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  • 28 Feb 2019 2:54 PM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

    Call me one of those naïve entrepreneurs who believe that together everyone achieves more, but that is the way I see the world. One of the reasons I struggled toward the end of my corporate career was because of the “Leader Board” System. Let me assure you that I am not one of those parents who believe that there should be no losers in the soccer game and that everybody should win. But it was hard for me to be in that type of competitive environment at work. Maybe it was because for those on top of the leader board, management believed they could do no wrong and for those who weren’t… Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I also saw firsthand how some people would cheat their way to the top of the leader board; and experienced how painful it was to be stabbed in the back when I wasn’t willing to do the same the get to the top.

    Despite the hurt and betrayal I experienced in Corporate America, I still believe that in business one’s gain is NOT another’s loss. You don’t have to step on everyone and anyone who’s in the way to get your slice of the pie because the pie expands! I believe that the more you give, the more you get; and the quickest way to get what you want, is to help as many people as you can to get what it is they want.

    Give, and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38). As an entrepreneur, I oftentimes collaborate with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. The purpose of collaborating isn’t to get any immediate benefit; the purpose is to exchange ideas or to share knowledge. What I have discovered is that every time I give of myself and my time with no expectations, I always get some unexpected benefit. ALWAYS! It’s a spiritual principal.

    This happens to me so much in business that I’ve learned to just expect it. When I get down or discouraged – and believe me, that happens to ALL of us – I just remember some of the past blessing and then do these 3 things:

    1.      Ask for what you want – Oftentimes we struggle because we fail to ask for what we need. (Matthew 7:7)

    2.      Act on opportunities – Act on the opportunities that are given to you. When we ask, it is always given… ALWAYS. But many times, it is in the form of an opportunity that we need to take action on. You will never get an unsolicited check in the mail when you ask for money folks; but the opportunity that landed in your lap will often provide exactly what you asked for

    3.      Stand in AweSome folks would call those opportunities and circumstances that align luck or coincidence, but I know a blessing when I experience one. Stand in awe of the awesome power of God and the Universe and continue to be willing to give.

    My challenge to you this week is find ways within your business that you can give - and I don’t mean give away the farm, we still gotta eat right. It doesn’t matter if it’s done by way of a seminar, a webinar, an educational video on your website, a white paper or an e-book. Choose your method and then find opportunities to give that information to the people searching for it. I promise you won’t be disappointed with the results.


  • 14 Feb 2019 11:37 AM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

    For the past several weeks in our Wednesday Workshops, I have been presenting information about the various certifications available for you to conduct business with corporate or government agencies. During those sessions, I always use the term “Small Business”. Well, what makes a business “Small”? Who decides if your business is small? And why is it important?

    Let’s address those questions. The term “Small Business” is determined by what your business does. Every business either Does, Makes, or Sells something. That “something” defines your business; and the SBA uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code to classify it. Depending on what that code is, there are income limits or employee size limits that will define businesses within those sectors as “small”.

    Let’s look at an example. If you are a Heavy and Civil Engineering construction company that does highway, street and bridge construction, then your NAICS code is 237310.  The annual revenue for your company would have to be less than $33.5 Million in order to be considered small.  If however, your industry was in food manufacturing and you processed fresh and frozen seafood, your NAICS code would be 311712 (1) and your company would be considered small if it had 500 employees or less.

    The tricky part is that most businesses have multiple codes that define what they do. One of my clients is an environmental remediation firm and their services fall under several codes including Environmental Consulting Services, Building Inspection Services, Remediation Services and Testing Laboratories.  Well those 4 codes have 3 different amounts to be considered small ranging from $7MM to $19MM (2).

    So what is a business to do? You know as well as I that business fluctuates. Very few small companies have the annual revenues in 2018 they had in 2013 as they were just recovering from one of the worst recessions in recent history. That may be true for your business as well. So what if your revenues are up one year and down another how does that factor in? Well, the SBA has tried to adjust for this by looking at a 3 year average. There are very specific things that the SBA considers as total annual receipts so review the guidelines (3).

