July 18, 2012 by cs
Federal, state and local government agencies frequently host trade shows or expos to publicize their contract opportunities and attract new vendors. Wonder whether you should attend a government-sponsored business expo? What should you expect if you go? How should you prepare? Are you disappointed in the last trade show you attended?
These are the kinds of questions often posed by businesses we’re helping as a part of the Albany Small Business Procurement Program. Fundamentally, businesses want to know how they can gain a competitive advantage by attending an event sponsored by a government agency. The answer lies as much in preparation and follow-up as it does in actual attendance.
These kinds of events are what you make them. If you go to just listen, you may come away disappointed. If, on the other hand, you go to make something happen, you can come away with some good contacts,valuable insights, and solid business leads.
Here are a few tips …
- Establish some objectives for yourself – what do you hope to accomplish by attending? State this in concrete, quantifiable terms.
- Think about the specific kinds of opportunities you want to go after and be prepared to explain how you represent the solution to the government’s contracting objectives.
- Identify who is going to be in attendance and research in advance as much as you can about who will be there and those persons you want to meet. Think about why they are going to the show and what they want to accomplish there – align yourself with their objectives.
- Familiarize yourself with all details of the show so that you can envision how you are going to use the structure of the show to accomplish your objectives.
- Be prepared with marketing materials, including business cards, brochures and/or product/service fact sheets, product samples/portfolio, and a detailed capabilities statement. (Don’t have a capabilities statement? See our article on this subject here.) Tailor at least one of your handouts to the expo or show itself.
- Be prepared to talk about pricing. You may not need to, but be prepared just in case someone asks.
- Begin to envision how your competitors at the show can be potential partners as a result of the show.
- Develop and be prepared to deliver a 30-second “elevator speech” which explains in layman’s terms exactly what you are an expert at doing. Don’t be shy to explain what’s special about your company and why your products/services are the best. (If you need help constructing an elevator speech, see our article at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2011/04/whats-an-elevator-pitch-and-why-you-need-one.)
- Remember that buyers don’t have time to waste. Buyers want specific information, and buyers want to know what’s special about you (that’s your competitive advantage).
- Preparation is essential. It’s better not to go than to go unprepared – you never have a second chance to make a good first impression.
- Dress to impress. And wear comfortable shoes!
- At the show, listen to how your competitors are selling themselves and learn as much about their marketing as possible. Also learn from their mistakes.
- Understand that follow-up after the show is critical. Gather all the business cards you collected, write follow-up notes or emails – promptly. Set-up follow-up meetings/conference calls, if possible and appropriate. Send more marketing materials.
- Write yourself a report on lessons-learned. Review this report before planning to participate in another event.
We will be glad to elaborate on this topic and provide you with additional advice. You can find our contact information by clicking right here.
April 17, 2012 by cs
In partnership with American Express OPEN, the Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech is proud to offer a three-hour workshop entitled “Victory in Procurement: Marketing to the Federal Government.”
Designed for small business owners, this event will teach you how to effectively pitch your business to the government and provide:
- Insights into how to select which government agencies to target and how to get meetings with them,
- Tips and tactics for improving your elevator pitch and capabilities statement,
- Sample elevator pitches and capabilities statements,
- Advice from a panel of government buyers and successful small business owners,
- Interactive, roll-up-your-sleeves round-table exercises where you’ll hone your new-found skills.
The event will be held on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at the Tech Square Research Building (TSRB), located at 85 Fifth St., NW, Atlanta, GA 30308. The workshop will take place from 9:00 am until 12 noon.
Pre-registration is required. Click here to pre-register. Due to space limitations, walk-ins on the day of the event will not be allowed.
A flyer describing this event can be downloaded by clicking here.
July 8, 2011 by ei2admin
To acquaint Albany-area businesses with both Dougherty County’s and the City of Albany’s small business programs, Georgia Tech is holding orientation sessions on July 20, 2011. An explanation will be provided of the local government programs, the benefits of participating, and how to enroll.
