Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

This Site has Moved to SonOfFiveRivers.com

Click Here to Vist NEW Site: www.SonOfFiveRivers.com

I’ve been blogging for several months now and I’m glad to have recieved the feedback I have.  I’ve enjoyed the experince and for that reason I’ve decided to take blogging to another level.  I’ll be self hosting my blog and that means you’ll see a lot more creativity in the design, functionality and layout of the new blog.

Check it out: www.SONofFIVErivers.com

Cheers

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January 22, 2010 Posted by | 1, A Thought, Ads, Agriculture, Art, Blogging, Books, Brochure, Business, Business Cards, Business Development, Business Model, Carbon Credits, Clean Energy, Co-op, Community Economic Development (CED), Computer Networking, Construction, Creativity, Data Recovery, Definitions, Earth, Economics, Education, Electric Cars, Email, Entrepreneurship, Family, Finance, Geothermal, Government, Grants, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, Human Resources, Information Technology (I.T.), Inspiration, Investment, LEED, Life, Marketing, Micro Credit, Not for Profit, Open Source, Packaging, PDA's, Philanthropy, Photography, Politics, Power Piont, Products, Project Management, Quotes, Sales, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Services, Social Enterprise, Social Media, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Taxes, Venture Capital, Videos, War, Waste, Water, Website | Leave a comment

Selling to Governments (Reasons of Failure)

I’m subscribed to Canada Export a newsletter released by the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, in it I came across the below article and thought it could be beneficial to those businesses trying to win government contract bids.  I had previously hosted a seminar around selling to the government which included presenters who were purchasers and buyers all the way from SAP to the Provincial Government. It covered some of the in’s and out’s of the bid process and I think this  article touches briefly on some of the issues businesses face.

………………….

An OOPS! sign

Too often, entrepreneurs spend thousands of dollars trying to win U.S. government contracts with no results. According to one expert, the reasons for failure come down to three common mistakes. Avoid them, she says, and increase your chances of success.

1. Entrepreneurs set unrealistic expectations.

“There is a myth out there that to win a government contract, all you have to do is follow the instructions,” says Judy Bradt, a former trade commissioner who is now Principal and CEO of Summit Insight, a firm that has guided over 5,000 clients to over $200 million in U.S. government contracts.
“Thousands of business owners have discovered that when they follow the instructions on websites like FedBizOpps [the U.S. federal government site that publishes opportunities], diligently hunt down bid notices and pump out proposals, the process does not usually reward their hard work” says Bradt. “They get frustrated by failures, especially when the contracts always seem wired for somebody else. Success takes a lot more than just writing proposals.”

The fix:

Companies that consistently win contracts research those opportunities a long time before competitions begin. They take the time to build relationships with buyers, influencers and partners. They adapt products or services for government buyers, and collaborate with those buyers to develop the specifications that will be published. They create targeted marketing campaigns and tactics to attract these new buyers, says Bradt.

This also applies if you’re a supplier or subcontractor to a bigger company that holds the prime contract with the government. Be sure that investment of time and money fits your risk threshold as well as your plans to grow your company.

Before your next proposal, understand every part of the government business development cycle that your competitors had to master to win their contracts. Decide if you’re ready for that investment. If so, then approach government contracts as a long-haul effort with your eyes wide open and your team ready to learn what winners have already figured out.

2. Businesses pursue opportunities on a shoestring budget.

“If your business is struggling, going after government contracts can hurt more than it helps,” says Bradt. Cash-flow horizons are longer in the public sector than in the private sector, both to develop business and to get paid for your work. Typically, government buyers are risk-averse and cautious about trying new vendors and ideas.

Runaway success in the first year is rare, says Bradt. Expect to spend 18 to 24 months investing money and time to develop relationships, find opportunities and partners, and prepare proposals before you turn a consistent profit. “Many managers rightly decide that it takes too much time and risk to develop a new market. And, unlike in the private sector, most government contracts don’t pay you up front. Unless you negotiate progress payments, you need enough funds to survive until after you do the work, invoice and get paid. That big contract can put you out of business.”

