by Annie Pilon | October 14, 2017
The federal government is awarding more contracts to women owned small businesses than ever before. There’s still a long way to go. But for women who haven’t ever considered doing business with the federal government, it might be a good time to reconsider.
Federal Contract Tips for Women Owned BusinessesIn fact, there are some opportunities for government contracts that are meant specifically for women owned small businesses. Here are some tips for women business owners looking to navigate the world of government contracting.
Consider if the Federal Government Would Be an Ideal CustomerGovernment contracting isn’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the opportunity without at least exploring whether your products or services might work for some government agencies. Every government agency needs to purchase all of its supplies, materials and services from somewhere. So consider if what your business sells could be a good fit for any of those agencies or offices.
Lourdes Martin-Rosa, President of Government Business Solutions and American Express OPEN Advisor for Government Contracting said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “The only thing the federal government really manufactures is money. So if they’re going to purchase anything, whether it’s zippers or furniture, it’s going to come from a private entity. And hopefully in most cases that’s a U.S. business.”
Register with the System for Award ManagementBefore you’re able to apply for any government contracts, you need to register your business. To do that, visit the System for Award Management and create a profile for your small business. Complete the entire process so that government agencies can find your business when looking for contractors to do business with.
See if Your Business Qualifies for Set-AsidesThere are also set-asides in select areas where women owned small businesses are supposed to get priority. But it’s not in every industry. You can see the list of set-asides for women owned small businesses online to see if your business might qualify in one of these areas. If it does, it could give you an advantage when applying for contracts in that area.
Self Certify as a Woman Owned Small Business with the SBAIf your business does qualify for any of these set-asides, you’ll need to register as a women-owned small business. This is a self-certification process that you can complete online through a portal provided by the SBA.
Receive Bid NotificationsFrom there, you have to actually bid on contracts. Those bids come up for different agencies at different times. So you’ll want to constantly be on the lookout for anything that might be relevant to your business. You can also sign up for notifications so you’ll be the first to know when new bids come up in your industry.
Study Procurement ForecastsBut you don’t have to wait until each bid is actually posted in order to get your business ready. Each federal agency provides something called a procurement forecast on its website. This is basically a list of products and services that it plans on utilizing in the near future. So you can look up those procurement forecasts for the agencies you’d like to gain contracts with to give your business a better chance of being ready when those bids are posted.
Attend Government Contracting EventsAs with basically any aspect of growing a business, education and networking can go a long way when it comes to government contracting. And there are plenty of events out there that can help. OPEN Forum, for instance, hosts educational events for small businesses looking to make the most of government contracting. Through these events, you can access valuable resources to learn more about getting government contracts, as well as network with others in your industry and meet actual government buyers.
Find a Strategic Teaming PartnerEven if your business is in an industry that sets aside a portion of its government contracts to women owned small businesses, those contracts only have to actually go to women owned businesses if there are at least two such businesses that apply. So if you apply for contracts where you’re the only one, those set-asides won’t benefit your business. But Martin-Rosa recommends networking with other women in your industry who are interested in government contracts so you can apply for some of the same ones in order to help each other’s chances of securing those contracts.
Research the Agency’s MissionEach government agency has its own mission and goals. So when applying for contracts, it helps to tailor your bid to the specific agency, rather than utilizing a one-size-fits-all approach. Before submitting a bid, do some research on the agency’s mission so you can make it as appealing as possible.
Keep At ItGovernment contracting isn’t an easy process. The government is supposed to allocate about a quarter of its contracts to small businesses in the U.S. And about 5 percent is meant to go to women owned small businesses. But the government doesn’t always meet those goals. So it’s important to keep going and improve your strategy over time.
by Jonathan Shieber | Oct 13, 2017
Influencer marketing is the “in” thing right now that all the hip brands are using to stay relevant with their even hipper young audiences.
While it used to be the province of big brands cutting big deals with big influencers, there’s a second or third tier to the influencer market — one that’s more targeted to specific niches — and one that’s been hard for small and medium-sized businesses to crack.
