Southern crescent small business chamber of commerce

News

  • 8 Aug 2017 10:28 AM | Linda Chatmon (Administrator)

    Most nonprofit founders are a little surprised when I suggest they compete for federal contracts instead of looking for government grants. In this article, I will tell you why it may be better for your organization to turn to federal contracting opportunities as part of your funding strategy.

    One of the huge advantages young nonprofit organizations have over young for-profits companies is the opportunity to select and assemble a board of directors.

    The average struggling startup doesn’t have or need a board. This is one case where the stereotype may be true, in that the typical startup is owned by a tech person and sales guy, and hopefully it really is a sales guy, and not just a “visionary”.

    Either way, startup founders often work double-duty as the company’s strategists, sales team, copywriters, and admin staff.

    Nonprofits, on the other hand, often have boards made up of a diverse selection of talented people, many of whom are leaders in their own space.

    This small difference can give nonprofits a distinct advantage when they enter the federal contracting space and have to compete against for-profit companies.

    In fact, this distinction is one of the primary reasons I encourage nonprofit organizations to go after government contracts instead of just competing for government grants.

    Federal Contracts Vs. Government Grants

    Most founders are a little surprised when I suggest they compete for federal contracts instead of looking for government grants. The truth is federal contracting often provides a better opportunity for nonprofits to have the type of long-term income that can support consistent growth.

    Let’s face it: If your nonprofit doesn’t have a large endowment sitting in an account somewhere drawing interest, your organization will have to raise funds to generate enough revenue just to cover the organization’s expenses.

    The problem with fundraising is it’s unpredictable.

    You don’t know from year to year how close you will get to raising your target amounts. To me, it makes sense for mission-focused nonprofits to offer a menu of products and services they can monetize to support their mission.

    How To Determine If Your Nonprofit Is Eligible For Government Contracts

    The easiest way to figure out if you’re eligible for a government contract is to do what for-profit companies do – find a federal Request for Proposal (RFP) for which your organization would be a good fit.

    Many people have the misconception that the government only buys products. But the government buys services as well. So, you don’t have to make and sell widgets to compete for government contracts.

    Your company can develop training programs for certain segments of the population. You may even be able to find RFPs that will keep your contracting activities within the scope of your organization’s mission.

    Some government agencies get grants then use the proceeds to to contract with nonprofit organizations. The Department of Labor does it, as do Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Institute of Health.

    All four of these agencies contract with nonprofits. But these are not government grants. This money is set aside for nonprofit organizations who are willing to pursue federal contracting opportunities.

    In addition to competing for federal contracts yourself, make it a point to also reach out to larger nonprofit entities like the Salvation Army and Catholic charities as they often have “subgrant” opportunities for nonprofits who are looking to partner with them and perform certain programs.

    Larger organization secure government grants then look for smaller nonprofits to provide the services needed to fulfill grant requirements.

    Don’t overlook federal contracting and sub-grant opportunities as part of your program income funding strategy.


  • 11 Jun 2017 8:33 AM | Linda Chatmon (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Media Contact: Danielle Crowe

    Contact Phone Number: 678-833-5759

    ATLANTA, June 19, 2017 — Henry County is preparing to play host to the first ever performance-based chamber of commerce. Spearheaded by Commissioners Bruce Holmes and Dee Clemmons, the Southern Crescent Small Business Chamber of Commerce was created to help small businesses strengthen their market positions and expand their reach locally, regionally, nationally and globally through business develop and relationship-building.

    The Southern Crescent Chamber, which will officially open its doors in August 2017,  provides small, minority-owned, women-owned,  veteran-owned, and rural businesses the opportunity to identify and facilitate relationships and partnerships throughout the Southeastern Region of the United States and with fellow Chamber members.

    While the Chamber will serve small businesses across multiple sectors, the organization’s newly-appointed president, Linda Chatmon, wants the Southern Crescent Chamber to focus on preparing its members to make inroads into three key markets – government contracting (local, state and federal),  entertainment, and the movie/film industry.

    The launch of the Southern Crescent Chamber marks the first time a chamber of commerce will help its members build relationships based on an internal performance rating structure. The organization’s performance-based membership will enable businesses to choose teaming partners using the Chamber’s objective, third-party assessment of each company’s past performance and present capabilities.

