I was recently invited to present a webinar on pitfalls in the 8(a) application process for Jennifer Schaus and her government contracts consulting firm, Jennifer Schaus & Associates.
Here's the full video:Here's a link to the powerpoint presentation.
Trimming out everything else, the key take away is to read, re-read, and then read again the SBA requirements for the 8(a) program, you can find them here.
While you are reading them, take notes on every specific item that is required. Here's a very basic checklist of questions you should ask yourself:
1) Am I a member of one of the defined minority groups? How do I know?
For example, we get inquiries from folks who say "well, my grandmother was native american, does that count?" No, it does not. You must be an enrolled member of a Native American Indian Tribe to be considered Native American Indian. Each tribe has its own criteria for enrollment, and you have to match that criteria.
2) Is my annual income under $250,000?
Look at your taxes. What's the top line. If you file taxes jointly with your spouse, does he or she contribute in some way to the business, whether working or guaranteeing a loan or name on a lease? If yes, it's your joint income, if no, it's yours alone.
3) Is my net worth under $250,000?
Your house doesn't count, and your equity in the business doesn't count. Your retirement accounts don't count, unless you're over 59 1/2. Everything else counts. Your bank accounts, other businesses, vacation house, car. Everything.
4) Have I been in business over two years?
This is a yes / no. When was your business registered with the state. Count two years past that. While there are waivers available to businesses that have not been in business for two years, they are very difficult to get.
5) Am I ready to collect all the documents necessary?
I'd say the average 8(a) application if printed out would run to about 1,000 pages. Be prepared, you will be asked for everything, and you must provide everything.
These are just some of the things you'll need to be prepared for. Review the video, read the slides, go to the SBA website. When you're ready, give us a call and we might be able to help you out.