Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Contacts for Disaster Response Business

Turn Today's Calls into Tomorrow's Call-ups
Brenda Thomas and Tiffany Butler, Small Business Specialists at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), counsel a prospective supplier at the 19th Annual OSDBU Conference, presented by the Federal Business Council.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

BearingPoint Tells How to Set Sail

Seeks Leverage from Small Business Connections

People were lined up to talk to Diane McLaughlin, Director of the Small Business Program Office at BearingPoint when I met her during the OSDBU conference in Maryland in April 2007.

They wanted a sense of direction on how to really connect with BearingPoint to win new business...and she was ready to share that with all of us.

  • "Understand what BearingPoint does."
    McLaughlin managed to hold back her exasperation with the unbelievable number of companies who come to her without having done even that much homework. I can't blame her for that!

  • "Tell us how you complement that."
    (It's not useful if you do the same thing they do, is it now?)

  • "Understand the Agency."
    (That is, the Customer. What new information can you bring BearingPoint about the clients they serve?)

  • "Know what's up!"
    How good are your insider contacts? What insights do you have into business and clients that you know BearingPoint wants to win?
Want a starting point? A recent edition of Washington Technology featured McLaughlin (BearingPoint rolls into new territory: Small-business partners will foster growth) and provides details and links of the company's teaming strategy and highlights of some of its major projects.

Unisys: Entry Points

Ed's Five Tips Open Doors to Teaming

Ed Weil, Senior Manager for Unisys' Supplier Diversity Program, was at the 2007 OSDBU conference talking to prospective partners. Here's the advice he gave me if your company wants to do business with Unisys, especially on government contracts:

  • "Know 5+4."
    Know all 5 of Unisys' core focus areas, and all 4 lines of business...before you make an initial query, and reflect that knowledge in your online profile.

  • "How do you fit in?"
    Read case studies online, know who our customers are, or ask me if you'd like to know whether a specific company is among our top clients.

  • "Register!"
    We have a robust questionnaire (link to to that asks about past performance, size, qualifications, all the classic information. Make your entries as strong and specific as you can.

  • "Get to know our customers"
    ...before you call us. How can you help us to better serve the needs of specific clients?

  • "Bring in the business."
    If you can, tell me about opportunities coming that we haven't heard about yet. Timing is everything -- what do you know that others haven't heard?

KBR - Getting in the Door

How to Get Started with Logistics Giant

Quintin Robinson, Manager, Small Business Program Office in Arlington VA spoke with me at the 19th Annual OSDBU conference on April 19th in Maryland. This logistics giant does business all over the world -- including but not limited to large projects like Iraq reconstruction and Gulf Coast disaster recovery.

What advice does he offer companies who want to become suppliers to KBR?

  • "Make sure your capability is something we can use." Such as? "Logistics, security solutions, construction, operations and maintenance, engineering." (What do they NOT need? "IT or human resource management.")

  • "Register as a supplier,"online before contacting officials. Use specific keywords to describe your unique qualifications. Even so, there is no guarantee that anyone from KBR will call you; you simply must be in the database in order to be considered.

  • "Look up our projects." Search online and through your contacts for projects -- especially ones that might be coming open for competition -- where KBR could use you.
  • "Tell us where you fit." Armed with a completed profile and specific project ideas, you've got something to talk about when you arrange an introductory meeting with Quintin in Virginia, or his colleagues Jody Kernaghan and Beth Gardner at KBR's offices in Houston.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What Partners Seek -- Tips From Ludmilla Parnell, GDIT

BUSTED! Apologies and Overdue Credit for Her Unacknowledged Wisdom

I prepared a presentation this spring that included info on "What Partners Want". I discovered recently, to my horror, that while I had borrowed with permission from a colleague's presentation, I had failed to give her credit!

That's not right, and so I'm using this blog entry to set the record straight as well as to laud the sterling advice that Ludmilla Parnell, Marketing Director for Small Business Partnerships at General Dynamics IT (GDIT), shares with her clientele and the contracting community.

Here's what Ludmilla says GDIT examines when they consider teaming partners:
  • Core capabilities & differentiation
  • Past performance & reputation
  • Price
  • Personnel experience & low turnover
  • Location
  • Financial strength
  • Dependable, responsive team player
I'll be reporting more tips from other primes and what they say they want you to do...AND taking the time and care I should have done here to provide full public credit to those who share their advice, too.

Thanks, Ludmilla.
PS: Watch for GDIT to launch a new partnerships registration site later this spring!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Simple Truths of Service

Support for Your Unique Value Proposition

I encourage my clients to craft a Unique Value Proposition. Ever wonder how to walk that talk, and really set yourself apart?

Make your day: take a look at this and tell me where is leads you.

My friend Joan sent me this link, following a group discussion she'd had on how to recraft your work using your signature strengths.