Booklet Tips – Shelf Life Vs. Online

Does it matter to you or your quantity buyers how long your tips booklet content places in front of people? Or is it more important to get that information out as quickly and inexpensively as possible before moving on and generating more information? Maybe a combination of both functions is really what matters.

There are pluses and minuses to delivering your tips booklet content online and offline, with certain variables dictating how you proceed. While it may cost very little time or money to deliver a PDF of your tips booklet to a lot of people as a site download or as an email attachment, the value of its content or the presence of the sender can be quickly lost. That PDF may get hastily deleted or automatically stored on the recipients' hard drive, without even looking carefully at what the product is, much less deciding if it's valuable in any way.

Imagine receiving a printed copy of that same tips booklet, with “A gift from XYZ Company at the PDQ Conference” on the bottom of the booklet cover. And the booklet is distributed at a live multi-day educational event. How likely are you to ignore, discard, or automatically store that printed booklet? You see the title and sponsorship on the cover, determine that the booklet size is very approachable, and consider that the production quality is impressive. You make a more conscious decision to at least put it within view and revisit it when you've got a moment.

Even if the downloadable version was sponsored by a reputable participant in your industry, was well produced, and took up space calculated only in pixels, how do you balance the amount of impact that PDF is likely to have compared to a printed tips booklet? Yes, the printed booklet may cost more to create, yet it has a good chance of not only resurfacing on someone's radar; it also has a good chance of prompting larger sales for the sponsoring company and for the author's company.

That printed tips booklet lives on way beyond the live multi-day educational event where the booklet was distributed. In fact, it gives the event producer, the booklet sponsor, and the booklet author a very long shelf life and presence way beyond the event itself. Yes, a PDF could pop up on a search of something else on a person's hard drive, particularly with much less value at that point.

ACTION – Think about where you want your tips booklet to go to help the most people for the longest period of time. Helping is defined by how the content improves someone's life and also by how the booklet can generate revenue.You can always make your booklet available as both a download and a tangible print version once you get clear about who can best use what you've got and how you want to go about letting those people know it's available. Expanding the shelf life of your booklet extends your reach and your bottom line.

“Turn Your Tips Into Products, Your Tips Products Into Moneymakers.TM”

© 2014

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What First Impression Does Your Business Give?

If you run a small business what is the first impression that you create for your customers? What is their initial experience of your business, how professional do you appear? A first impression may not even include any personal interaction with you.

For example, what is your out-of-hours customer experience like? Potential customers may not know your opening hours, may call in person or on your landline and expect to find details of your website, your mobile phone number, be able to leave a voice mail. Is the first impression your business gives positive and professional or does it turn people away?

Practice being your own customer, put the boot on the other foot and check out your own first impression of your business. What first impression does your business give?

I work from home, see my clients there and regularly stop outside upon my return home to double-check how the front of my house looks, the first impression I get as I pull up outside. I want to reaffirm that it's still okay to invite customers there, that the neighborhood is smart, tidy and looks acceptable to the type of customers I want to attract. Does the garden look tidy and welcoming, are the windows clean; all important, subtle things that clients will pick up on, often without realizing.

When I walk through the front door I'll usually pause to take in the first impression the room presents, how it looks, smells, feels. These things are all important, especially to a first time customer or client. Do clients or their companions have somewhere to sit and wait if necessary and is that place comfortable?

I recently called at the advertised shop promises of a driveway laying business. I was considering spending quite a lot of money on a new driveway and wanted to see examples of their work, the different options available for colors and styles, but every time I called their shop was closed. I tried at different times, all within the usual office hours. Daytime, Saturday afternoon; the business was styled as a shop but had no receptionist or staff present and no information explaining why. It was an exasperating experience which conveyed a rather unusual attitude towards potential new business.

They could argue that they're saving on overheads, are able to offer a more economic service as a consequence but when a new customer is trying to make contact it's important that they're able to do so. Why have a shop in the middle of a row of shops if it's unmanned? What first impression does that create?

Competition is fierce in the world of business and as a small business or sole trader it's important to offer that special something extra to customers and clients. Yes, pricing is always going to be an important consideration but it's by no means the only one.

Quality customer service, professionalism and reliability are often almost more important than the price and can certainly put you ahead of the competition. Creating a good first impression helps you to get your foot through the door and reinforces potential customers belief in your ability to deliver well on your promises.

A good first impression helps you to look professional, conveys the message that you take a pride in your work and in your reputation and that your business is important to you.

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Eligibility Checking Part 2: Taking a Proactive Approach

In Part 1 of our post on patient eligibility verification, we examined some of the ways to check eligibility. This post details procedures can take a proactive approach to reduce denials due to eligibility issues.