    The dilemma still exists, however, when your business can be categorized in several ways and each has a different definition for small. You can’t just use the biggest one since that could land you in an SBA protest and cause all kinds of problems. Generally all SBA certifications and even the System for Award Management (SAM) will ask for your “primary” NAICS code. This code most closely defines what the majority of your business entails. Let’s look back at the environmental firm example above. Yes, building inspection is a part of what they do as is testing of the environmental hazards they find, but the bulk of their business is in remediation and environmental consulting. So by using one of those codes as primary, they can defer to those parameters for the small business requirements.

    Now you know how to quantify “Small” in SBA terms. So call me when you’re ready to benefit from the BIG advantages of being Small.

    (1) Census Bureau NAICS code lookup - http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/

    (2) Size Standards by NAICS code - http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=79f55e945db7db3fa154a4c606a52f19&rgn=div8&view=text&node=13:1.0.1.1.17.1.268.9&idno=13

    (3) Calculating Annual Receipts - http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=79f55e945db7db3fa154a4c606a52f19&rgn=div8&view=text&node=13:1.0.1.1.17.1.267.4&idno=13 

  • 31 Jan 2019 11:10 AM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

    As I go about my business - meeting people, networking, speaking - I run into several common misconceptions and myths about certifications that’d I’d like to bust wide open.  Some of these can really get me on a soapbox so I apologize in advance if I get a little passionate.

    The first of these myths is that certifications are an entitlement program.  Nothing can be further from the truth! I say to people ALL THE TIME that certifications provide Opportunities and NOT Guarantees. What’s the difference, you ask? The difference is you get NO benefit by just “being certified”.  Having a certification does NOT mean that manna will rain down from heaven. You have to research the agencies who buy what you sell, you have to find who the contracting officers are in those agencies, you have to learn how to market your business to those individuals and you have to be pleasantly persistent about letting them know how your business solves their problems. Long story short, you still have to do the work.

    Another misconception I hear often from prospects is that certifications are a selling point. This is partially correct but only in the right context. Ten years of experience in your field is a selling point; a track record of on time/on budget delivery is a selling point; past performance with clients/projects of similar size and scope are a selling point; certifications, however, are not a selling point. Certifications are the icing on the cake or the cherry on top; it’s what folks from Louisiana call a “Lagniappe” or a little something extra.  

    One of the other really common misconceptions out there is that you should get every possible certification you can. Although I’ve helped clients with multiple certifications, that isn’t the right choice for every business. It’s back to the old, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I always talk with my prospective clients about their goals with the certifications. I get to the root of who they are trying to serve and let that determine the certifications that can offer a competitive advantage for that prospective client.

    As an example, if you are a minority owned bottling equipment company your goal is to sell your bottling equipment to Coca Cola, then an MBE certification would be better than an 8(a) certification. If you are both a minority and woman owned large animal veterinarian and you want to sell your services to the Department of Interior, then WOSB certification would be a better option than MBE certification. In both scenarios above, the businesses would qualify for each of the certification, but having both may not provide additional benefits.

    These are not all of the myths and misconceptions that are circulating about certifications, but they are the ones I hear most often.  Let’s recap the realities:

    • 1.      Certifications provide opportunities, NOT guarantees.
    • 2.      Certifications are just a piece of paper until you put them to work.
    • 3.      Certifications are not the selling point; but they are the icing on the cake.
    • 4.      Just because you can get a certification doesn’t mean you should get it.
  • 24 Jan 2019 11:59 AM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

    Do what you do best and outsource the rest. This concept totally resonates with me. There are things, important, fundamental things that should be done in your business. But if those things are not in your wheelhouse, then YOU should not be doing them. I got that message from two different meetings recently and wanted to pass it along in case you are still struggling with control issues in your business.

    There are several reasons to hire those tasks that are not your core competency so let’s discuss those.

    1.       Outsourcing allows you to spend your time generating revenue. The time you spend performing non-revenue generating tasks is doing exactly that, not generating revenue.

    2.       Hiring a professional will cost less in the long run. Whether you realize it or not, there is a dollar value attached to your time. The time you spend muddling your way through something you are unfamiliar with is time not spent working on your business. Also, it will likely take you more time to do the project than it would a professional. Worst case scenario, if you can’t complete what you start (you get in over your head) it will likely cost more to have someone fix the mess than had you outsourced it to begin with.

    3.       You don’t know what you don’t know. An expert knows all the ins and outs of their subject matter, you don’t. In many situations there are DIY checklists but those tools don’t allow you to read between the lines.

