determination to terminate or early graduate your firm has been made by the SBA’s Director, Office of Business Development when you receive a Notification of Early Graduation or Termination. Once you receive the Notice you have 45 days to appeal the termination or graduation. If you do not appeal, the termination or graduation becomes the SBA’s final decision, effective on the forty-fifth day. We urge any business facing early termination or early graduation to contact us at DBE Direct to assist you with your appeal.