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Contracting with Metro

 

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On October 1st 2015, I wrote an article about a friend of mine, who after three years of convincing, finally saw an opportunity to contract with Metro. To explain to you the diversity of contracts available with Metro, my friend is a videographer, and this particular contract was to be for a three year contracting opportunity to video and edit various Metro commercials. In the article, I explained how we were able to get my friend approved within a two week time frame. We did this by opting in to the expedited application process which Metro allows if there is a specific bid available which they need the certification for. During the waiting period for approval, we had to work diligently to prepare the Request For Proposal (RFP), so that once he was approved for Metros Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE), we can submit his bid on time.

 

We received the notification of his DBE approval just in time for us to be eligible for the bid. About a month later, my friend called me with great excitement notifying me of the contract he was awarded for three years at nearly $15,000 a video. For a Small Business, getting any type of customer is crucial, but receiving an award to work on projects for a Government entity opens up new doors which will not only bring legitimacy to his company but also open doors to work with other agencies due to the resume he has started to build with Metro.

 

Paul Mazbanian CEO Small Business Community Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com (818)551-9400
Paul Mazbanian
CEO
Small Business Community Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com
(818)551-9400

Be careful who you hire to assist with your Certifications

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I recently gave a presentation to an organization called, Women’s Presidents Organization. They are a nationwide group consisting of various chapter throughout each state. Each group consists of successful Women entrepreneurs who have monthly meeting and discuss various topics on how to grow their businesses.

A few days ago, I received a phone call from one of the members whom I had the pleasure of meeting during the presentation. She told me that she recently hired a company in Florida prior to her meeting me.  She decided to hire this company and as time went on, she began to notice charges unrelated to the agreement she had signed with them. This prompted her to do some research on the representative she hired.

Unfortunately for her, she was notified that this individual has a prior record of being a sex offender. This information was shocking to her. Had she known of his criminal background, she would have never hired them. It is unclear what she will do, due to the contractual obligation she now has with them.

The moral of this article is to be certain the people you hire, are honest and transparent, therefore resulting in a good business relationship with positive results.

 

Paul Mazbanian CEO Small Business Community Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com (818)551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
CEO
Small Business Community Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com
(818)551-9400

Metro’s DBE Certification

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As Business Owners, we always try to promote and brand ourselves to everyone we can. This includes but is not limited to, other business owners, family, friends etc. We get particularly excited when a close friend calls us for assistance. Three years ago, I met with a friend of mine who is a producer and video editor. I mentioned to him the advantages of becoming certified as a Minority Owned Business. I told him what I would tell any other business owner, regarding the benefits and advantages for Minority Owned Business and doing business with Federal, State and Local Agencies.

Although I frequently see this friend, he did not proceed with the certification immediately. Fast forward three years to 2015 and I receive a call from him letting me know of an opportunity coming up with Metro in September of this year. Of course I was excited for him and told him I would help. With 3 weeks from the due date of the proposal, I sincerely wanted to help my friend grow his business. I believe he already new the “I told you so” story, so I did not mention in it to him. My first advice to him was to focus on application and the gathering of the supporting documents so that we may submit the application as an expedited application to become approved as an SBE with Metro. Over the course of two weeks, we met multiple times to ensure the accuracy of the application. He still needed to complete the RFP and submit it by the due date, but since the RFP had a SBE Set aside, the application needed to get done first.

After submitting the completed Metro Application, my friend was approved within two weeks and the RFP was submitted on time. If he does indeed get this contract, it will significantly help his business grow over the next few years. In addition, it will give him notoriety working with Metro and also help him get future projects.

The reason I am writing this article is if my friend were to take my advice originally, he would not have to go through the stress of getting approved and complete the RFP within a two week time period. This put a significant strain on him because he needed the certification to bid on the project, we put in extra hours to get in submitted on time.

The typical time it takes Metro to approve a Business for DBE Certification or SBE Certification is roughly three months. However, Metro has an expedited application process, if the applicant needs to get certified for a specific bid coming up. This will significantly reduce the wait time for applicants, assuming all required documents are submitted in a timely manner, as was the case with my friend.

My recommendation to all businesses would be to identify your opportunities ahead of time and not be in a position of rushing. This is true for all certifications. Doing your research and forecasting which ones you will need will significantly help, once you come across a situation like the one above.

 

Paul Mazbanian CEO Small Business Community Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com

Paul Mazbanian
CEO
Small Business Community Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com

What is SAM and should you pay someone to register you?

 

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System For Award Management also referred to as SAM is a system the Federal Government uses to identify potential contractors. It is also the system which is required to register with do do any type of business with the Federal Government.

As usual, we get calls from clients hiring us for different certifications. Part of the process required for Federal Certifications as noted above, is to register the clients business in to SAM. Recently we received two distinct client calls.

The first client desires to become certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise or WBE. After explaining to her the requirements she told me that she paid a company $1,600 to register them in to SAM. Our services as a whole, including the WBE Certification which includes SAM does not cost $1,600. In addition, after a thorough review of their SAM profile, not only was their business being misrepresented, but their SBA profile was not created which pretty much makes them invisible to Government buyers. In short the $1,600 was put to waste.

The second example was from a call we received from a client hiring us for the WBE and WOSB Certifications. The client had once again paid this firm a ridiculous amount of money greater than what we were charging for both certifications combined which also included SAM. Once again, after a thorough review of their SAM profile, their profile was incorrectly being represented and their SBA profile was nonexistent. This client however, reached out to us just as her SAM profile was due for renewal, and she had been contacted by the same company to renew their profile for $599. I explained to the client that the SAM renewal will take no more than 10 minutes and that I will do it at no charge. The client was extremely happy that I had just saved her almost $600.

The reason I am writing this article today is to let you know that the SAM registration is FREE. The two clients mentioned above told us that the reason they paid those amounts was because they thought they were speaking to a Federal Agency, which leads me to believe that companies posing as a Federal Agency but not actually representing themselves as such on their website are taking advantage of Small Businesses and the limited resources they have. The money spent may have been put to good use if, 1. the SAM registration was done correctly and 2. their SBA profile was completed properly. Regardless, $1,600 and even $600 is too much to pay for registering with SAM.

Things to Consider:

1. When you are being solicited, remember that anything that ends in .GOV is legitimate and anything which ends in .com, .net, .org etc. are solicitors and are not part of the Government. We have NEVER charged separately for registering a client with SAM.

2. If you do hire someone, make certain your profile is correctly representing your business.

3. Make certain your SBA profile has been created successfully in order to have the greatest presence with Government agencies.

Please take a moment to visit our website and learn more about our services: www.sbclending.com

CEO Small Buisness Community Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com paul@sbclending.com

CEO
Small Business Community Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com
paul@sbclending.com

Waiver of the SBA 8(a) 2 year rule

 

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(818)551-9400

 

For those applying for the SBA 8(a) Business Development program, you have heard of the 2 year rule. In this article I will be discussing the 5 steps an individual needs to take to waive the 2 year rule.

Not all businesses need to be in business for 2 years to apply for the 8(a) program. Some individuals may feel the need to become a part of the program prior to 2 years. The SBA feels that 2 years is a good amount of time for a business to gain experience and have enough revenue to participate successfully in the 8(a) program. But what if you dont have 2 years under your belt? What do you do? Do you wait or do you apply?

The SBA has 5 requirements that they recommend a business possesses when applying under the 2 year rule.

They Are:

1.        The individual or individuals upon whom eligibility is based have substantial business management experience.

2.        The applicant has demonstrated technical experience to carry out its business plan with a substantial likelihood for success if                         admitted to the 8(a) BD program.

3.        The applicant has adequate capital to sustain its operations and carry out its business plan as a Participant.

4.        The applicant has a record of successful performance on contracts from governmental or nongovernmental sources in its                                 primary industry category; and

5.        The applicant has, or can demonstrate its ability to timely obtain, the personnel, facilities, equipment, and any other requirements               needed to perform contracts as a Participant.

Please visit our website at www.sbclending.com/ to learn more about our services.

 

Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com/ paul@sbclending.com/ 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com/
paul@sbclending.com/
818-551-9400

The 8(a) Social Disadvantage Eligibility Explained

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One important requirement  of the 8(a) Certification is that you meet not only the Economic definition of disadvantage but also the Social definition of disadvantage.

What does it mean to become Socially Disadvantaged?

For the purposes of the 8(a) program, the SBA deems certain minority sectors as Socially Disadvantaged. This is because, throughout the course of history, the SBA feels that certain groups have been discriminated against and therefore have not had the same opportunities as others. These presumed groups are:

  • Black Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Native Americans
  • Asian Pacific Americans
  • Subcontinent Asian American

If you do not find yourself in one of these groups, you may still apply for the 8(a) certification as long you prove to the SBA how you have been held back. “To do so, the business must prove to SBA that the individual(s) meeting SBA’s ownership and control requirements is socially disadvantaged. This process includes showing personal experiences where applicable in education, employment, and business history.”

There is no getting around this easily, so making up stories will not work. The SBA is very strict when they say proof must be given through a preponderance of evidence. To prove social disadvantage, the individual owners must ultimately show that such personal experiences had a negative impact on entry into or advancement in the business world.

Evidence Requested by the SBA for those not included in any of the above presumed groups:

  • At least one objective distinguishing feature such as race, ethnic origin, gender, physical handicap, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society, or other similar causes not common to individuals who are not socially disadvantaged.
  • Personal experiences of substantial and chronic social disadvantage in American society, not in other countries.
  • Negative impact on the individual’s entrance into the business world or advancement in the business world because of the stated disadvantage(s).
Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com/ paul@sbclending.com/ 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com/
paul@sbclending.com/
818-551-9400

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Computing Personal Net Worth for the 8a Certification.

The 8a Certifications, like all other Certifications have guidelines and rules. The 8a Certification is by far the most difficult of Certifications to get and thus the most strict when it comes to Personal Net Worth. The SBA states that an applicants, personal Net Worth May not exceed $250,000, excluding their home, retirements accounts such as 401k or IRA’s and their equity in their primary business. However, there are other factors that applicants must consider. Remember that it excludes the equity in the primary business. But what happens if you own multiple businesses, but are only applying under one business? The rule of thumb is that the equity you possess in the other businesses MUST be included in your Personal Financial Statement and will be added to your assets.

How do you know what to add? The line items to look for are Retained Earnings and Capital Stock.

The Retained Earnings are the earnings the owner forgoes to take as a distribution and lets the company retain them. Hence the term retained earnings. Retained earnings is a balance sheet item.

Capital Stock represents the size of the equity position of a firm and can be found on the balance sheet as well.

Reasoning Behind This:

This is a conservative way of determining the value of the business to be included on the personal financial statement.  It could significantly undervalue or overvalue the company by using this method.  If it severely undervalues the business (in other words, if the owner could sell the business for substantially more than the total of the retained earnings and capital stock investment), then you’ll want to support the “real” value of the business with an appraisal value submitted by a qualified/licensed business appraiser.

A lot of people applying on their own tend to forget to add Retained Earnings and Capital Stock for their additional business to the computation of personal net worth. This is a HUGE mistake and after spending hours and hours of work getting the 8a application complete, this minor overlook can be a waste of time.

**Take a look at our latest Video Testimonial HERE.

Paul Mazbanian SBC Consultants, Inc. www.sbclending.com/ 818-551-9400

Paul Mazbanian
SBC Consultants, Inc.
www.sbclending.com/
818-551-9400

The SBA Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Contracting Program.

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Last year, I wrote about the basics of contracting and the 2 main Federal Certifications available to Small Businesses, the 8a Federal Contracting Program and the WOSB Program. In this article, I will be writing specifically about the Women Owned Small Business Contracting Program or the WOSB for short.

It is important to first understand that the Federal Government authorizes contracting officers to specifically limiting, or setting aside, certain requirements for competition solely between Women Owned Businesses. The Federal government MUST award 5% of its prime and subcontract dollars to women-owned small businesses.

What does this mean?

A whole lot of money. Since 5% of all funds must be awarded to Women Owned Businesses, only those who are recognized by the SBA as a Women Owned Small Business will be allowed to bid on these contracts. Hence, resulting in much less competition with a greater chance of winning the job. In addition, each Federal agency negotiates annual small business goals with the Small Business Administration (SBA) that presents, for that agency, the maximum practicable opportunity for small businesses.

The top 2 reasons Women Owned Businesses should become WOSB Certified:

1. If you are a women and own a business who may contract with the Government, this is a great way to increase your customer base and revenues. Think of it as a sorority you will belong to that only a hand full of businesses are a part of.

2. Whether you will be contracting with the Government or not, it is a great way to market your firm to potential customers as a Federally Certified Women Owned Small Business. Who wouldn’t want to do business with a Federally Certified Agency?

How SBC Consultants Helps you:

We have been trained by the SBA, which means that we have taken everything they do and applied it to our own clients. We know the ins and outs of the program and guarantee our clients CERTIFICATION. Visit our website today to see how we can help you become certified. http://www.sbclending.com//services-wosb-certifications.php

Paul Mazbanian

CEO

SBC Consultants Inc.

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