Over the last year, you may have felt like there was a lack of opportunities available to everyone, but especially for small businesses.
And that’s understandable because IT’S TRUE! 2020 was a wasteland of a year in many ways, but we cannot overstate the damage it inflicted on small businesses (especially MWBEs). It wasn’t just the pandemic, the heightened levels of anxiety, and the shutdown. It was everything hanging over our heads all the time. For minority and women small business owners, the constant stress about if their business could survive took a massive toll.
However, there are still opportunities, especially in the City of New York. You only need to know where to look for them. Government agencies (both state and municipal) are injecting money into the economy, and they have earmarked much of that for certified minority and women owned businesses. To take advantage of these opportunities, you just need to know how to target them.
Understanding the Landscape
Finding opportunities for MWBEs all comes down to market research.
You need to know what’s going on in NYC if you’re going to start landing government contracts of all sizes. Without knowing the types of goods and services that the City of New York purchases, you aren’t going to be able to target them.
To succeed, you need to know what the city buys, along with how and why they buy it. Without this information, you’re just another MWBE trying to get by. But when you know what these organizations are looking for, you can start learning how to grow your business through government contracts.
Contracts and Subcontracts
When you first start out trying to land government contracts, it’s easy to be discouraged. The competition is fierce, and it can seem like there is a high bar to entry. Without the knowledge and experience of more established MWBEs, landing a government contract can seem impossible.
But there are other ways how you can break into the market. While bidding for government contracts can be complicated (to say nothing about the difficulty of responding to an RFP), other opportunities don’t require such specialized knowledge.
For example, not every government contract has a complicated bidding process. Through discretionary spending, government agencies can purchase goods and services up to $500,000 from MWBEs across the state without going through a competitive bidding process (we have another online workshop that focuses on this topic coming up on January 20th). If you have the capacity, there is no reason why you can’t land one of these contracts.
You can also build up your resume and prepare yourself to land more complex projects by looking for subcontracting opportunities. By identifying and working with Prime Contractors, you can not only build your business but also raise your profile. Your subcontracting experiences can prepare you for bidding and landing a massive government contract in the future, so they are an opportunity you should not ignore!
Communication is Key
It doesn’t matter what kind of opportunities you are looking for if you aren’t practicing effective communication strategies.
You need to learn how to connect with agency buyers and effectively communicate with them in their “language.” Unfortunately, this can be tricky. After all, how can you learn the language unless you have experience working with them?
That’s one of the reasons why Jean Kristensen Associates and the NYC Department of Small Business Services partner up to put on our free MWBE online workshops. In our upcoming free webinar, Navigating Opportunities through the City of New York, we will be exploring everything that I talked about above in greater detail, along with other topics like prequalification requirements and business development.
The webinar will be held on January 21st from 10 AM to 12 PM. It’s completely free to attend. Once you register, I will send you a link to the webinar 24 hours before the event.
Once you know how to market yourself to government agencies, you won’t believe the opportunities that become available to you and your MWBE! It’s time to grab onto these opportunities and finally grow your business into the success you know it can be!