Well, Unity Influence believes it has a low-cost, machine-learning-enabled solution to connect these micro-influencers with the small businesses who want to use their targeted reach for marketing purposes … and open up a new category to the benefits of influencer pitches. And the company just launched from its private beta to take on new customers.
The company, currently working out of offices in South San Francisco and Los Angeles, was founded by Jacobo Lumbreras, who previously worked for the employee assessment service Yoi Corp., and Patrick Ip, who previously ran small and medium-sized business retention for Google’s AdWords business.
The two men are members of the Kairos Society, and first met at StartingBloc, a fellowship and training program for social entrepreneurs.
Both had been mulling how to build an influencer marketing engine that would be more accessible to small businesses… and arguably more successful than the standard AdWords campaigns and Facebook ads that are the typical ways that small businesses drive traffic online.
Despite the lack of transparency or data on the efficacy of influencer marketing, Ip and Lumbreras see an opportunity to expand the existing market and bring some technological efficiency to the process.
That’s not to say there aren’t already companies trying to carve out space. Companies like Nuvi, SocialToaster, Izea, Scrunch, and Babblebox all tout influencer marketing solutions.
Brands spent around $570 million on influencer marketing, according to an eMarketer survey cited by Digiday. The same article broke down some other numbers and found the price range per post for influencers with between 500,000 and 1 million followers falls between $5,000 and $10,000.
What Lumbreras and Ip say they offer is a system that is more automated than their competitors, which the two said act more like traditional advertising agency shops.
Most startups in the influencer advertising world require manual searches for influencers and manual approval of contracts. That creates additional costs and friction in the buying process, that Ip argues Unity alleviates.
“At Google I worked on advertiser retention. And one of the things we wrestled with was high churn with small business customers,” Ip said.
The lesson was to make the process as simple as possible. So the company has users fill out a single form for the business they’re in and the types of audience they want to reach. Unity dos the rest and charges only $200 for a campaign.
“For us, our focus is on what we call micro-influencers,” said Ip. “If you get a big influencer their engagement rate is 2% to 3%. With micro-influencers it’s 6% and for our power users it’s 10% to 12%.”
The influencer marketing world will only gain ground, according to Ip, because organic reach is “getting killed”.
For the company, the categories that are most active right now are food and fitness. Brands in each category are always looking to find new ways to reach an audience and gain that critical first foothold in their market. Often, an influencer endorsement can help.
The argument was strong enough to attract 9 angel investors to back the company.
“We’re trying to build this third way,” between native advertising and traditional targeting, says Ip. “We’re trying to do human advertising and human content, but do it at internet scale.”
Source : https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/13/bringing-influencer-marketing-to-small-businesses-unity-influence-raises-1-million/
by Alex Spencer | October 13 2007
Facebook has launched food ordering within its core product, enabling users to buy a takeaway without having to leave the social network.
“People already go to Facebook to figure out what to eat by reading about nearby restaurants, and seeing what their friends say about them,” said Alex Himel, VP of local at Facebook. “So, we’re making it even easier.”
Users can search for a specific restaurant or browse the 'Order Food' section to see nearby restaurants. To help them pick, reviews are pulled from the business' Facebook page, and listings can be filtered by cuisine, price and opening time – with a dedicated section for any restaurants the user has previously favourited.
Once they've picked, the user is connected to the relevant delivery service, where they can order and pay. As long as they already have an account with that service, this is all done within the Facebook app or site.
It's yet another play by Facebook to monopolise user's time, bringing content traditionally found on the wider web beneath its own umbrella – just like it's already done with Instant Articles.
This feature has been undergoing testing for the past year, but is now rolling out across the US. The launch is supported by partnerships with food delivery services including Delivery.com, DoorDash and ChowNow, as well as individual restaurant chains like Papa John’s, Denny’s and Five Guys.
Source : http://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/facebook-launches-food-ordering-within-its-app
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