    Find yourself a team of folks to help you. If you are just starting out, or don’t have a big budget, then do your research. There are plenty of opportunities to find subject matter experts for low to no cost. As an example, at Government Contractors Association, we offer FREE government contracting training to our members.

    Remember, no successful business has ever been built entirely from one person’s effort. So, aside from your pride, there is no reason for you to go it alone either. Your business is your baby and it takes a village to raise a child.


  • 17 Jan 2019 12:25 PM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

    “Luck is what happens when Preparation meets opportunity” - Seneca

    We have been building GCA since 2010, and, it has taken time grow the organization to what it is today. It has taken time to find the right strategic partners that can help us provide total solutions to our clients. It has taken even more time to build our membership and our list of newsletter subscribers who forward these articles to acquaintances and friends. And, it has taken time for us to create the systems we use to get results for our clients.

    All of this preparation was necessary in our business; and most of it was done as we were going about our day to day business. It’s not like you can hold everything to prepare. Some of the best preparations are born from problems. Something breaks, you fix it, and - if the process was painful enough - you build a system to prevent it from happening again. That’s preparing.

    The funny thing about preparing is that people begin to take notice. Clients notice the great work we’ve done for them. Strategic partners notice our professionalism and work ethic. Prospects notice our willingness to share information and resources to educate them about certification and procurement opportunities. And agencies notice our systems.

    Then one day, as luck would have it, opportunities start to present themselves. Referrals from past clients pour in, business associates start referring business and prospect calls come in consistently. Things begin to pop!

    So, what’s the secret to staying lucky in business? Well, you have to stay prepared. Keep doing the things that earned you those raving fans as clients. Keep networking and marketing to find strategic partners that can help you serve your clients better. Keep delivering great value and content to prospects. Keep working towards your goals because, like I figured out in corporate, the harder you work, the luckier you get.

    About the author:

    Myra Cisse is the owner of Certification Consultants LLC and President of GCA GA.  She worked as a banker for 20+ years and spent the last 6 years of her banking career assisting business owners and closing millions of dollars of SBA loans.  She is now combining her 20+ years of industry experience, 6 years of SBA lending experience and her journey in entrepreneurship to provide much needed government contracting education to business owners. Visit www.govassocaiation.org to learn more.

  • 05 Nov 2017 4:03 PM | Abraham Xiong (Administrator)

    One of the most common questions many new government contractors want to know is… “What do I need to do to be successful in the government market?” After hearing this question being asked over and over, I decided to write this article with my thoughts of what I think it takes to position a company to have the greatest chance for success in the government market.

    So here they are, my top 7 KEYS to becoming a successful government contractor.

    1) RELATIONSHIPS: You win contracts because you have the right relationships. It's not what you know or who you know, but it's who knows you back. Your goal is to establish KLT = Know, Like and Trust. When you have established strong KLT with a government buyer, your chances of winning contracts are much stronger than any other factors. You may be awarded a sole sought a contract, be asked to define the requirements for a specific solicitation, or the project may be written in a narrowed scope to where you're the only company that qualifies. Yes… there is a procurement process that has to be followed, but ultimately it is a person, contracting officer(s), who trusts you and will do the awarding of the project.

    2) PAST PERFORMANCE: Past Performance is the ability to demonstrate relevant experience through previous successful project delivery. Showing that you have the capability to deliver a product or service through relevant experience gives you an advantage over your competitors. This can be your own corporate past performance, a teaming partner's past performance or sometimes, you can use individual past performance.  The government is RISK AVERSE, so they use past performance as a way to gauge your capacity to deliver. In addition, past performance is another way of narrowing down the large number of interested vendors.

    3) PROPOSAL: Writing a winning proposal is about crafting an image on paper to demonstrate that you can be successful on delivering the product/service with the least amount of risk to the agency. Your proposal is your response to the solicitation and have to meet all the requested specifications in the exact way the buyer is seeking. Oftentimes, this may be the only perception that the source board see of you before they award a contract.

