Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

Registrations & Certifications plus Networking & Marketing = Opportunity

We have already discussed each of these areas individually.  Now we’re going to examine how they work together to help position us to ultimately win government contracts.  Everything starts with POSITION.  All the success you will or currently enjoy is because of POSITION.

Long before you ever win that first contract, you lay the groundwork by getting registered in all the right places.  After you’re registered or at the same time, you start working on all the certifications that you qualify for at the federal, state and local levels.  The real power in certifications is knowing how to leverage them.

While the registration and certification process is underway, you also need to get out and start Networking.  Likewise, we have previously discussed Networking and what it can do for your business.  Networking is all about connecting and establishing connections.  No one can attend all the Networking events so we have to rely on our Marketing efforts.

Remember, everything we do is Marketing.  Your company or brand is on full display every time you walk out your front door.  Finally, at long last, all this hard work and expense combine to produce our Opportunity.  What are you going to do with your Opportunity?  When the Opportunity comes, and it will, it’s too late to prepare.  Good luck! 

 

See you on the high ground!

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Filed under: Government Contracting, Networking, Registrations & Certifications, Woods Consulting Group, , , ,

Going from the Vendor List to being a Preferred Vendor

We already know that “Business Development” is a critical step in the development, growth and continued viability of our firms.  We already know that we must somehow let the primes and federal government know who we are.  We already know that subcontracting can be a perfect vehicle to break into the world of contracting.

We already know that going after micro purchases or jobs at the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) is also another way to break into the world of contracting.  We already know the best ways to make these critical steps a reality is through Networking, Marketing, attending site visits, progress briefings, pre-bid conferences and asking for work.

We already know these things are good for our businesses but “How” and “Why” do they really make a difference.  Getting registered and certified in all the right places is a game changer because countless others don’t realize they need to do it and thus will not do it.  That simple step alone sets you apart from upwards of 95% of the other small businesses out here.

Virtually every public contract opportunity has strict diversity goals that “MUST” be met.  If no one knows whom you are and what your capabilities and qualifications are, then who loses?  More tips on this topic later.

 

See you on the high ground! 

Filed under: Getting Started, Government Contracting, Networking, Registrations & Certifications, Woods Consulting Group, , , , , ,

Why you and not me?

Have you ever asked yourself that question about some event, circumstance or situation in your life?  Perhaps it happened way back in junior high or high school.  Perhaps it involved a boy or a girl that you wanted to take to dinner and a movie.  Maybe it wasn’t that earth shattering at all.  Maybe it was as simple as being chosen to play in a pick-up game of basketball, jump rope or dodge ball.

Why choose that other person and NOT me?  Can’t you see I’m just as passionate, just as committed, just as deserving as that other person?  Can you articulate why you should be chosen?  Why do good things always seem to happen to and for that OTHER person and NOT you?

One possible answer is MARKETING.  Everything we do is marketing.  Everything we say is marketing.  The way we look and dress is marketing.  The books and magazines we read is marketing.  The people we associate with is marketing.  The ideas we discuss is marketing.

Think about MARKETING the next time you find yourself asking “why them and not me?”  How well are you MARKETING your brand?

 

See you on the high ground!

 

Filed under: Government Contracting, Networking, Registrations & Certifications, Woods Consulting Group, , ,

Financing a Business in Difficult Times

As a child, growing up in central Alabama, I can recall asking my father for money. I always knew he would want to know what I would be using the money for. His simple question caused me to think and have a lot of anxiety about my answer. My stomach would turn in knots.

That same simple concept is true today in commercial lending. If you ask for money, the lender will want to be able to ask why you need it. This can be insulting to some and a challenging to others.  At the SBDC we believe that when a lender asks a borrower about how he or she will use the money, they are doing it because, like my father, prudent judgment requires it. But we further think that borrowers need to understand that this question or set of questions are for their own good. Yes, I know it is difficult but it is not impossible to explain why a business would need to borrow funds.

So we embark on the dreaded and feared “business plan”. I think, in over twenty years of small business consulting, the business plan is the most under rated and misunderstood instrument known to mankind. I know that the business plan documents we review here at the SBDC vary widely in size and concept. Go figure.

We think that step one is to learn the language. Then understand what a lender is asking of you. Understand why the lender asks for certain documents and be able to anticipate questions. So often, borrowers are miffed that they need to, for example, present personal tax returns, to apply for a loan. They seem surprised that personal credit is reviewed for a business loan. And on and on it goes. Let us be clear, we are in difficult times when it comes to borrowing and lending so we as borrowers need to be squeaky clean. Frankly, these tough questions were asked in good times. It just maybe that now it has to be documented.

Therefore we should remember our “C’s of borrowing”. Cash – a must have for start ups, (your equity). For existing businesses you need to show equity in lieu of cash and hope that it is good enough. Credit– always check all three credit bureaus. Once per year federal law requires all three bureaus to give you one free copy of your credit file. (www.annualcreditreport.com). Collateral – can you offer something of value to secure the loan? Conditions – can you find and give good current information about your industry? And finally, Character – in which some lenders say your credit report reflects your character. For the purpose of SBA are you on parole or probation?

Support Your Plan. Give facts not guesses. Make sure to site creditable sources in your proposal. (No matter how much you like your brother-in-law, he may not be a recognized, creditable source for your industry). Have good, reasonable, supportable numbers in your financial statements, (projections). It is not the first rodeo for the lenders, who may review your plan.  They can smell a rat, miles away.

Lastly, know where to go to seek help. The SBDC provides that help. Another set of eyes and the experience helps more than you think. I am biased.
 

David L. Edmonds, Director
Tarrant County College
Small Business Development Center
Major, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Retired

email: david.edmonds@tccd.edu

Filed under: Getting Started, Uncategorized, , , ,