Small Businesses Won a Record $96.8 billion in federal contracts in FY 2009

WASHINGTON – Small businesses won a record $96.8 billion in federal prime contracts in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 (Oct. 1, 2008-Sept. 30, 2009), an increase of more than $3 billion from FY 2008, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s fourth annual small business procurement scorecard released today.  This dollar amount represents 21.89 percent of all federal spending – an improvement over FY2008.  Additionally, performance in each of the government’s socioeconomic subcategories increased for FY2009.

Small businesses received a record $96.8 billion in federal contracts in 2009.

There was an increase in both dollars and contracting share for every small business category.  This represents real progress, but not enough, we must reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that the 23 percent goal is met and exceeded,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “Federal contracts awarded to small businesses are a ‘win-win’ – providing small businesses with the opportunity to grow and create jobs, and offering innovative services and essential goods to the government at great value to the taxpayers.”

Small Business Goaling Summary Report 

Small Businesses

  • 2009 Goal      23%
  • 2009 Percentage     21.89%
  • 2009 Contract Dollars     $96.8 billion
  • 2008 Percentage     21.5%
  • 2008 Contract Dollars     $93.2 billion

Women Owned Small Business

  • 2009 Goal      5%
  • 2009 Percentage     3.68%
  • 2009 Contract Dollars     $16.3 billion
  • 2008 Percentage     3.40%
  • 2008 Contract Dollars     $14.7 billion

Small Disadvantaged Businesses

  • 2009 Goal      5%
  • 2009 Percentage     7.57%
  • 2009 Contract Dollars     $33.5 billion
  • 2008 Percentage     6.76%
  • 2008 Contract Dollars     $29.3 billion

Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business  

  • 2009 Goal      3%
  • 2009 Percentage     1.98%
  • 2009 Contract Dollars     $8.8 billion
  • 2008 Percentage     1.49%
  • 2008 Contract Dollars     $6.4 billion

HUBZone

  • 2009 Goal      3%
  • 2009 Percentage     2.81%
  • 2009 Contract Dollars     $12.4 billion
  • 2008 Percentage     2.34%
  • 2008 Contract Dollars     $10.1 billion

SBA is required to report to the President and Congress on achievements by federal agencies and departments against their annual goal to ensure greater accountability.  The small business Procurement Scorecard fulfills that requirement by providing an assessment of federal achievement in prime contracting and subcontracting to small businesses by the 24 Chief Financial Officers Act agencies. It also measures progress that departments are making to ensure small business opportunities remain an integral part of their acquisition of goods and services to meet mission objectives.

The fourth annual Scorecard is an assessment tool (1) to measure how well federal agencies reach their small business and socio-economic prime contracting and subcontracting goals, (2) provide accurate and transparent contracting data and (3) report agency-specific progress.  The prime and subcontracting component goals include goals for small businesses, small businesses owned by women, small disadvantaged businesses, service-disabled veteran owned small businesses, and small businesses in located in HUBZones.

As it does every year, the SBA has closely examined federal procurement reporting and data to ensure the greatest level of transparency possible. 

After identifying anomalies in initial reports, the SBA has worked collaboratively – and will continue to work – with agencies across the government to correct as many data issues as possible, and improve the integrity of all small business federal contracting reporting moving forward.

The Recovery Act and small business contracting

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided additional resources to federal agencies in fiscal year 2009, providing additional opportunities for small businesses to win federal contracts.  Through early August, small businesses have secured over 30 percent of Recovery Act Contracts.  This preliminary data underscores the priority the Administration and the SBA have placed on increasing small businesses access to federal contracts so that they can grow and create jobs.

About the Scorecard

SBA graded 24 agencies on each of the individual prime contracting goals established by Congress and used a new A+ through F letter grade system rather than the previous red, yellow, and green ratings.  The new scorecard format was implemented this year to provide greater clarity and transparency on how well each agency is doing in meeting its individual small business prime contracting goals.

Each federal agency has a different small business contracting goal, determined annually in consultation with SBA.  SBA ensures that the sum total of all of the goals meets the 23 percent target established by law.  

Each agency’s overall grade will show an A+ for agencies that meet or exceed 120 percent of their goals, an A for those between 100 percent and 119 percent, a B for 90 to 99 percent, a C for 80 to 89 percent, a D for 70 to 79 percent and an F for less than 70 percent. An agency’s overall grade was comprised of three quantitative measures: prime contracts (80 percent), subcontracts (10 percent) and its progress plan for meeting goals (10 percent).

The scorecards released today by SBA, as well as a detailed explanation of the new scorecard methodology, is available online:

http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/goals/index.html.