    4) CERTIFICATIONS: If you're a small business, you'll need to explore which certifications you qualify for. Certifications such as, 8a, HUBzone, SDVOSB, ED/WOSB, Section 3, MBE, DBE, WBE, SWAM, HUB, or others, can allow you to win sole source contracts or set-aside contracts. Certifications often can serve as a door opener into agencies or large primes that you're trying to establish a relationship with.  If you're a large company, certifications are important to you because you'll need to develop a subcontracting business plan on larger projects as part of your proposal. Oftentimes, working with small businesses will allow you to win set-aside projects as a subcontractor to the small company.

    5) CONTRACT VEHICLES: Obtaining the right types of contract vehicles can open doors to certain agencies for your company. Contract vehicles such as: IDIQ, GWAC, GSA Schedules, BPA and more specifically; Seaport-E, Schedule 70, STARS II can limit your competitors and allow you to be more successful. Keep in mind that each agency have their own preference of the type of contract vehicles they use. Ultimately, it comes down to which contract vehicle allows them the quickest path of securing a qualified vendor with the least amount of paper work. 

    6) IMAGE: Your brand or your image is very important. Having a strong image is about how the buying agency sees you. Remember, they may not know who you are, so you have to portray a capable brand. Your business name must demonstrate a solid brand. For example, let's compare these two company name: "John Harvey Janitorial Services of Mossy Point" vs. "Janitorial International". Which name appears more capable? Something as simple as your business name can win you contracts over your competitors. Change your business name or use a DBA if you have to in order to present a better picture. Secondly, your website, logo, business card, email address must look professional and speak to government buyers. You should have a government menu tab on your website, your DUNS number on your business card and a professional email that says: yourname@yourcompany.com instead of yourname1944@yahoo.com. Lastly, you'll need the right marketing collateral. The government does not use brochures, so you'll need to create a Capability Statement. You'll need to create a short one page version, for initial marketing purposes, and a 4 page or longer version which has more details upon request from the agency/buyer.

    7) REGISTRATION: Most companies start with registration as their first step in the government market. Getting registered in SAM.gov, DSBS, FBO, GSA, state vendor database or local municipality's vendor database is a step that must be completed in order to bid on projects. It normally doesn’t take a long time to get this step done. Keep in mind that approximately 66% of businesses which register to do work in the federal market, never win a single contract. So, yes… you need to get register as a vendor, but winning contracts is about all of the 7 Keys which we discussed here.

    In this article, we were only able to address these 7 Keys from a high overview perspective. If you’re interested in more specific details, check the GovFastTrack Software which was developed with these keys in mind to help government contractors. Check it out here: www.GovFastTrack.com

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Abraham Xiong is President of Government Contractors Association, Inc., a professional association dedicated to supporting businesses in the contracting market.  He is a social entrepreneur, a business coach, and an avid advocate for small and disadvantaged businesses.

     

    Mr. Xiong is the creator of the software program called “Gov Fast Track”.  It is available to help businesses approach government contracting through a step-by-step methodology.

     

    You can find more information about the program here:

    www.GovFastTrack.com

     

    Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved Government Contractors Association, Inc.


  • 15 Mar 2017 2:49 PM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

    I’m sure you’ve heard the old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”. Well the same is true about your business. Your business is your baby and it take a whole team – a village if you will – to make it successful.

    So much of business is about relationships. It’s about connecting with people and connecting the people you know with each other. I was reminded of that again today when I connected one of my clients who is doing some coaching around government contracting with a member of our association. He’s working on a large proposal and needed a particular set of skills beyond the capabilities of his business. I was all too happy to connect the two and I hope, with their combined efforts, they can win the project.

    If you are running your business in a silo, I encourage you to step outside yourself and connect with other business owners. Running a successful business, especially in the government space, is about collaboration. You cannot be all things to all people and you would exhaust yourself if you tried. So get out and make a point of networking with businesses that are vertically integrated with yours. By doing so, you may find someone with whom you can partner in order to expand your capabilities.

    Remember, ANY percentage of SOMETHING, is a lot better than 100% of NOTHING.


  • 03 Mar 2017 3:35 PM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA as it’s often referred to, develops and implements policies on farming, food and agriculture. Because of the breadth and scope of this department, there are 17 key agencies that support the USDA.  The link below will take you to the USDA Agencies and Offices page where you can see all of the agencies and offices that support the Department of Agriculture. These agencies cover a broad array of services including agricultural marketing and research services, farm services, food and nutrition services, food safety & inspection services, foreign agricultural service, forest service, resource conservation service and rural development, just to name a few. The scope of the USDA is so big that this is a Department you want to have in your sights.  