More than 20 percent of claim denials from private insurers are the result of eligibility issues, according to the American Medical Association. To reduce these types of denials, practices can employ two proactive approaches:

1. The Basics – Many eligibility issues that result in claim denials are the result of simple administrative mistakes. Practices must have comprehensive processes in place to capture the necessary patient information, store it, and organize it for easy retrieval. This includes:

o Obtaining the patient's full name directly from the card (photocopying / scanning is recommended)
o Patient address and phone number
o Obtain the name and identification numbers of other insurance (eg, Medicare or other type of insurance plan involved). Again, photocopying / screening of all health insurance cards is recommended.
o Patient's date of birth

2. Looking Deeper – The increase in high deductible plans is making patients financially responsible for a larger percentage of a practice's revenue. Therefore, practices need to know their financial risks in advance and counsel patients on their financial obligations to improve collections. To accomplish this, practices need to look beyond whether or not the patient is eligible, and determine the amount of the patient's benefits. Practices will need to gather additional information from payers during the eligibility verification process, such as:

o The patient's deductible amount and remaining deductible balance
o Non-covered services, as defined under the patient's policy
o Maximum cap on certain treatments
o Coordination of benefits

Practices that take a proactive approach to eligibility verification can reduce claim denials, improve collections, and reduce financial risks. Practices that do not have the resources to accomplish these tasks in house may want to consider outsourcing specific tasks to an experienced firm.

Specifically, there are certain patient eligibility checking scenarios where automation can not provide the answers that are needed. Despite advances in automation, there is still a need for live representative calls to payer organizations.

For example, many practices use electronic data interchange (EDI) and clearinghouses with their EHR and PM solutions to determine if a patient is eligible for services on a specific day. However, these solutions are typically unable to provide practices with information about:

• Procedure-level benefit analysis
• Prior authorizations
• Covered and non-covered conditions for certain procedures
• Detailed patient benefits, such as maximum caps on certain treatments and coordination of benefit information

Implementing these proactive eligibility approaches is important, whether practices handle them in house or outsource them, since denials resulting from jurisdiction issues directly impact cash flow and a practice's financial health.

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3 Things To Look For In An IT Support Service

A successful organization depends on Information Technology (IT) at every phase of its operation, from basic bookkeeping to customer relations. Whether you are running a small business, a large corporation, or something in between, the quality of your IT support is critical to your performance. It is important to make the right decision when choosing an IT support service.

Here are three things to look for in an IT support service:

Competence

The number one criterion for deciding upon which company to enlist to help with your technology is competence. How good is the technical team in diagnosing problems as they arise? Does the service work proactively to foresee and prevent IT problems before they arise? What is their track record in assisting small to medium size businesses in keeping their computers, networks, and other critical technology running smoothly?

The best way to assess the competency of an IT support company is through the appraisals of their clients. Positive feedback from current and previous clients is good sign that they are filling technical support needs of those organizations. A competent IT support service will be able to supply client testimonials in person or on their website.

Diligence

Here are some of the services a diligent IT support service will offer:

  • Quick response times – When your technology is in need of repair, long delays can cripple your business. The best IT support companies will respond immediately to your critical IT needs.
  • 24/7 network security monitoring – Hackers and other intruders do not operate only during business hour. Good network security is a round-the-clock necessity.
  • Asset and inventory tracking – There are so many facets to keep track of in a business that efficient digital management is a requirement for any organization.
  • Network performance reports – The continuing assessment of your network performance can only be gauged with accurate reports.

Flexibility

Every organization is unique, bringing with it its own problems, challenges, and needs, and an IT support service needs to be flexible in the way it serves each business. Pricing should be tailor based on your particular business type, the size of your business, the nature of your hardware and software, and your budget. A flexible IT support service will offer a variety of support options, including straight hour service, prepaid, discounted blocks of service hours, and different levels of monthly service packs. Support methods need to be flexible, also. Phone, remote, and on-site support should be available as needed. Finding an IT support service that is competent, dense, and flexible can make the difference for a business, keeping it running smoothly and servicing its customers efficiently.

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Managing Small Business Technology

Technology Levels the Playing Field

One advantage small business has gained over the years is the ready availability of sophisticated technology that was once the exclusive asset of the largest corporations. But with this benefit comes the additional responsibility of profitable management of that technology.

Customers Demand Better Service

Today's customer has come to expect the greater convenience and efficiency the Internet Age, with online connectivity to company accounts, or at least computerized records, information databases, and customer management systems.

A Technology Breakdown Can Be a Public Relations Nightmare

Managing your technology may not be at the top of your list of important business activities, but because it should be, because how your computers, database, network, phones, etc. They are running and can make the difference between being seen by your customers as competent and caring about their needs, or inefficient and unconcerned.