    “Traditionally, chambers of commerce and similar member-driven trade organizations have focused on membership growth as their only performance metric, not the market strength of their members,” says Chatmon. “But that’s not our focus. I have 22 years of experience growing businesses other than my own and it makes sense to me that my value as a leader is to help our members grow their businesses. That’s the metric by which I plan to measure the performance and effectiveness of Southern Crescent: If we can accelerate the success of local businesses, we are successful as a business organization. Then and only then can I say we have served our members.”

    The President hopes that having a system by which companies can measure the performance of the other members, will make businesses and contracting officers more likely to confidently “in-source” partners and suppliers from within the Southern Crescent Chamber’s region-wide membership before outsourcing to companies outside the region or country.

    Chatmon intends to leverage her existing relationships to help bridge the gap that exists between Southern Crescent’s small business members,  small business liaisons, and government contracting officers. She wants them to know Southern Crescent understands the role performance metrics play in filling mandated small business requirements.

    Metro Atlanta companies and organizations interested in learning more about the benefits of becoming members of the Southern Crescent Chamber of Commerce can visit the Chamber’s website at www.southerncrescentchamber.org/

    # # #

    Linda Chatmon is the founder and CEO of Contracts and Grants, LLC. For more than two decades, Chatmon and her team have provided proposal, program and contract support services for local government, federal and defense contracts. A Subject Matter Expert in Federal and Defense Acquisitions, Chatmon and the Contracts and Grants team have been responsible for more than $12.2 billion in contracts and grant negotiations and awards since 2011.


  • 11 Mar 2017 6:37 AM | Linda Chatmon (Administrator)

    If you ever thought about owning your own business, I hope you also considered the work that goes into launching and maintaining an enterprise.  Often, nine-to-fivers will leave their jobs in corporate America to run their own business in hopes of uncapping their earning potential and taking advantage of the flexibility that entrepreneurship offers.

    The truth is before you ever open the door of your business, you will spend months – and maybe even years – planning your business.

    You need time to assess the market and find out where the voids are. You’ll need to know if you can fill the void at a reasonable cost to you and still make money. It is also notable to mention that you need to have a specific product idea in mind and a pretty broad understanding of both your product and your target market – essential factors in establishing your niche in the business industry.

    After doing the preliminary work, most entrepreneurs spend years and years working long days to clear a living wage of about $70,000 a year, which is what the average business owner earns according to Fox News.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can be a valuable resource to help you start and grow your small business. There are four basic types of resources available through the U.S. Small Business Administration that can really help you small business.

    RESOURCES TO HELP YOU ORGANIZE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

    Starting and planning your own business can be time-intensive, but it can also be a fluid and seamless task when you have access to the right information and people.

    Get the SBA’s guide for new entrepreneurs to get insights into steps to take to prepare for, plan and launch your business. SBA Direct is a service provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration that provides business owners the information they need to build strong businesses.

    RESOURCES TO HELP YOU MANAGE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

    Business doesn’t start and end with you taking your products and services to market. Developing and implementing a good management strategy is essential to your business success. Business management includes guiding and motivating your team, managing the finances to keep the business profitable, scaling the business for growth, and anticipating changes in your market.

    At the heart of good business management are the leadership skills of the management team. Your business will grow and evolve as long as you do.

    The SBA provides free and low-cost resources to help your leadership team propel the business forward. Available resources focus on skill-building, strategic thinking, and developing a leadership mindset. Entrepreneurs can also get technical assistance and participate in mentoring programs.

    RESOURCES TO HELP YOU FUND YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

    A business that’s under-capitalized can die before it ever gets going. Contrary to popular belief, the federal government doesn’t provide seed money to help entrepreneurs start businesses. So, how do you get the money to start a business?

    In the current market, it seems like any kid in a hoodie can pitch an angel investor and walk away with hundreds of thousands of dollars to start a business. But most seasoned entrepreneurs will advise novices to keep overhead low, stay lean, and skip raising hundreds of thousands of dollars (which is essentially selling off bits and pieces of your business) in investment money.

    Come up with a plan, execute on the plan, and see how well your business idea does in the market. That’s the key to funding your business – actually selling.