    The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is one of the 17 agencies in the USDA and it runs programs that foster the efficient, fair marketing of food, fiber and specialty crops.  The AMS has five commodity programs, an organic program, a science and technology program and a transportation and marketing program.  With these programs, the AMS, in effect, trades food commodities, administers organic standards, researches quality assurance standards and manages logistics for the food supply in the US and around the world.  And this is just ONE agency.

    Another key agency of the US Department of Agriculture is the Farm Service Agency (FSA).  This agency administers programs for farmers and ranchers including farm commodity, credit, crop insurance, environmental and emergency assistance programs.  Key programs for the FSA fall under the categories of conservation, energy, farm loans and disaster assistance.  The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) is one of the FSA’s energy programs created under the 2008 Farm Bill.  BCAP is a primary component in the strategy to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, improve energy security, reduce carbon pollution and foster rural economic development and job creation.

    The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is the agency that administers nutrition assistance programs in the USDA.  They provide food, a healthy diet and nutrition information to children and low-income individuals in America. Programs like WIC, National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Summer Food Service, Food Distribution and Farmers Market Nutrition all fall under the FNS.

    Another primary agency of the Department of Agriculture is the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS).  FSIS is the public health agency of the USDA and they are responsible for ensuring the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products is packaged correctly and is safe as per regulations.  The programs under this agency include the food recall program, food defense and emergency response and food safety education.

    The Foreign Agricultural Service (FSA) links US agriculture to the rest of the world market to enhance export opportunities and global food security.  Its major programs and services focus on trade policy, market development, export assistance, data and analysis and international development.

    The Forest Service manages public lands in national forests and grasslands and encompasses 193 acres of land while the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the primary agency that works with private landowners.  Seventy percent of land in the US is privately owned, so the NRCS ensures the health of our Nation’s environment by working with landowners through conservation planning and assistance to benefit soil, water, air plants and animals.

    The Rural Development agency is committed to the future of rural communities by improving the quality of life of rural residents via increased economic opportunities.  The Rural Development agency provides assistance to the communities it serves with business programs, cooperative programs, rural utilities programs and community development programs.  The agency has a portfolio of $155 billion in loans and will administer $20 billion in loans, grants and loan guarantees through their programs in the current fiscal year.

    I’ve just touched on eight of the 17 key agencies that support the Department of Agriculture.  I encourage you to use the link provided to review the others offices and agencies that support the USDA. The depth and breadth of this department make for tons of opportunities for businesses in many different sectors.  As we progress through each of the 15 departments I trust you’ll discover a niche for your business.


    http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navtype=MA&navid=AGENCIES_OFFICES - Agencies and Offices of the USDA


  • 24 Feb 2017 3:06 PM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

    The Department of Commerce is one of the 15 executive departments of the federal government.  This mission of this department is to help make American businesses more innovative at home and more competitive abroad so they can create jobs.  

    The Department of Commerce is made up of 12 different agencies that assist businesses, from those just launching to companies ready to expand into overseas markets.  The key agencies of this department are as follows: the Bureau of Industry and Security, the Economics & Statistics Administration, the Bureau of Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Economic Development Administration, the International Trade Administration, the Minority Business Development Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the National Technical Information Service, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Patent and Trademark Office.

    The goal of the Bureau of Industry and Security is to promote national security, foreign policy and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system.  The bureau works in partnership with the private sector to meet its objectives as well as with the international community.  The bureau does its best to avoid actions that compromise the international competitiveness of US Industry while maintaining national security.

    The Economics & Statistics Administration plays three key roles in the department.  They distribute economic indicators and they oversee both the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Have you ever wondered where those numbers for New Residential Home Sales and Gross Domestic Product come from?  Well, the expert economists in this agency produce those numbers as well as reports, fact sheets and briefings on policy issues and current economic events.