The orientations will be followed by instruction on how to market to local governments and present their capabilities Dougherty County and Albany officials.
In addition, City and County officials will be on hand to share information about contracting opportunities and meet with area businesses.
Check-in and coffee begins at 9:30 am; the program begins at 10:00. Informal networking opportunities begin at noon with a light lunch.
If you want to attend, PLEASE PRE-REGISTER! Simply click here to fill-out a simple registration form. You will receive an email confirmation.
April 22, 2011 by ei2admin
We have a special treat just for you!
On Tuesday, Apr. 26th we are conducting a class just for registered clients!
From 1:00 ’til 3:00 pm, we’re going to be showing you exactly how our bid match service works and how you can “tweak” it to make it more effective in identifying government contract opportunities for you.
Guest speaker Tom Larkin will show you how to use the GTPAC bid match service to identify government bid opportunities that are relevant to your business interests. You will learn how to identify the correct NAICS codes, PSC/FSC codes, as well as keywords for your Search Profile. We will demonstrate how to effectively use the powerful ”iSearch” tool to validate keywords, obtain and collect marketing data, as well as how to identify what the agency “calls” what you sell. Real-time examples will be utilized during this interactive class.
Don’t miss this free class! If you can’t attend, be sure to send someone as your representative.
The class will be held in the Arthur K. Williams Conference Room located in the Microbusiness Enterprise Center, 230 S. Jackson Street, Albany, Georgia 31701.
To register in advance, please visit: http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/ConferenceDetail.action?ID=7012.
We hope to see you there!
Oh, and one more thing … Come early at noon and hear Tom talk about “How to Work Effectively with Small Business Specialists.” Refreshments will be served.
April 20, 2011 by ei2admin
Clients of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) often ask about how to best present themselves to government officials, particularly contracting officers and small business specialists. GTPAC Procurement Counselors — most former contracting officers themselves — consistently advise that there are four key ingredients to making a favorable impression within the government marketplace:
- Familiarizing yourself with the particular agency you are targeting,
- Being prepared to deliver a concise “elevator speech” (a 30-second description of your expertise),
- Presenting a business card which displays your CAGE, NAICS, and NIGP codes, and
- Having a “Capabilities Statement.”
While the first three ingredients are fairly straightforward, here’s what’s important to understand about creating a Capabilities Statement for your business.
A Capabilities Statement should contain particular information and be organized in a certain way for use in the government sector.
For instance, a Capabilities Statement should always identify the company’s CAGE code. The reason for this is that a company has a CAGE code only if it’s registered in Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the federal government’s vendor database. Showing your CAGE code is important because that way contracting officials know you are oriented to the government sector (if you weren’t, you wouldn’t know you have to register in CCR) and are properly registered (federal agencies can’t do business with you unless you’re listed in CCR).
Identifying your PSC/FSC and NAICS codes is important, too, because that means you know what they are and their significance. (There are such codes for every product and service, and government agencies specify their contract opportunities using these codes.)
Similarly, if you are marketing to state and local governments, you should show your NIGP codes in your capabilities statement, because state and local governments use NIGP codes (instead of PSC/FSC or NAICS codes).
Providing point-of-contact information for the references you list is important, too, in case a government official wants to make a call or send an email to one of them. Each reference should also describe the type of work you performed or the products you delivered.
Over a period of time, you’ll want to develop several different versions of your capabilities statement, each tailored to a particular government sector audience. This is just like tailoring a personal resume when applying for a particular job. You want your past work descriptions to match-up with the contracting needs of the agency to which you’re marketing. Small Business Specialists withing government agencies use this information to decide whether to refer you to contracting offices and end-users. Contracting officials use this information to make initial determinations about whether you have the wherewithal to perform.
GTPAC also recommends, in addition to a Capabilities Statement, that you create a one-page briefing sheet on your firm. It, too, should be tailored to each audience or occasion. Briefing sheets can be very helpful as handouts when you are attending trade shows, expos, pre-bid conferences, or face-to-face meetings.