    There are several questions to ask yourself while still in the planning phase of your project:

    • How will I fund the business before it’s monetized?
    • How will I monetize my business?
    • How much is it going to cost to operate this business for the first six months? The first year? Two years? Five years?
    • Do I have enough operating capital on-hand to sustain my business through the slow seasons?
    • Is there another way I can gather resources to sustain my business in lieu of money? (bartering, technical assistance for example)
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of securing a small business loan?
    • Can I qualify for a conventional small business loan or will I have to seek outside funding through crowd sourcing or angel investors?

    If you can answer these questions before you launch, it can make the difference between you being able to help your small business grow slowly over time, and your business stalling out from a lack of resources.

    Resources to Help Your Small Business Get Federal Contracting Opportunities
    Winning the right government contract at the right time can help you grow your business. But it’s important that you are able to recognize if it really is the right time for your company to pursue a government contracting opportunity.

    Can your company handle the responsibilities associated with winning a government contract?

    Audit your daily operations and capabilities to help you objectively determine if you have what it takes to deliver on a government contract.

    Opportunity awaits.


  • 2 Nov 2016 10:08 AM | Linda Chatmon (Administrator)

    Can you market your business to the Federal government with any real-world success?

    Most businesses grow their customer base and increase their bottom line through marketing. They focus on putting their products and services in front of their target customer. They find ways to engage prospective customers and drive sales that create and maintain profitability.

    But for whatever reason, too many companies make the transition to the federal contracting space and stop marketing. They think they no longer need to market their business, like the government will come to them.

    Here’s the deal: You can’t assume that fulfilling the administrative requirements is enough to have success as a federal contractor. Just adding your business to the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database or replying to Request for Proposals (RFPs) isn’t enough.

    The truth is businesses seeking government contracts MUST market their services and build brand awareness just like they would in the private sector!

    Companies need to map out business development activities as federal contractors just like they do with the B2B or B2C activities. That means facilitating relationships with agency procurement officers and making the rounds at various networking events.

    Just how DOES one go about marketing their good and services to the federal government?

    Just What Should You Be Marketing?

    Start by marketing your most important asset – a stellar reputation. A successful track record of providing high quality, innovative products and services goes a long way toward ensuring your success as a government vendor.

    Next, start the work of building relationships. Networking is a key component of creating awareness of your brand. Talk to people, forge relationships, and create partnerships and alliances that are mutually beneficial both for your business and your teaming partners.

    In the private sector, relationships are invaluable. Well, it’s the same in the public sector. Knowing how to go about building those relationships is a skill every prospective government contractor should learn.

    Know Your Client & Make Contact

    Effective marketing in the public sector is about finding out precisely what your clients’ needs and wants are. To effectively market your business, you need to know your client. If you want to do business with a specific government agency, you should know how that agency functions, what it does, its mission, and whom it serves. That’s the kind of insight that will help you figure out how you can provide the most value.

    And make no mistake: Rumors of $600 toilet seats aside, Federal agencies are looking for value – the best quality at the best (not the cheapest) price.

    Federal agencies publish a list of the contracting opportunities available for small businesses. You can learn about upcoming opportunities through trade magazines, and by attending industry networking events and trade shows.

    Once you have enough information, don’t be afraid to reach out to procurement officers directly or through an intermediary like the Small Business Administration. Make sure agencies know you exist, but don’t try to sell yourself before you established a good relationship.

    Get Ahead Of The Procurement Cycle

    Another strategy that will enable you to effectively market your business to the federal government is to get ahead of the procurement cycle. Make it a point to get to know procurement officers before they are looking to buy your product or service.

    When you contact a government agency, your goal should be creating a dialogue with procurement officers so they know who you are long before they need your services. That way, by the time RFPs are released for the products and services you provide, you will already have the relationships in place with decision-makers who know you and are aware of your value offering.

    Don’t think of new business as something that’s given, but rather as something that’s attracted.

    Forge Partnerships

    Sub-contracting is a good way to learn the federal contracting process. Vendors who win prime contracts valued over a certain threshold must provide a sub-contractor plan which involves the participation of a small business.