    The mission of the Economic Development Administration is to provide grants and loans to non-profits, businesses and state or local governments in economically distressed communities in an effort to create new jobs, retain existing jobs and stimulate growth.  The EDA website has a wealth of information including information on their funding opportunities, investment programs, and their Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    The International Trade Administration works to improve the global business environment and assists US businesses compete here at home and abroad.  This agency is organized into four business units:

    1. U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service - Promotes US exports by small and mid-sized businesses

    2. Manufacturing and Service - Helps shape industry specific trade policy to strengthen US competitiveness abroad

    3. Market Access and Compliance - Creates trade opportunities via the removal of market access barriers

    4. Import Administration - Enforces US trade laws and agreements to safeguard against unfairly imported products.

    The Minority Business Development Agency is an entrepreneurially focused agency of the department that is committed to wealth creation in minority communities.  The mission is to actively promote the growth and competitiveness of Small, Mid-sized and Large MBE’s in the US.  This site has a great registration portal called Phoenix that allows you to enter your NAICS codes, and business description so that when contracting opportunities that match your capabilities come through the system, you are notified via email.

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the oldest physical science laboratory in the nation.  The agency was created to improve measurement infrastructure in an effort to increase US industrial competitiveness globally.  Today NIST measurements support technologies as small as Nano scale devices and a large as earthquake resistant skyscrapers.  Funding opportunities with NIST are usually grants related to scientific research.

    The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) touches your life every day with daily weather forecasts, severe weather alerts and warnings and climate monitoring. While the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is the largest central resource for government funded information, whether scientific, technical, engineering or business related.   The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s programs focus primarily on expanding broadband internet adoption in the US, promoting digital literacy and developing policy on issues relating the internet economy.

    The Patent and Trademark Office grants patents and registers trademarks.  The agency also advises other US government agencies on intellectual property (IP) policy, protection and enforcement; and promoted more effective IP protection abroad.  Though contracting opportunities are not generally found in this department, they do procure goods and offer a link on their site with 2012-2015 forecast of the Small business opportunities.

    The US Department of Commerce may not be the most well-known of the departments of the executive branch but in my opinion, it is one of the more valuable departments. Because the goal of the department is to make sure that you, the small business owner, have the tools you need to be more competitive and innovative; the resources can prove usefule as you look to grow and expand your business.


  • 17 Feb 2017 3:04 PM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

    A few weeks ago I began a series addressing each of the 15 Departments of the Federal Executive Branch of the government.  The goal is to give you the information you need to begin identifying departments who may be buying your products and services. 

    This department is one we are all familiar with.  The Department of Education is charged with establishing the policies for the nation’s schools and it coordinates most federal education assistance.  There are a dozen key agencies that support the Department of Education; some of which are familiar to us as well.  They include the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office of Postsecondary Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education and Federal Student Aid.  

    The aforementioned agencies are the ones that we think of when we think of the public school systems.  Curriculum, assistive technology, textbooks, testing, accreditations and more, from Pre-K - Graduate levels, are all handled by these agencies.  If your business supports educating Americans, it’s likely to fall under the Department of Education.  

    With the Department of Education - and all of the departments, for that matter - I encourage you to think vertically.  Vertical integration is a big issue in corporate strategy, especially with firms reevaluating what parts of their value chain they want to keep and which parts to outsource.  For example, your company may perform binding services including spiral binding for workbooks.  A textbook publisher may outsource the binding portion of their business because it isn’t cost effective to have the equipment needed when that is such a small part of their overall business.  Your firm could be the partner to whom they outsource.  

    Continue thinking “outside the box” and look at grant opportunities for your business. We don’t often think about grants when we think of government contracts but those options are readily available as well.  The Office of Innovation and Improvement, for instance, makes strategic investments in innovative educational programs and they administer more than 25 grant programs, i.e. Charter schools.  In this agency, in particular, and the Department of Education in general, you’ll find a lot of grant opportunities.

    The last few agencies that complete the 12 key agencies of the Department of Education are the Office for Civil Rights, the Institute for Education Sciences, the Office of English Language Acquisition, the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics.  

    The Institute for Education Sciences provides the evidence on which education policies and practices are based via four centers; the evaluation center, research center, statistics center and the special education research center.  If your company conducts research or develops analytical software or manufactures assistive technology for special needs kids, then there may be contracting opportunities in the Institute of Education Sciences for you to consider.

    As I mentioned earlier, this series is to move you beyond the obvious needs you may think of when you consider some of these departments and see what actual niches may exist for your business.  The goal is to get you started down the right path so that you can truly see what opportunities await.  

    Good Luck.


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