The fix:

First, explore alternate forms of financing. Your current line of credit is often not enough to pursue the contract, win it and finish the project. Even healthy companies are shocked to find that their bankers do not simply extend that line to finance a signed government contract. Asset-based financing is your cheapest money, but takes time to arrange. Alternative financing (aka “last-minute money”) is always more expensive and will evaporate your profits.

Bradt recommends that entrepreneurs forge a closer relationship with their banker. “If you’ve decided to pursue government contracts, and have revised your marketing budget to support that pursuit, review your access to working capital and financing. Then visit your banker to find out about financing options before you launch your campaign.”

3. Resist the temptation to use shotgun tactics.

“Too often, entrepreneurs go to FedBizOpps and pump out proposals for anything that appears relevant,” she says. The result is that most of their efforts are just as scattered and not much reaches the target. “If you go after everything, you might win something but most of your resources will be wasted and nobody has that kind of time and money to spare.”

The fix:

Focus. “When you want to win government contracts, you have to research and focus tightly to win,” says Bradt. Otherwise, you’ll go broke trying, she says. Savvy companies scope out the competition and possible partners in order to position themselves to win the projects that really fit them long before they put serious resources into pursuing those opportunities.

Free websites offer extraordinary amounts of federal contract market intelligence. Look into USAspending.gov, Central Contractor Registration, GSA Advantage, and Schedule Sales Query. These are all good sources if you’re testing the waters and not ready for a big investment yet.

Looking ahead

U.S. federal contract spending in 2009 topped a record $550 billion. And Bradt expects 2010 to look much the same. “The U.S. government has set a goal of spending 70% of the stimulus money by fall of 2010. Twelve months out, almost 47% had been allocated for specific purposes. Of that, only 16% has been spent. That means there’s a very stimulating year ahead—if you’re developing opportunities long before the competition begins.”

For more information, visit the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in the United States.

January 16, 2010 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Great Ideas, Investment, Marketing, Sales, Services | , , , | Leave a comment

Resources for Small Business

I’ve compiled some resources for people wanting to start a business in Canada. British Columbia seems to be leading the way when it comes to small business as they make up 98% of the Business Sector and employ almost 50% of the people who live in the Province.   The list below focuses on Business in BC, if your looking for other provinces I suggest you google these words; “Small Business & Economic Deveopment Ontario” (or whatever province your looking for)

Statistics related to small business are available at:

Statistics related to small business

553 Superior St.

Box 9410 Stn Prov Govt

Victoria, B.C. V8W 9V1

Telephone: 250 387-0327

Internet: www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca

Information on provincial government programs and services can be found at:

Ministry of Small Business and Revenue, Small Business Branch

Box 9805 Stn Prov Govt

Victoria, B.C. V8W 9W1

Telephone: 250 387-4699

Internet: www.sbr.gov.bc.ca

Information on federal government programs and services can be found at:

Western Economic Diversification Canada

Suite 700 – 333 Seymour St.

Vancouver, B.C. V6B 5G9

Telephone: 604 666-6256

Toll Free: 1 888 338-9378

Internet: www.wd.gc.ca

The Government of Canada’s main site for business information

Canada Business

1 888 576-4444

www.canadabusiness.gc.ca

Online tool to help quickly and easily identify permit and licensing requirements for business activities

BizPaL Business Permits and Licences

bizpal@gov.bc.ca

http://www.bcbizpal.ca

Business counselling and assistance for new and existing businesses in rural British Columbia.