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase access to contracting opportunities for small businesses, the SBA is continuing to work with federal agency procurement staff to strengthen the integrity of contracting data, including providing tools to facilitate public review of data, improvements to systems and training to improve accuracy.

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Smartphones look to replace plastic as payment

What follows is an excerpt from one of RetailWire’s recent online discussions featuring commentary from its “BrainTrust” panel of retail industry experts.

Okay, so the gas-powered car killed the horse and buggy as a mode of transportation (excluding the Amish). Video apparently killed the radio star. So what’s next to go? According to a Bloomberg report, plastic credit and debit cards may be doomed by smartphones.

As it turns out, a number of wireless carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, along with Discover Financial Services and Barclays, have formed a partnership and are testing a system in four U.S. cities that allows consumers to pay for purchases with a wave of their smartphones.

The service being tested is said to be similar to those already in place in Europe and Asia. Discover would process payments and Barclays would help with the management of accounts.

If successful, the test could be the beginning of real competition for MasterCard and Visa.

“What is a cell phone, except a mechanism for consumers to address their lives in whatever way they choose,” Gary Townsend, CEO of the Hill-Townsend Capital hedge fund, told Bloomberg. “There’s certainly no reason if an AT&T account can effectively be carried on a phone that a JPMorgan or a Wells Fargo card can’t be there, too. In fact, the antitrust issues would demand that that be allowed.”

Retailers, many of which have been engaged in a rancorous dispute with the major credit card companies over interchange fees, are generally supportive of any alternatives that make the payment market more competitive.

“The emergence of a secure and reliable competing network that serves the demand from consumers for mobility payment options and reduces retailers’ costs would be welcomed news,” Brian Dodge, a spokesperson for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, told Bloomberg.

RetailWire BrainTrust comments:

We are more than 50 percent of the way there, in my opinion. PayPal mobile can be accepted in some locations. I’ve paid for coffee using a mobile Starbucks card. While credit card companies and phone companies duke it out over who’s going to try to take the biggest slice of the transaction, merchant service providers and retailers are moving on, using prepaid cards and gift cards as a way to break the logjam.

And new mobile payment providers seem to pop up every day. I’m not sure that any of them will last once the big guys finally work it out and jump in, but right now it’s the wild, wild west out there — and that’s definitely good for the industry. – Nikki Baird, Managing Partner, Retail Systems Research

Mobile apps may supplement (and provide competition for) the credit card industry in the short term, but there are several roadblocks preventing “plastic” from becoming obsolete anytime soon. First, users of smartphones need to ensure the security of the devices; second, the costs of the phones (and data plans) are a big handicap to many potential users. The whole idea of “sponsored” smartphones (where you subscribe to particular apps such as credit card companies in exchange for subsidized data plans) needs further development. – Richard Seesel, Principal, Retailing In Focus LLC

The idea is completely logical and the driver here — more competition for the card companies — makes alternative payment methods in the interest of retailers. It will also put carriers right in the middle of the monetization of mobile. However, the consumer value proposition appears rather weak — as opposed to paying with a credit card, I can pay with my phone. That alone I think is insufficient; there needs to be some kind of rewards, loyalty, or marketing integration with the system that provides incentives for customers to use mobile devices rather than cards. The credit card companies are master marketers with lots of consumer data, so don’t count them out of this equation quite yet. – Gib Bassett, Director of Sales and Marketing, Interactive Mediums

So the advantage of using the cell phone becomes merely a convenience issue for the consumer. Is it easier to carry around all your ID information in your cell phone and get rid of your wallet altogether? We already carry pictures and music in our phones. If we could add all our ID cards and use them for payment, I can envision the day when the wallet becomes completely obsolete. Combine this with an unlock feature for automobiles, door locks, etc. and the cell phone can also eliminate keys. Finally, you need a tethering feature so that if you walk out of range from your phone it will begin ringing and shutdown before someone else can use it. – Bill Bittner, President, BWH Consulting

Something’s got to give here. The current state feels like a classic situation in which an emerging technology crashes into a marketplace inefficacy — and guess who usually wins? (Raise your hand if you are still paying big bucks to a land line phone or cable company!). This feels more like a “when” than a “whether.”

