You will want to get the registrations done in this order;
- DUNS Registration – The on-line registration will take about 5 minutes of your time to complete. During the DUNS registration process you will be asked for your EIN or Employer Identification Number.
- SAM Registration – If you are not registered with SAM you cannot get paid. You will need your DUNS number and Employer Identification number in order to complete the application. As part of the registration process you will receive a Marketing Partner Identification Number or MPIN.
- SBA Registration – This registration process should take no more than 10 minutes. You will also be asked to provide contact information for various company officials so come prepared.
Additional programs will require registration in other portals as mentioned above. Here are links to those portals. Review your opportunity carefully to understand where you need to register.
Step 3: Responding To The Opportunity
Before writing a proposal you must first understand how it will be evaluated as the proposal that you submit, must be responsive to these criteria. All solicitations contain a section where the evaluation criteria are discussed – usually placed somewhere towards the end of the solicitation document.
By reading the evaluation criteria before you begin proposal preparation, you will understand those items that you must address thoroughly within your proposal. Successful assess “win themes” based on the criteria. Care examination surfaces gaps and allows companies to find a good fit. The graphic above illustrates our process to developing a winning solicitation. Here are a few additional takeaways;
- Get Organized – We love Asana but really a whiteboard will work. Get a system, choose some tools, make a plan and stick to it. Writing a great is going to take longer and be harder than you think.
- Engage Your Team – Pull in partners and engage your team as early as possible. You will need them for everything from letters of support to detailed feedback on technical aspects of your proposal.
- Focus – Get really clear about the project. Grants are structured around discreet projects with a start, middle and end. The more clarity you and your team have, the better your proposal will be.
One mistake that is often seen with companies preparing their first SBIR or STTR proposal is that they try to force fit a research project of high personal interest into a topic that has been released by an agency. With broad topics, such as those released by most granting institutions the proposer has considerable leeway. However, when the stated need is more specific, as is the case with contracting agencies, it is the responsibility of the proposer to demonstrate that he or she has heard and understands the expressed need of the agency and can provide a solution that is highly responsive and utilizes the small business core competencies.
Step 4: Contracting & Accounting
Your grant will ultimately be a contractual relationship with you and a government agency. The only advice we will give here is: Have your attorney review your contract!
We are not attorneys, and this is not legal advice. Consult with your attorney about every aspect of contracting, accounting and audits.
If you are doing business with the government, you will probably get audited at some point. Here is a quick rundown of the audits you may face and would do well to prepare for.
With a Pre-award audit the focus is on items such as price proposals, forward pricing, and indirect rates. All of these could be subject to audit. For firms having a cost-reimbursement contract for the first time, the pre-award accounting system survey is one of the most important financial hurdles to overcome.
During Post-award, a common audit is an Incurred Cost audit. This is required with Cost Reimbursable type contracts, where you’ll need to report your year-end actual incurred costs to the government. Other post-award audits may include those for Truth in Negotiations compliance, Cost Accounting compliance, audits of contract changes and other claims, as well as labor floor check audits.
Fortunately, there are audit types that will not apply to you as a small business, such as the audit of your Cost Accounting Standards, or CAS, disclosure statement. There are thresholds for having a CAS-covered contract that requires a more rigorous documentation of your accounting system. However, small businesses are exempt from certain CAS requirements so you don’t need to worry about this type of audit which can be rather long and rigorous. In addition, defective pricing and change order audits are unheard of in the SBIR/STTR realm.
Interaction with DCAA regarding Phase I SBIR/STTR proposals is quite limited as these are usually firm fixed price contracts. There is no pre-award accounting system survey required for any firm fixed priced awards, and scrutiny of proposal pricing, in most cases, is manageable, as long as it’s less than $750,000. Once you receive a Phase II award your interaction will become more complex as the awards are often cost reimbursement type awards. DCAA involvement in Phase II will include a pre-award survey and pricing scrutiny, post-award accounting system audits, and incurred cost audits during the performance of your Phase II.
A quick list of curated resources
OpenGrants is on a mission to deploy modern financial infrastructure to support efficient, equitable, and transparent grant funding processes. We believe this work is imperative to strengthen democracy, but we can’t achieve this mission alone.
We’ve always planned on including our community as financial partners in this venture. For that reason, contractors on our platform have access to earn $GRANT and can receive equity in the company. Accredited investors can purchase $GRANT as well.
We hope you consider joining our journey and invest in OpenGrants.