The Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, Inc. (SBDC) is hosting a new executive business program developed specifically to address the needs of small business government contractors, SWAM’s, VOSB, SDVOSB and WOSB owners who want to “Win More Business and Thrive in Chaos during this New Life of Sequestration in Hampton Roads.”
Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration's Portable Assistance Grant program and a partnership with MainStream Global Solutions, the SBDC of Hampton Roads was able to launch the Southeast Virginia Contracting Institute. This program will assist regional small businesses to better understand, adjust and win new federal, state, and municipal contracts in this new atmosphere of severe budget constraints that have caused a number of our Hampton Roads business to close.
This critical 2014 business growth and success program began successfully on March 12 and will consist of 12, three-hour facilitated roundtable discussions and 12, two-hour facilitated executive peer-to-peer breakfast sessions. The attendees will also receive individual one-on-one consulting provided either by an SBDC or Procurement Technical Assistance Center business executive advisor/counselor with a strong background in government contracting. In addition to the training program, participants will have access to Deltek’s powerful GovWin opportunity identification database which is normally cost prohibitive to a small business.
The course covers all aspects of the contracting process, from initial search through completion. Other issues which will be addressed include teaming and partnering arrangements, compliance, prospecting and bidding. John Maher, Vice President for Business Development for Mainstream Government Services, has over 35 years in government on both sides of the contracting table and has developed the curriculum and will lead the course. Maher has built winning proposals for small businesses and led strategic capture management efforts, and sat as a member on proposal source selection evaluation teams to pick and defend who is the preferred business to win a particular award which values ranged from $100,000 to over $3 billion.
On March 12, about a dozen people met for the first roundtable discussion at the Chesapeake Economic Development Department. John Maher told his attendees, “If you remember anything from today’s lecture, please remember the three R’s – relationships, results, and revenue.” Relationships form a trusted agent reputation where the customer believes you can execute the work they are trying to accomplish. So, it’s who you know and not what you know. Maher explained that results mean you have proven quality past performance with other customers in the area of work. And revenue means that the customer has money to fund the effort. Do not waste your time bidding on a proposal that never takes place dues to lack of funds.
Robert Allan, owner of the Allan Franchise Group Batteries Plus, and Monica Curry, President of Monica Curry Consulting LL Care, are both participating in the program. Allan commented, “I need help in developing a program that will allow me to capture additional government sales thru the bid process as well as identifying additional vehicles that are in search of my products. I think that this is the right class with the right consultant to do this.” Monica Curry is attending the program to gain additional knowledge of the Federal Contracting System. Curry said, “I didn’t realize just how much help small business needs in navigating the contracting territory. John Maher does a great job explaining the process and why. Understanding when to bid and when to “walk away” are crucial to being successful in business.”
When asked what Maher’s overall goal was for his attendees, his response, “Simple – when they finish the program,12 months later when the grant ends, they have submitted more than one proposal with an expectation of winning one, or better yet, they have actually won new work.”