The smartest retailers will consider this transformation holistically. The fact that the device that will soon be at the center of the payment step of the transaction is also a potential pipeline for almost unlimited real time communication with a valued shopper will not be lost on them. What other shopper marketing, messaging, offers, information, etc, can be put into that pipeline? What shopper insights can be gained? How can phones (with GPS) enable higher order category management? At the end of the day, the simple act of paying might be one of the more mundane aspects of this brave new world. – Alison Chaltas, Principal, Interscope

The Social Media Mistake Most Small Business Owners Make

One of the comments I frequently hear from small business owners who have begun to use social media is, “Okay, I’ve got accounts on all these social media platforms you told me to use, but I don’t see any increase in my business!”  Every time I hear it I think of the adage from an old Kevin Costner movie that says “build it and they will come” because people are apparently assuming that once they build a profile on social media, business will just magically come their way!

When I hear it, I always find it fascinating that intelligent business owners and marketers who obviously understand the need to work hard to build a business, don’t seem to grasp the concept that even though social media is free to use, it isn’t FREE.  It is still marketing, and as I have frequently stated in blog articles, webinars and presentations, marketing is going to cost you – either in money invested or time invested.   The more of one you invest, the less of the other you have to invest.  Therefore, if you are going to use a free medium such as social media to market your business, you need to invest your time (or your employee’s time) to make it work for you and your company.

Social media is a tool that can be EXTREMELY productive in marketing your firm – IF YOU ARE USING IT EFFECTIVELY – and using it effectively takes a lot more than building a profile on your selected social media platforms and hoping people will find you and send you business as a result.  Remember – its called “social” media – that means it is dependent upon people being social and interacting with each other – and that doesn’t mean just putting out a request for business as the only thing you post.  However, just because I say it takes “a lot more than building a profile”, doesn’t mean that it has to be an over-whelming, time-intensive task; there are many tools and resources that can insure it can be done efficiently as well.

Just like in-person networking, social media is dependent on a valuable exchange.  You provide benefit / value to someone by the information and resources you provide, and they’ll do the same for you – with referrals, information, resources, etc. that come back to you.  If you’re expecting business from social media, ask yourself this question, Have you given any business via social media?.  Have you offered your connections an opportunity to bid on a project for your company?  Have you asked for referrals to a certain type of vendor you need?  Have you suggested a social media contact work with you on going after a piece of new business so you will both have an opportunity to benefit?  If you haven’t offered opportunities, why would you be expecting any?

I was reminded that it was probably time to address this issue again with our readers when I read the article below, which was written by Victoria Ipri, CEO of Modello Media, Inc., and has been re-printed with her authorization.  I think you will find it of value.

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No Business from LinkedIn? Here’s What May Be Wrong

So you’ve been on LinkedIN for months and you haven’t gotten one shred of business…except maybe a few inquiries here and there that didn’t pan out; a couple nibbles from companies that were wrong for you; and those endless MLM offers you won’t even consider.

That leaves you wondering what all the fuss is about. Who are all these people who claim they have gotten new, profitable business on LinkedIn?

Bad news: It’s not LinkedIn. It’s you.

To drive business on LinkedIn, you need an action plan and a system, just like any other business strategy. You’re only going to get back what you put in. Without a plan, you’ll waste a lot of time being sociable, with no real business to show for it.

This is the biggest complaint I hear about social media marketing…it takes a lot of time and results never seem to materialize.

I agree, it is time-consuming. But when done correctly (which means planning SMM into your day, maximizing that time, and maintaining a narrow focus), the results can be astounding.

It’s kind of like cleaning your house. You start out enthusiastically enough. Two hours later, though, you haven’t moved from the bedroom. You end up sidetracked, going through closets and drawers and…“ooohhh! What’s this? My high school love letters!”

Before you know it, you’ve walked so far down Memory Lane you’ll need to catch the bus back to the corner of Main & Reality.

8 Steps to Optimizing Your LinkedIN Connections:

  1. See the future: How much new business can you comfortably handle? Be realistic. One new client a month is 12 for the year. Not bad.
  2. Choose a target market and do not stray from this focus
  3. Join groups for those markets and actively participate in a meaningful way
  4. Educate yourself on effective LI search…there are ways to search and find specific information about specific people
  5. Stand out: Be active! Be pro-active! Be visible! Get out there and get involved. Create a highly compelling profile; not a resume rehash.
  6. Answer questions to highlight your subject expertise
  7. Accept connections and request connections. People want to connect with you!
  8. Talk to people. I mean, really talk. Show an interest, look for ways to help each other…seeking connections isn’t only about having lots of connections!

Remember…this is social media marketing. You wouldn’t walk into your neighbor’s BBQ, announce your arrival, then sit in your neighbor’s favorite chair and start dominating the conversation, would you? The beauty of social media marketing is the opportunity to use natural, social strategies of communicating, connecting and collaborating to build your online visibility and attract the attention of companies you really want to work with.

