On Thursday, December 12, MCCC’s Small Business Committee – headed by Vice-Chair Erin Allen (CONTEMPORARIES, Inc.) and Co-Chair Kal Attia (CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield) hosted the final Business EXCELerator of the year. The topic was “Meet the Award Winners and Learn From the Best!” and featured the following guest speakers who were recently recognized at MCCC’s 2019 Business Awards Dinner:
On November 6, MCCC's Infrastructure & Land Use and Economic Development Committees hosted a joint meeting featuring a special presentation by Catherine Buell and Stephen Harrington from the Greater Washington Partnership (GWP). The focus of the presentation was housing in the Washington Metropolitan Region. In September 2019, GWP along with the Urban Institute and JP Morgan Chase, released a research report about the Washington Region facing serious housing challenges that undermine residents well-being.
GWP presented an overview of their study and a discussion and Q&A followed. Interesting insights included the need for housing at all levels, the need for different kinds of housing, and how accessible/affordable housing relates directly to employee attraction/retention.
View their PowerPoint presentation here.
Our October Business EXCELerator featured Montgomery County Office of Procurement Director Ash Shetty and Division Chief Grace Denno. While Director Shetty and Division Chief Denno provided attendees with information about new and updated processes within Montgomery County Procurement, they dedicated much of the time to fielding questions from attendees.
Some of the key takeaways:
The MCCC Business EXCELerator meeting on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 focused on "Proposal Writing - Strategies on How to Respond to Opportunities." The presentation was made by Tina Patterson, Principal, Jade Solutions.
Following an introduction by MCCC Small Business Vice-Chair Erin Allen (CONTEMPORARIES, Inc.) and Co-Chair Kal Attia (CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield), Tina shared first-hand experience and highlighted the best practices to win contracts.
Some of the key takeaways from the presentation were:
The MCCC Business EXCELerator meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 focused on "Conference Preparedness – How to Give it Your Best Shot." The speaker was Ira Koretsky, CEO, The Chief Storyteller.
Following an introduction by MCCC Small Business Vice-Chair Erin Allen, CONTEMPORIES, Inc. Ira orchestrated several one-on-one sessions between participants to sharpen their messaging. The central question to answer is “What Do You Do?” To formulate a reply, devise a Better Tomorrow Message™ that is memorable, impactful, and inspiring. A “system of credibility” should be present in person and online. Make sure your LinkedIn profile tells your personal and organization brand story with a clear message. Activate the Readability tools in Word to see how you can reduce the complexity of your words. It is very important to sharpen listening skills. Be an active, engaged and interested participant in conversations.
The topic of the March 22, 2019 MCCC Business EXCELerator was "Business Development Strategies: The Path to The Cash." The meeting was moderated by Erin Allen, President, CONTEMPORARIES, Inc., who is the Vice-Chair of the MCCC Small Business Committee. The presentation was made by Caryn Kopp, Chief Door Opener, Kopp Consulting.
Ms. Kopp distinguished that the purpose of marketing is to achieve awareness; the purpose of business development is to achieve sales. To achieve sales, it is recommended to follow this chronology:
This step-by-step strategy is proven to create Caryn Kopp’s The Path To The Cash®!
The topic of the February 6, 2019 MCCC Business EXCELerator was “Follow the Money – Get the Win.” The meeting was moderated by Erin Allen, President, CONTEMPORARIES, Inc. and Vice Chair of the MCCC Small Business Committee.
The first presentation was made by Yvette Williams, Business Diversity Coordinator, Office of Procurement & Strategic Sourcing, University of Maryland (UMD) College Park. Ms. Williams encouraged small businesses to participate in UMD procurements and to actively pursue interests. It is important to register in the e-Maryland marketplace and participate in Maryland’s Small Business Reserve Program. Procurements at College Park provide opportunities in many business sectors, sometimes for multiple campuses. Small businesses are advised to work directly with the program officers or the awarded prime contractors.
The second presentation was made by Dan Snyder, Deputy Director of Government Contracts Research, Bloomberg Government followed by Ann Sullivan, President & Founder and Elizabeth Sullivan, Director of Government Relations, Madison Services Group, Inc.
Mr. Snyder presented data and trends of current Federal Government spending. 75% of the government is funded until September 30, 2019. Contractors should be mindful of the funded agencies (e.g. the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs) and pursue those opportunities. He reported that the percentage of awards going to small business is relatively flat at 35% of the total spend. Simplified acquisition procedures have increased which helps businesses compete more easily on procurements. He presented ten markets to watch and noted that many of those markets may be offered as bundled opportunities. It is imported to understand this data to develop strategic goals.
Ann and Elizabeth Sullivan explained the detailed steps needed to follow the budget and, most importantly, appropriations. They offered guidance on how the budget process is supposed to work, how it is working in FY19, components of the budget, and how to find programs in appropriations. Important sites to know are https://appropriations.house.gov/ which tracks the procurement process through the legislation and https://rules.house.gov/ which has great power in deciding appropriations. They identified points of influence throughout the budget process that shape procurements. While all of this information is available to the public, it is a time-consuming and complex process. It is advised to have assistance in following the process.
The topic of the January 9, 2019 MCCC Business EXCELerator was “Marketing Strategies: Leveraging Social Media.” The meeting was moderated by Suzanne Rotbert, Principal, Miles & Stockbridge, P.C. and Vice Chair of the MCCC Small Business Committee. The presentation was made by Nancie McDonnell Ruder, Founding Partner of Noetic Consultants.
The presentation focused on the “art and science” of social media marketing. There are two types of social media: organic and paid. Organic does not mean free; there is a cost to create and manage the channels as well as the time associated efforts.
For strategic planning, it is recommended to follow these steps:
Social media marketing is dynamic medium and the plan you develop should be dynamic as well. Brainstorm ideas and test the market to see what works best.
The topic of the December 13, 2018 MCCC Business EXCELerator was "Meet the Award Winners and Learn from the BEST." The meeting was moderated by Erin Allen, President, CONTEMPORARIES, and Co-Chair of the MCCC Small Business Committee. Featured panelists were:
How to Effectively Communicate Your Capabilities to Existing and Prospective Clients in the Commercial and Federal Marketplaces
The topic of the October 19, 2018 MCCC Business EXCELerator was Find Your Voice – How to Effectively Communicate Your Capabilities to Existing and Prospective Clients in the Commercial and Federal Marketplaces.
The two guest speakers were Wesley Stith, Vice President of Purchasing and Small Business Development at Clark Construction Group, LLC, and Dr. Michelle Street, Deputy Director for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSBDU). The speakers provided Chamber members and invited guests with their perspectives on government contracting, creating opportunities for your small business, and the importance of relationship building. Each speaker brought their unique perspective to the conversation, as professionals in the private sector and within the Federal government structure.
Mr. Stith kicked off the morning’s conversation by asking attendees, “are you ready?” He spoke to the importance of being prepared, shared his Five Key Components of a Tiered Agreement, and described the features Clark looks for in small businesses that would like to partner with Clark as subcontractors. Additionally, he took some excellent questions from attendees and made himself available to attendees following his presentation.
Dr. Street provided the EXCELerator attendees with the tools they need to find their voice and create opportunities to work with HHS. As she shared during her presentation, “if you don’t know where to begin with trying to work with HHS, they don’t know where to begin to try to help you.” She presented some organizational information to help attendees understand the magnitude of HHS, as well as some helpful charts about the missions of different agencies within HHS and how they work with small businesses.
Suzanne L. Rotbert, MCCC Vice-Chair of Small Business, helped moderate the conversation and provided some insightful commentary.