    Large companies need small companies with whom they can partner to deliver on the terms of their federal contract. Your business can benefit by finding out which companies have been awarded federal contracts and seeing if there is a way for your company to serve as a provider for the prime contractor.

    Check out SUB-net, a government service that matches prime contractors with sub-contractors.

    Success in government contracting is not just about meeting the minimum requirements of a particular RFP. It also requires you to research and learn the ins and outs of the government procurement process. Whether in the private or the public sector, your ability to effectively market your business will play a crucial role in your ultimate success.

    Can you market your business to the Federal government with any real-world success?

    Most businesses grow their customer base and increase their bottom line through marketing. They focus on putting their products and services in front of their target customer. They find ways to engage prospective customers and drive sales that create and maintain profitability.

    But for whatever reason, too many companies make the transition to the federal contracting space and stop marketing. They think they no longer need to market their business, like the government will come to them.

    Here’s the deal: You can’t assume that fulfilling the administrative requirements is enough to have success as a federal contractor. Just adding your business to the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database or replying to Request for Proposals (RFPs) isn’t enough.

    The truth is businesses seeking government contracts MUST market their services and build brand awareness just like they would in the private sector!

    Companies need to map out business development activities as federal contractors just like they do with the B2B or B2C activities. That means facilitating relationships with agency procurement officers and making the rounds at various networking events.

    Just how DOES one go about marketing their good and services to the federal government?

    Just What Should You Be Marketing?

    Start by marketing your most important asset – a stellar reputation. A successful track record of providing high quality, innovative products and services goes a long way toward ensuring your success as a government vendor.

    Next, start the work of building relationships. Networking is a key component of creating awareness of your brand. Talk to people, forge relationships, and create partnerships and alliances that are mutually beneficial both for your business and your teaming partners.

    In the private sector, relationships are invaluable. Well, it’s the same in the public sector. Knowing how to go about building those relationships is a skill every prospective government contractor should learn.

    Know Your Client & Make Contact

    Effective marketing in the public sector is about finding out precisely what your clients’ needs and wants are. To effectively market your business, you need to know your client. If you want to do business with a specific government agency, you should know how that agency functions, what it does, its mission, and whom it serves. That’s the kind of insight that will help you figure out how you can provide the most value.

    And make no mistake: Rumors of $600 toilet seats aside, Federal agencies are looking for value – the best quality at the best (not the cheapest) price.

    Federal agencies publish a list of the contracting opportunities available for small businesses. You can learn about upcoming opportunities through trade magazines, and by attending industry networking events and trade shows.

    Once you have enough information, don’t be afraid to reach out to procurement officers directly or through an intermediary like the Small Business Administration. Make sure agencies know you exist, but don’t try to sell yourself before you established a good relationship.

    Get Ahead Of The Procurement Cycle

    Another strategy that will enable you to effectively market your business to the federal government is to get ahead of the procurement cycle. Make it a point to get to know procurement officers before they are looking to buy your product or service.

    When you contact a government agency, your goal should be creating a dialogue with procurement officers so they know who you are long before they need your services. That way, by the time RFPs are released for the products and services you provide, you will already have the relationships in place with decision-makers who know you and are aware of your value offering.

    Don’t think of new business as something that’s given, but rather as something that’s attracted.

    Forge Partnerships

    Sub-contracting is a good way to learn the federal contracting process. Vendors who win prime contracts valued over a certain threshold must provide a sub-contractor plan which involves the participation of a small business.

    Large companies need small companies with whom they can partner to deliver on the terms of their federal contract. Your business can benefit by finding out which companies have been awarded federal contracts and seeing if there is a way for your company to serve as a provider for the prime contractor.

    Check out SUB-net, a government service that matches prime contractors with sub-contractors.

    Success in government contracting is not just about meeting the minimum requirements of a particular RFP. It also requires you to research and learn the ins and outs of the government procurement process. Whether in the private or the public sector, your ability to effectively market your business will play a crucial role in your ultimate success.


ABOUT THE CHAMBER

The Southern Crescent Small Business Chamber is a performance-based trade organization serving created to help startups and small businesses get access to opportunities, build new relationships, and find and win government contracts and grants.

CONTACT US

info@southerncrescentchamber.org

Phone (678) 833-5759

Serving  Georgia, Alabama, New Orleans, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas

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