Preparation for Small Businesses
What should small business owners do to prepare for the matchmaking experience?
1. Obtain a DUNS Number (required)
All Business Matchmaking small business participants must obtain a DUNS number (Dun and Bradstreet Number). A DUNS number is a unique nine digit identification number, assigned to each physical location of a business by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). A DUNS number is FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for contracts. You may learn more about this process at http://smallbusiness.dnb.com; you may request a DUNS number by calling 1-866-705-5711; be sure to tell D&B that it is needed to register with the US Federal Government for contracts.
2. Register in the Central Contractor’s Registry (required)
All Business Matchmaking small business participants must be registered in the Central Contractor’s Registry (CCR). Any vendor that wishes to sell its products or services to federal government agencies and prime contractors is required to register in CCR in order to be awarded contracts and receive payment. This is a one-time routine registration where basic information is provided relevant to procurement and financial transactions. The CCR also verifies that your business is considered a small business for its industry classification. Businesses that are registered in the CCR also receive additional information on events such as Business Matchmaking.
For questions on the CCR registration process, contact the CCR Customer Service Hotline at its toll-free number: 1-888-227-2423 or visit its website at www.ccr.gov. If your business has never registered in the CCR before, please note that your company will need to provide a DUNS number in order to register in the CCR. If your business was registered in the CCR more than a year ago, you will need to update your registration at the CCR website.
NOTE: When you complete your CCR registration, CCR will issue you a CAGE Code (Commercial and Government Entity code). You will be asked to submit your CAGE code during the Tennessee Business Matchmaking process.
3. Register as a Seller on the Tennessee Business Matchmaking Website (required)
Visit http://www.tnecd.gov/matchmaking to create to register as a seller for the event. Your registration will contain the following information:
Once you have completed the online seller registration, you will be directed to a secure online payment site, you will then be registered for the Business Matchmaking event. Your registration guarantees your participation, but you will need to schedule your appointments closer to the event date.
Note that buyers will be able to access your online registration information. Be sure to provide complete, coherent information about your company. Once you have created your online registration, you will receive periodic information about upcoming business matchmaking event(s).
4. Schedule Your Appointments (required)
Within one to two weeks of the scheduled Business Matchmaking event, the Matchmaking Administrator (Wisty Pender) will notify you via email to go to the Matchmaking website and schedule your appointments. Once you log into your profile, you will learn which buyers you “matched” with (ie, the buyers who are buying what you are selling). You will then be able to request a meeting with the buyers you “matched” with along with a limited number of other buyers. You will also be able to view all of the participating buyers’ profiles and their appointment schedules. You will be able to finalize your appointment schedule before the event occurs. This will allow you time to research the buyers you have appointments with, complete vendor applications and prepare questions.
Note: If you do not schedule your appointments before the event, you will not have any appointments.
5. Attend Business Matchmaking (required)
Be sure to arrive early. Look for the registration area. During registration, you will receive a conference packet and a tote bag. You will then be asked to print out your appointment schedule at the Computer Kiosk.
6. Change Your Appointment Schedule the Day of the Event using our Computer Kiosk (optional)
Most sellers will have openings on their appointment schedules. If you would like to add appointments the day of the event, you may do so by using the computer kiosk scheduling system. The computer kiosk replaces last year’s on-site matchmaking table. You will log into your computer profile and schedule appointments the same way as when you scheduled them from your home computer. You will also be able to cancel an appointment. Once you are finished changing your schedule, you will print off your new schedule.
Note: If you did not schedule any appointments before the event, the only way for you to get appointments is by scheduling them at the computer kiosk the day of the event.
Get Assistance in Preparation (optional)
The Tennessee Small Business Development Centers (TSBDC) located across the state are offering training workshops to help sellers meet the necessary qualifications for admission to the Matchmaking Program and to be more productive in their time spent there. The training events are being offered free of charge. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited.
Session objectives are as follows:
To reserve a spot for one of these training events, please contact your closest Tennessee Small Business Development Center. You can find your nearest TSBDC by going to the following link: http://tsbdc.org/locations.htm.
The TSBDC’s also partner with the University of Tennessee Procurment Technicial Assistance Center (UT-PTAC) . to provide workshops on how to do business with the government. If you would like training on how to do business with the government in advance of the Business Matchmaking event, ask your nearest TSBDC for the PTAC 101 and PTAC 102 training schedule.
Do Your Homework (recommended)
Make sure you become familiar with and are registered in the appropriate databases of the government entities you are targeting for business. Federal, state and local governments have their own criteria and maintain their own vendor databases. Proper registration will facilitate your ability to contract with the government in an expeditious manner. Access the Business Matchmaking website to learn about the participating buyers.
Some Procurement Databases include: