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Archive for May 19th, 2013

ChallengeHER: Creating Procurement Access and Opportunity for Women-Owned Small Businesses

May 19, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

by Marie Johns, SBA Deputy Administrator

Federal contracting with small businesses is a win-win. Every year, the U.S. government awards nearly $100 billion in federal contracts to small businesses, allowing these businesses to grow their revenues and create jobs right here at home. Meanwhile, the federal government gets the chance to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the United States.

During the first three years of the Obama Administration, the federal government awarded $286.3 billion in federal contract dollars to small businesses—a $32 billion increase over the three preceding years, even as contracting spending overall has declined across the federal government.

Across the board, the Obama Administration and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are committed to providing access and removing barriers for small, minority, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses by changing the process and the culture surrounding federal contracting.

We’re proud of our achievements so far in implementing the Woman Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program and we are making strides in bringing more women-owned firms into the federal government’s supply chain.

Today, I had the opportunity to announce our latest efforts to engage women-owned small businesses in the federal procurement process at the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Opportunity Forum Luncheon presented by SBA, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and American Express OPEN, here in Washington, D.C.

The ChallengeHER Campaign is an exciting new initiative that leverages the resources of SBA, WIPP, and American Express OPEN to promote the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program and bring more women-owned firms into the federal government’s supply chain.

In the coming months, we’ll be hosting ChallengeHER events across the country to help women business owners better understand the procurement opportunities available from the federal government, including events in:

•Phoenix, AZ;
•Seattle, WA;
•New Orleans, LA;
•Denver, CO;
•Atlanta, GA;
•San Francisco, CA; and,
•New York, NY.
At these events, we’ll also be playing “matchmaker”—connecting women-owned small businesses with the decision-makers and contract opportunities housed by our federal partners, both at the national level and in their local communities. And by increasing our family of women-owned small businesses, government contracting officers will have a broader base to consider when making their purchasing decisions.

We’ll also be training women-owned small businesses on how to register in our System for Award Management, which serves as our government contracting portal for all small business owners that want to do business with the federal government, and learn about eligibility requirements for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, which allows contract set asides for women-owned small businesses in certain industries.

A robust supply chain of innovative small businesses makes our country more globally competitive, encourages more corporations to bring production back to the U.S., and helps create jobs here at home. Our goal, and the goal of the ChallengeHER Campaign, is to ensure that women-owned small businesses across the country have the access and opportunity they need to succeed.

Stay tuned for further information on the ChallengeHER Campaign and events near you.

About the Author
Marie Johns is Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. She is responsible for management and oversight of the agency, and leads the agency’s efforts to reach underserved communities


May 19, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

By Patricia Thibault
Social Security Manager in Pittsburgh, PA

Every day of the year, Americans across the nation remember friends and family members who have served and sacrificed for their country.

Memorial Day is a day when we all come together to honor those who have given their lives in the defense of freedom and the principles we hold dear in this country.

May is also National Military Appreciation Month. As we observe Memorial Day and Military Appreciation Month, we would like to let members of our military know how much we value what they do for our nation. At Social Security, we offer a wide range of services for our service members.

Families of fallen military heroes may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. Learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/survivors.htm

For service members who return home with injuries, Social Security is here to help. Visit our Wounded Warriors website. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. We use an expedited process for military service members who become disabled while on active military service, regardless of where the disability occurs.
The Wounded Warriors website answers a number of commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of disability claims. It is important to note that benefits available through Social Security are different than those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.

Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they are unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay does not necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits from Social Security.

If you’ve served in the Armed Forces and you’re planning your retirement, you’ll want to read our publication, Military Service and Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.pdf

You also may want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm

At Social Security, we honor all those who served in the military and we remember those who died for their country.

Looking to Attract New Clients?

May 19, 2013 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

ByNancy J. Wintner, APR

Looking to attract new clients? Wondering how to be different so prospects buy from you rather than your competition?
Most businesses struggle daily with these questions. That’s why I’m going to reveal a simple, yet powerful secret to attracting new clients: give prospects the information they want.

You’re probably thinking, “I do this every day and have a list of satisfied clients to prove it.” Yet, despite a successful track record, you’re still not attracting many new clients. Could it be that your marketing addresses what you think is important rather than what prospects want?
Many companies focus on self-promotion stressing the features and methodologies of their offerings. As a busy decision maker, will this entice you to change the status quo? Or, is your bottom line, what’s in it for me?

Consider this. When a new client comes aboard, you put his/her interests first. You work hard to provide quality service and products to ensure customer satisfaction. Consequently, repeat business rolls in the door. Apply this client-centric philosophy to prospecting and you’ll stand out from the competition. Believe it or not, most businesses don’t put prospects’ interests first and wonder why their marketing fails.

Ready to attract more clients? Here are nine tips to growing a more profitable business in 2013:

1.Understand Your Target Market. Who is your ideal client? How do you find this individual? What motivates this person to buy? Correct and effective targeting is the most important element to attracting new clients.

2.Create a Compelling Message. In this age of information overload, you must immediately stop prospects in their tracks. Wow overburdened decision makers with a memorable message that speaks their language, targets their specific audience and addresses prospects’ needs.

3.Make Prospects #1 in All Marketing Endeavors. This includes ads, letters, websites, marketing materials, networking, conversations, even business cards. Demonstrate that you understand prospects’ challenges and unveil your solution(s) to their obstacles.

4.Demonstrate Value. Prospects won’t change unless they understand your value and how it’s significantly better than their status quo. Instead of self-promotion, show how you can improve customers’ lives and make a difference.

5.Educate Prospects, Don’t Sell. Prospects run when they sense a sales pitch is coming. An education-based approach builds trust, credibility and relationships. Helpful information, not hype, will attract new clients.

6.Give Prospects A Reason to Buy Today. Explain the consequences of waiting. Prospects don’t buy because they understand. They buy because they feel understood.

7.Showcase A Proven Track Record. Use testimonials and case studies to attract your ideal client. These are more credible than self-promotion and prove you grasp prospects’ issues.

8.Create and Initiate Referral Plans. Understand referrals from the clients’ point of view. Educate and motivate clients to become raving fans.

9.Create memorable experiences to exceed clients’ expectations.

Is Your Marketing Plan Working? If not, put prospects’ interests first and you’ll see results. A carefully calculated plan can boost sales and increase profits.
Ready to triumph over your competition? Put these tips into action, and prospects will reward you with their business.

Nancy J. Wintner, APR, Owner, GWN Consultants Marketing & Public Relations, specializes in helping companies attract new clients. Contact Nancy at 412-681-9314 or Nancy@gwnconsultants.com