Community Futures Development Corporation of British Columbia

1 604 685 2332

www.communityfutures.ca/provincial/bc/

e-business information resources for small and medium-sized businesses

eBC eBusiness Connection

1 604 775-7532

www.e-bc.ca

Online business registration and change of business address

Online business registration and change of business address

1 877 822-6727

www.bcbusinessregistry.ca

Province-wide access to government services including key government transactions for business

Service BC

1 800 663-7867 (Enquiry BC) to be transferred to the

nearest Service BC Contact Centre

www.servicebc.gov.bc.ca

Comprehensive business information and business planning resources for starting and growing a business in British Columbia

Small Business BC

1 800 667-2272

www.smallbusinessbc.ca

Business information counselling and skills training for women entrepreneurs

Women’s Enterprise Centre

1 800 643-7014

www.womensenterprise.ca

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Grants, Human Resources, Investment, Marketing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Business ER Hotline


Business BC Launches “Business ER Hotline”:

Economic Climate a Hot Topic for Small Business Sector

Vancouver – Small Business BC (SBBC) has launched the “Business ER (Emergency) Hotline” providing BC’s small businesses with the solutions and business strategies to deal with the current economic conditions.

The Business ER Hotline, 1-800-667-2272, will enable SBBC to quickly address and respond to crisis-related business issues.

In addition to a 1-800 number, clients can ask questions and access information via email, or they can go to the Business ER Hotline website, www.smallbusinessbc.ca/businessER, or visit the SBBC Vancouver office in person, 601 West Cordova Street.

SBBC Consulting CEO, George Hunter, explains the reason for launching the Business ER Hotline: “Our staff has noted a significant increase in questions relating to changes in the economy.  For example, people want to know what kind of training programs are available for upgrading skills, or, which sectors are showing promise for new business opportunities, such as BC’s healthcare sector.  There are many people newly out of work who are now exploring the idea of starting a business.”

SBBC also reports an increase in questions regarding financing options and business strategies for tougher economic times such as how to cut expenses and build revenue, as well as a significant number of inquiries regarding labour standards.

“The Business ER Hotline offers a direct way to get timely information out to business owners and their employees as well,” says Hunter, “The small business community is important to our economy and SBBC is pleased to be able to provide a link to current information and provide support as small business owners navigate a changing economic landscape.”

Hunter encourages small business owners to contact SBBC via the Business ER Hotline, or go to their website, www.smallbusinessbc.ca, to find out more about the comprehensive services SBBC offers, such as financing options and sources, government acts and regulations, one-on-one business counseling, market research and consultation, business planning services, business seminars, e-business information and an education and resource centre

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Ads, Blogging, Brochure, Business, Business Development, Business Model, Creativity, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Government, Grants, Great Ideas, Human Resources, Investment, Marketing, Micro Credit, Packaging, Products, Sales, Services, Venture Capital | , , , | Leave a comment

The Grameen Bank – For the People by the People

Grameen Bank (GB) has reversed conventional banking practice by removing the need for collateral and created a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity. GB provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral. At GB, credit is a cost effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the over all development of socio-economic conditions of the poor who have been kept outside the banking orbit on the ground that they are poor and hence not bankable. Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder of “Grameen Bank” and its Managing Director, reasoned that if financial resources can be made available to the poor people on terms and conditions that are appropriate and reasonable, “these millions of small people with their millions of small pursuits can add up to create the biggest development wonder.”

As of June, 2009, it has 7.90 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women. With 2,557 branches, GB provides services in 84,487 villages, covering more than 100 percent of the total villages in Bangladesh.

Grameen Bank’s positive impact on its poor and formerly poor borrowers has been documented in many independent studies carried out by external agencies including the World Bank, the International Food Research Policy Institute (IFPRI) and the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Mission Statement: Grameen Foundation’s mission is to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty.

Grameen Foundation is a leader in the fight against poverty in Sub Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab World, and the Americas. Since our beginning in 1997, our programs, resources and fresh ideas have helped more than 45 million poor people, mostly women and children, improve their lives.

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Finance, Great Ideas, Inspiration, Investment, Life, Venture Capital | , , , | Leave a comment