If you need a sample Capabilities Statement or more guidance on this subject, contact your GTPAC Procurement Counselor for help. Remember, too, to attend GTPAC classes to obtain detailed instruction on marketing your business to the government sector.
© 2010 Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center – All Rights Reserved.
April 19, 2011 by ei2admin
It takes planning to make a good first impression. And first impressions are usually made on the basis of just a few words.
Sometimes, a few words are all you have a chance to say to a decision-maker — a government contracting official, for instance.
Companies who work with the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) tell us that government officials always seem to be in a hurry and want vendors to get right to the point. Similarly, government contracting people tell GTPAC that they are weary of dealing with ill-prepared vendors who just can’t seem to succinctly state what it is they’re good at.
These circumstances constitute a few of the reasons why vendors who want to make a good first impression with the government need to have what’s called an “elevator speech.”
Simply put, an elevator speech is what you say, in 30 seconds or less, to describe your expertise.
The term “elevator speech” comes from a situation such as realizing you’re in an elevator with someone you’d like to impress … but you’ve got only a few floors to say anything before they get off the elevator.
What if you suddenly found yourself on an elevator with a contracting officer, an elected official, or some other a potential government customer? Are you ready to quickly and professionally describe the solutions you represent and the expertise you can deliver?
Here’s an outline of what a good elevator speech should address:
- Who and what you are
- What you specialize in
- What you do
- Why you’re the best at what you do
- What you want (a call to action)
- (And remember: Everything must be stated in less than 30 seconds.)
Contact your GTPAC Procurement Counselor for further assistance in formulating your elevator speech.
© 2010 Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center – All Rights Reserved.
March 17, 2011 by ei2admin
If you’ve ever wondered how State agencies, cities, counties, school boards, and authorities buy their goods and services, then there’s a free class being held in Albany that you should make plans to attend.
You will learn how to register as a vendor, who to contact, where to find opportunities, what the requirements are for bidding, and how to get paid. Specific attention will be given to doing business with the State of Georgia and many units of local government in the Albany area.
The Georgia Tech-conducted class will be held from noon until 2:00 p.m. in the 1st floor conference room at the Microbusiness Enterprise Center, located at 230 S. Jackson St., Albany, GA. To pre-register, please go to http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/ConferenceDetail.action?ID=6860 and click on the “Sign-Up” button.
This class will provide special instruction for Albany-area small businesses interested in doing business with the City of Albany as well as other units of government. All businesses are welcome to attend.
March 7, 2011 by ei2admin
All Albany-area businesses are invited to attend and partcipate in the City of Albany’s Vendor Open House on Friday, March 25, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
This is a unique opportunity for vendors to meet the people who make the buying, purchasing and contracting decisions for the City of Albany government. Businesses also will be able to meet other vendors and network with one another.
In addition, there will be a mini vendor fair for vendors interested in setting up a tabletop with promotional materials and goodies to pass out to attendees.
Contact Christen S. Taylor at 229-431-3211 or su.ag.ynablanull@rolyathc by March 16, 2011, if you are interested in becoming a sponsor or donating a door prize for the Open House.
See the Open House announcement flyer issued by the Central Services Department of the City of Albany by clicking on this link: ALBANY CENTRAL SERVICES OPEN HOUSE 03.25.2011
February 23, 2011 by ei2admin
The “Speed Partnering” event held at the Albany Civic Center on Feb. 22nd proved to be very popular with the 150 vendors who attended.
The concept for the event is based on “speed dating” where couples get together for 15 minutes to see if the “chemistry” is right. In the instance of Speed Partnering, vendors are matched with buyers.
119 business people registered in advance to attend, but event organizers allowed dozens more to participate on a walk-in basis. Personnel from the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) organized and managed the event in conjunction with the City of Albany’s Small Business Procurement Program.