Victoria Ipri is CEO of Modello Media, Inc., an e-marketing strategy firm based in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in LinkedIn success strategies.
Download her latest ebook,
Social Media for the Clueless , or connect with Victoria at www.LinkedIn.com/in/VictoriaIpri. You can visit her blog at The Confident Copywriter, and learn more about Victoria’s business philosophy at Celebrity Dialogue.   Follow this link to learn more about Victoria’s LinkedIN tips and tricks.

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If your firm is interested in making sense of social media and making it more productive as a marketing tool, Strategic Growth Concepts would be happy to help.  You can start with our Social Media Audit that will serve as an excellent guage of how effectively your firm is utilizing social media in its marketing efforts and helps to define the steps you need to take to make social media more productive for your firm.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant of Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Areas of specialization include:  Mobile Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Virtual Events production.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert, and award-winning blogger, with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. 

Linda is available for consultation on Social Media Marketing and other topics, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .

80% of Businesses Embracing Mobile Strategies

Survey Indicates Businesses Prefer to Use Mobile Websites Over Downloadable Apps

A recent mobile commerce survey by Adobe Systems indicates that 80% of businesses across a wide range of verticals are planning to, or already have, integrated Mobile Marketing into their existing marketing strategy.  Approximately 75% of the respondents were U.S. based businesses.

According to Sheila Dahlgren, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Adobe, “Multi-channel shoppers tend to purchase more; therefore, companies must effectively engage customers by delivering consistent, rich experiences across all channels — including mobile — to maintain and fuel current double-digit e-commerce industry growth rates.  The survey results demonstrate the opportunities that exist for companies to fully leverage rich visualization features to improve their emerging mobile presences and drive cross-channel sales.”

The survey indicates that only 8% of respondents preferred the use of a downloadable, application-only mobile commerce strategy, the rest appeared to embrace the use of mobile websites and other mobile strategies.  Respondents indicated that if marketing resources were constrained and companies could choose only one vehicle to drive mobile commerce, the majority would opt to deploy mobile websites.

The businesses further indicated four areas were the main focus of their mobile strategies:  Promotions, commerce, product information, and branding.  A full 75% of respondents deemed branding as the main focus of their mobile strategy.  “Indispensable viewing features” such as full-screen image zoom and videos were cited by 55% as the most effective way for mobile users to browse or display products on their devices; and 96% indicated that the most effective mobile visual merchandising features for promoting products were catalogs and brochures, alternative images, and zoom and pan.

If your firm is interested in exploring Mobile strategies to promote your products or services, Strategic Growth Concepts can help. Review our website or our Marketing Blog for a wide variety of Mobile information, or contact us at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule an appointment to discuss the ways Mobile can help increase revenue for your specific business.

SSBI Announces FREE Mobile Marketing Seminar for Kalamazoo Area Business Owners and Marketers

Southwest Michigan’s ‘Strategic Small Business Initiative’ is Sponsoring a FREE Seminar for Kalamazoo Area Small Businesses Interested in Exploring the Use of Mobile Marketing Services to Promote Their Firms
 

RICHLAND, MI – Richland’s Strategic Small Business Initiative today announced its upcoming FREE seminar for Southwest Michigan area businesses interested in learning about Mobile Advertising, and the many ways it can aid them in promoting their businesses and increasing revenue.  This event will be held on Wednesday, August 18th from 6 – 8 p.m. at Comensoli’s Pasta Pasta located at 762 W. Main Street in Downtown Kalamazoo.  Space is limited so reserve your spot now by registering on our Facebook Fan Page at http://www.companies.to/TheSSBI; click on the “Events” tab, or contacting us directly by email at Nancy@TheSSBI.com.

SSBI’s Executive Director, Nancy Sherman, explains the reason for SSBI’s sponsorship of this event, “Our organization focuses on providing resources to our small business members; resources that can help them run and grow their businesses.  Recently I found out about the mobile services provided by Strategic Growth Concepts and met with the firm’s CEO, Linda Daichendt, to learn more.  I was blown away!  I knew right then that we had to take advantage of this technology and make it available to our members as soon as possible.  Mobile advertising provides them an opportunity to take their businesses to the next level with an easy-to-use, high-response, low-cost technology; it’s a tool all small businesses should be looking at!”

