Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

Year-End Closeout!

While you sit here reading this post, gaining knowledge and soaking in pearls of wisdom, we are 32 calendar days away from YEAR-END!  Speaking as someone that has been up close and personal in the Government Contracting world, Year-End Closeout is a really BIG DEAL!  Since about mid August, everyone in Contracting has been working extra long days and at least 6 days per week, guaranteed!  Would you like to do that year, after year, after year?  I didn’t think so.  Most people wouldn’t.  But those dedicated and professional 1102s are up to the challenge and understand it comes with the territory.

Why are the 1102s having to work all those extra days and extra hours anyway?  Here is the answer to your very valid question.  They have to work those hours each Year-End because people with money to spend (end users) hold onto their money until the “11th hour of the 4th Quarter” before deciding they’d better expend their remaining budget.  No one ever wants to be caught turning money back in!  Are you kidding?!  That’s the quickest way in the world to ensure you get LESS money in your budget next year.  No one wants that!

What does all this mean for you and your company?  There are several lessons to be learned here and the enlightened SDVOSBs will leverage these lessons to better position themselves and their companies to win more Government Contracts.  There are; 1.  Marketing lessons; marketing is a year round effort, but it should be heaviest during the 2nd and 3rd quarter when spending slows down, there are 2.  Networking lessons; take advantage of all opportunities to interact with end users and buyers, there are 3.  Research/Homework lessons; do your homework before going out to visit buyers and end users – know what they need and how you can satisfy their need, there are 4.  Relationship Building lessons; schedule appointments to visit buyers and end users and advise them of your ability to meet their needs and there are 5.  Opportunities to prove yourself indispensible to the supported agency – in other words, to get your name on the “short list” of SDVOSBs that are called during Year-End Closeout!

 

See you on the high ground!

 

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Filed under: Government Contracting, Networking, Woods Consulting Group, , ,

The National Veteran Conference (some initial observations)

The 7th Annual National Veteran Small Business Conference & Expo is officially over.  All the event participants have been asked to provide constructive feedback to help shape the content delivery going forward.  When this happens, and I’m confident it will, the conference will only get better.  The VA leadership already implemented some suggested changes BEFORE we departed New Orleans!  The coming Press Releases and changes to acquisition policy all bode well for Veterans and Veteran issues.  Next year’s National Veteran Conference promises to be even better – we will soon have our battle sight zero. 

The following are some of my initial thoughts and observations of this year’s conference.  We were told early on that 4,300 registered attendees were at the conference.  Many more attendees registered onsite, easily making this the largest National Veteran Conference ever!  There were 420 exhibitors at the conference – a 51% increase over last year!  The VA repeatedly sent this message to ALL Veterans, “we are the 1st place to look for contracting opportunities.”  No matter whether you’re selling a product, service or construction, there is a department or a division within the VA that buys what you sell.   

The VA had representatives from ALL 22 VISNs (VA Hospitals) on hand to give an overview and discuss contracting opportunities for their VISN.  The VA held its first ever VA Open House in which an estimated 1,600 Veterans toured their site and participated in various educational and training seminars.  The VA extended the deadline on their Mentor Protégé program from 31 Aug to 15 Sep 11.  Other federal agencies were included in the National Veteran Conference, but make no mistake about it; this conference was clearly about Veterans, by Veterans, for Veterans. 

The National Veteran Conference happens one time each year.  If you’re a Veteran, interested in contracting with the Federal Government and you have to decide which conference to attend – this is it!  This is the one conference you don’t want to miss, period!   

NOTE:  The PPT presentations for all the instructors of all the classes will be available online.  Please keep in mind that it might take a few weeks or so before this information is available.  Check back often to Veterans Business Resources (VBR) for the official site address.  

 

See you on the high ground!

 

Filed under: Government Contracting, Support Our Troops, Veterans Affairs, Woods Consulting Group, , ,

The National Veteran Conference (Live from New Orleans)

We arrived in New Orleans late Saturday afternoon.  We had already coordinated our arrival with some friends and were meeting them later that evening for dinner.  We met for an early dinner as they had travel plans early the next morning.  What was supposed to be an early dinner lasted nearly 4 hours.  That was due in part to our enjoying each others company, the incredible food, the atmosphere and all the people stopping by just to say hello.  Our friends are well known and respected business leaders in the city.  They are clearly well liked too!  We really enjoyed being in such a friendly environment.   

Sunday we went to The National WW II Museum.  It is, in a word, AWESOME!  Find time in your schedule to go while you’re here – or plan to return to New Orleans and experience a powerful, immersive journey through the war that changed the world.  After you have toured the 3 floors of the WW II Museum, go across the street to Victory Theater to view the movie.  “Beyond All Boundaries” is the 4-D experience featuring Tom Hanks, with the voices of Kevin Bacon, Patricia Clarkson, John Goodman, Tobey Maguire, Brad Pit, Gary Sinise and more.  

Today is day 1 of our 7th National Veteran Conference.  I’m excited about the VA’s new lead role in the conference and looking forward to the future of Veterans in Government Contracting.  Equally, I am committed to making a positive difference in the number of Veterans and their family members directly benefiting from the Veterans First Contracting Program.       

 

See you on the high ground!

Filed under: Government Contracting, Leadership, Veterans Affairs, Woods Consulting Group, ,

The National Veteran Conference (the lineup)

I want to take this opportunity to personally thank Ms. Tracey L. Pinson, Director, Small Business Programs, Department of the Army and her staff for the outstanding job they did over the past 6 years with the National Veteran Conference.  Under her visionary leadership, the conference and program has continued to gain momentum each year.  The Veteran-Owned Small Business community is eternally grateful for your tireless efforts. 

This year, however, marks the beginning of a new chapter in the National Veteran Conference and the Veteran-Owned Small Business movement.  This year places the responsibility for sponsoring and hosting this conference squarely on the shoulders of the agency that should bare that full responsibility – the VA.  Who better to lead a conference for Veterans than the agency responsible FOR Veterans?  It only makes sense! 

I am quite pleased to see that charge being lead by an old 1st Cav soldier, GEN Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs and one of our Keynote Speakers.  Other Keynote Speakers include; Mr. W. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Frank Kendall, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Mr. Anthony R. Jimenez, President, CEO, and Founder of MircoTech and a former Vetrepreneur of the Year, Ms. Jane Holl Lute, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mr. John Gingrich, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Honorable Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans. 

The focus of this year’s National Veteran Conference is narrowed to just 3 tracks.  Track 1:  Starting a Veteran-Owned Small Business, Track 2:  Doing Business with the Federal Government and Track 3:  Business Requirements.  There are a variety of topics/subjects being offered under each of these tracks, but it does appear that we are going “Back to the Basics.”   I think this is an excellent idea and the training is greatly needed!  For those of you that have followed the VBR blog, you might recall more than a few posts talking about “The Basics.”  Perhaps our message of “Empowerment Through Education” is reaching the highest levels of government and flowing out to “the field” after all. 

See you on the high ground!

 

Filed under: Government Contracting, Support Our Troops, Veterans Affairs, Woods Consulting Group, , ,