The big draw for the conference proved to be the buyers who came representing 11 local, state and federal government agencies, along with a half dozen resource partners.
Government agencies included the City of Albany’s purchasing office, Dougherty County, Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, the Sumter Youth Juvenile Justice office, the Georgia Dept. of Administrative Services (DOAS), the University System of Georgia, the Georgia Dept. of Corrections, the Marine Corps Logistics Command (MCLC), the Internal Revenue Service, the National Park Service, and the General Services Administration (GSA). Buyers from these agencies met one-on-one with all vendors in attendance.
Resource partners who participated in the event included Albany’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Albany State University’s College of Business, Capitol City Bank, the Albany Chamber of Commerce, and Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. These entities distributed helpful information and other resources to businesses.
The Mayor of Albany Willie Adams welcomed everyone during the event’s opening session. He was joined by Latoya Cutts, director of the City’s Community & Economic Development department. Also on hand was Presidential appointee Meredith Lilly of the General Services Administration and Patricia Hanes of the Minority Business Development Agency, U.S. Dept. of Commerce.
Running concurrently with the Speed Partnering were four workshops conducted by Georgia Tech procurement counselors on topics including Business Communications, Responding to Bid Solicitations, Conducting Market Research, and the SBA’s New Woman-Owned Small Business Program.
Albany’s news media covered the event closely. Video news coverage can be viewed at at:
- Fox 31 News: http://www.mysouthwestga.com/news/story.aspx?id=584222
- Fox 31 News Update: http://www.mysouthwestga.com/news/video.aspx?id=584222
- WALB-TV News: http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=14078571 (Click on the “Businesses, Government, Contractors get together” link under the “Video Gallery” to see the video there.)
Clovia Hamilton, procurement counselor in GTPAC’s Albany office, was the principal organizer for the day.
February 20, 2011 by ei2admin
We’re very excited about the Small Business Speed Partnering event in Albany on Tuesday, and we hope you’re excited, too!
As a reminder, the event is being held at the Albany Civic Center and begins with coffee and informal networking at 8:00 am. The program begins at 9:00 am sharp.
If you haven’t already pre-registered, please do by going to http://tinyurl.com/4dvxlxj and then hitting the “Sign Up” button.
You can see an advance copy of the agenda at:
When you look at the agenda, you’ll see that there are two blocks of time during which you will be able to meet one-on-one with buyers representing any of 11 different government agencies. (Marine Corps Logistics Command (MCLC) Albany; Georgia Department of Administrative Services (GSA); US Treasury Department, IRS; US Department of Interior, National Park Service; Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS); University System of Georgia; Georgia Department of Corrections; Dougherty County; SW Georgia Regional Airport; City of Albany Procurement Division; and Sumter Youth Juvenile Justice.) The “speed partnering” times are at 10:00 to 11:00 and 1:45 to 2:45. You’ll have 15-minutes to have these meetings, so give some thought now to which agencies you’d liek to meet with.
To prepare for a speed partnering session, we recommend two things: 1) Bring copies of a short “capabilities statement” with you to hand-out, and 2) Be prepared to state exactly what you do and why you’re an expert at it (this is known as an “elevator speech.”
To help you prepare to do these two things, here are two short articles you can read:
We’re also conducting great workshops during the event. Plan to attend these during the course of the day:
- Business Communications, Elevator Pitches and Capability Statements
- Reading and Responding to Bid Solicitations
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Government Contracting
- Conducting Government Market Research
- SBA’s New Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program
And, of course, you won’t want to miss addresses by Meredith Lilly, a Presidential-appointee and special assistant to the GSA regional administrator, as well as Patricia Hanes, Regional Director of the Atlanta National Enterprise Center, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), U.S. Department of Commerce. They will be providing tips for greater success in both the government and commercial markets.
We think you’ll agree — the Albany Civic Center is THE PLACE TO BE on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Plan to arrive at 8:00 am if you can to receive all the benefits of the day!