According to the Mobile Marketing Association, “Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.”  In today’s marketplace, that communication and engagement is being implemented by marketers from the smallest ‘mom & pop shop’ to the largest multi-national corporations.  As the traditional marketing channels suffer various levels of decline, mobile marketing is experiencing triple-digit growth annually.  Statistics from recent studies provide insight:

  • 97% of SMS (text) messages are read within 15 minutes of receipt, and acted upon within 1 hour.  Nielsen Mobile
  • There are 285.6 million mobile subscribers in the United States, stated another way, that’s 91% of the population! CTIA
  • Mobile devices will pass PCs as the Internet access device of choice by 2013. Gartner
  • $2.2 billion of physical goods will be purchased via mobile device in 2010. ABI Research
  • Mobile retail to reach $12 billion by 2014. Juniper Research
  • 27% of U.S. mobile web users have clicked on a mobile ad. ABI Research
  • 53% of mobile users would share their location to receive more relevant ads. Mashable
  • Mobile coupon redemption is 10x that of traditional coupons. Borrell Associates
  • B2B mobile marketing to grow from $26 million in 2009 to $106 million in 2014. Forrester
  • By 2015, more than 50% of mobile users will participate in mobile banking. eMarketer
  • Mobile users watch 3 hours and 37 minutes of video on their phones per month. Nielsen
  • Hilton Hotels reports “seven digits a month” in mobile revenue. USA Today
  • 36% of people are interested in receiving grocery coupons on their mobile phone. Compete

The seminar’s speaker, Linda Daichendt, is CEO of Strategic Growth Concepts, a Detroit-area based new media marketing firm that specializes in mobile marketing, social media marketing and virtual events production.  Daichendt is an award-winning blogger on the use of new media in growing a business, and a recognized business expert with 20+ years of corporate, small business and franchising experience.  She can be reached at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com, and the Strategic Growth Concepts website can be viewed at http://www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

For additional information about this event, contact SSBI Executive Director, Nancy Sherman, at Nancy@TheSSBI.com or via the company’s website at http://www.TheSSBI.com.

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Strategic Small Business Initiative (The SSBI) is the latest incarnation of a small business support and networking organization that was founded more than 20 years ago in Washington, D.C. to enable small business growth thru educational events, marketing opportunities, support programs, and relationship building. Now based in Southwest Michigan, the firm provides weekly and monthly support programs for small business owners, an annual conference with well-recognized presenters, and a wide variety of additional services and support programs designed to help small business owners achieve success. The firm’s Executive Director, Nancy Sherman, PhD, is a life-long entrepreneur with an innate understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset, and the ability to lead small business owners to resources that will enable them to overcome any challenges they may be facing. Nancy can be contacted at Nancy@TheSSBI.com, and the company website can be viewed at http://www.TheSSBI.com .

Strategic Growth Concepts Announces ‘Increase Your Revenue with Mobile Marketing for Small Business’ FREE Webinar for Small Business Owners

Webinar to Provide Information About the Low-cost, High-return Marketing Medium and How Small Business Owners Can Take Advantage of This Emerging Technology to Promote Their Business and Increase Revenue

DETROIT, MI – Small business owners have the opportunity to learn the many benefits of using Mobile Technology to promote their business by attending a FREE webinar presented by Strategic Growth Concepts on Tuesday, August 10th at 2:00 p.m. EDT.  Those interested in learning more about this low-cost, high-return technology, and how they can use it to promote their companies, can follow this link to register for the webinar at the following link.

Read the complete News Release HERE.

Strategic Growth Concepts Signs Author, Tony Rassini, and His Firm, ‘4 Family and Child’ as New Client

Strategic Growth Concepts to Provide Marketing/PR Consulting and Social Media Strategic Planning and Implementation Services for Rassini’s Book, “Dad, it’s time to tell the truth!” and Family Training Firm, ‘4 Family and Child’

4 Family and Child CEO, Tony Rassini, is 53-year-old ,three-times married father of four, grandfather of two who went from owning a multi-million dollar corporation in the Detroit, Michigan area to totally broke. He has spent the last seven years of his life living in other peoples’ basements and extra bedrooms, and has relocated across the country five times in an attempt to beat his personal demons and find a career thru which he could support himself and two of his four children who are still minors. His personal journey has resulted in the publication of the author’s first book, “Dad, It’s Time to Tell the Truth” which serves as the inspiration for the family-oriented training program, “Our Family Plan” offered by Rossini’s firm, 4 Family and Child. Rassini can be contacted at Tony@4FamilyandChild.com, and the company’s website can be viewed at www.4FamilyandChild.com .

Strategic Growth Concepts CEO, Linda Daichendt, states “We’re very excited to be able to be able to assist Mr. Rassini and his company.  When we learned about his book and his personal journey in writing it, we immediately felt it was a story that needed to be shared.  We believe many families can benefit from his experience, and we’re honored to be selected to share his message.”

Learn more about this client by reading the complete News Release.