As seen in: Forbes
In my experience, women can be more risk-averse, making do on their own for as long as possible. Although this diligence and conservatism can be great for minimizing debt, it is also important to understand how leveraging debt properly can be critical to success. Contract mobilization financing, purchase order financing, debt refinancing and merger and acquisition financing are just a few of the ways I work with female business owners to strategically grow their business.
But first, business owners should consider where they are in the growth continuum and what option is right. Do you need short-term financing to scale up? Do you need to scale up for the long term? Smart financing can ultimately be a business differentiator and a key to success.
Appropriate financing can be a key to success in government contracting, but there are other things female business owners should consider as well.
Network, network, network
Just like any business practice, government contracting opportunities can often be impacted by relationships and previous experience. When you see an open bid, picking up the phone and calling the contract manager to show your intent and make a personal connection can make a big impact. The importance of effective networking is not to be ignored.
In between open bids, it is beneficial to get involved with relevant organizations to connect with decision makers and potential future partners in the space. Organizations such as Women Impacting Public Policy, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), National Women’s Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC), Women’s Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC) and many others all provide this networking opportunity. SBA’s network of resource partners, including the Women’s Business Centers, SCORE and Small Business Development Centers, in addition to the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) provide free advice and counseling in government contracting.
Networking is also effective at the completion of a contract. Maintain your relationship with the contract manager so that you can stay top-of-mind for upcoming contracts.
The federal government has specified contracting goals for working with small businesses under certain designations. These set-asides benefit small businesses owned by those in typically underrepresented socio-economic categories, such as women (five percent), disadvantaged persons (five percent), disabled veterans (three percent) or those in historically underutilized businesses zones, or HUBZones (three percent).
Author: Erin Andrew
Erin Andrew is the managing director for Live Oak Bank’s government contracting sector
Check out the article at www.forbes.com