Asset Management Can Be a Daunting Task

Your technology must be chosen and sized to the required tasks and your staff must be proficient in its operation, but there is much more to keep track of. Your technology must be periodically upgradated. It is vital that software be updated for security and fixes. Hardware and software depreciate and must be either upgraded or replaced. When facing budget constraints, decisions must be made either to continue using current equipment and software, or to replace it. For example, although a three-year depreciation cycle could have been extended to five years, but circumstances may dictate replacement, such as the existence of older equipment to support the software needed to remain competitive.

Problems Can not Be Ignored

Damage from computer viruses, unreliable power sources, improper usage of software, etc. is a problem small business managers did not have to deal with in the past. Proper rules need to be set up, taught to your employees, and enforced. Commercial grade surge protectors, UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies), or even backup electrical generation may be necessary for the protection of your equipment, and proper technology training of your employees is always important.

Technology Glitches Must Be Handled Properly

No matter how good your hardware, software, and employee training, technology breakss do occur. Properly handling them is a matter of communication. For example, if a customer experiences difficulty accessing their account, they may keep trying over and over. This uses valuable bandwidth and CPU time. Multiply this by many customers trying to access your system, and your network, as well as your technicians, could be tied up with customer requests instead of working to solve the problem. The solution is to tell your customers you are aware of the problem, apologize for the inconvenience, and let them know you are working on it.

Outsourcing As a Solution

Many businesses resolve their technology management problems by contracting with an outside technology management service. It is important that you chose one which is competent, flexible in its prices and levels of service, and has a reputation for effective communication with its clients.

Managing your business technology is as important for your business as sales, employment, and other aspects of your business. Properly managed, technology can give you an edge over your competitors and bring you up to the level of the large corporations.

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Booklet Tips – Do’s, Don’ts, and Myths

A popular writing format for articles, books, booklets, and lists is based on do's and don'ts, and myths. While the authors' intention is always to be helpful, the result could not be more misguided, becoming the opposite of helpful.

Imagine reading a list that, for the sake of efficiency, only had a header on it before the numbered listing. The header said “Do not” and then went on to have a list of 10 items. The only thing is you missed notice the header when you read it. You got distracted, you were reading quickly, you had your thumb over part of the page, anything is possible. Regardless, you missed seeing “Do not.” Not only did you miss the word “Do not” at the beginning of the list, your brain reads that list as if it had direct instructions of what to do rather than what not to do.

At the very least, you have to remind yourself that the list is saying what not to do. That's a lot of extra and unnecessary mental effort to counteract what you see, is not it? Do you want to put your reader through that? Even if you have one list of what not to do and another list of what to do, it is still confusing at best and requires extra mental effort to keep it all straight. As the reader is going through the list of “Don'ts” they are left wondering what to do. You may be giving them the answer to that in the next list, which is then disjointed from what they are now reading at this moment.

The same is true of myths. The myths fall into the same category as what not to do. You have to process what you're seeing twice. First you read it and then you have to re-file it mentally into the ideas that the information is untrue, while deciding whether it is actually even true or not.

Look at all that excessive effort to sort through something intended to be simple, helpful, and easy. You may never have given a moment's thought to what is being triggered with do's and don'ts or myths until now. After all, many people use that approach – and many people are unaware of how counterproductive it is.

There is a simple fix and one that makes you a more valuable resource to people who want what you offer. Put it all in the positive. With all the information coming at you and the rest of the world every day, you can do it differently. You can streamline the flow. You can simplify the process.

ACTION – Tell your reader what TO do as your consistent way of delivering your tips. When you notice yourself headed toward “do not” or “avoid” or other words representing what not to do, ask yourself what you want the reader to do, and tell them that. Do it simply and directly minus any sensationalism or exaggeration. Tell them the truth as you know it rather than myths. They will appreciate it and come back for more.

“Turn Your Tips Into Products, Your Tips Products Into Moneymakers.TM”

© 2014

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Why Small Business Funding Can Be the Answer to Your Problems

Over the past few years, unemployment rates have increased to higher levels than ever before, which has resolved in many people deciding to start up their own small businesses instead. While small business ownership is a good thing, many entrepreneurs can in fact benefit greatly from using small business loans or other types of business financing to help them get ahead.

It Acts as a Safety Net

Many small businesses have not been in operation for long enough to have been able to build up a reasonably-sized company savings account. As a result, they often run into several financial difficulties if their businesses experience more than one or two quiet months in a row. Being able to secure some sort of funding to cover necessary running expenses during these times will often make all the difference between businesses being able to keep their doors open or having to close up shop permanently.

It Provides Investment Capital

At some time or other, almost every small business owner dreams of the day where he or she will be able to stand head and shoulders above competitive businesses in their industry. However, in order to do this, additional funding is required, which most small businesses simply do not have. Funds obtained by means of small business loans can normally be used to improve or enhance any infrastructure and business-related equipment or cover the cost of any training courses that may be required to improve business skills.

It's a Low-Interest Loan Option

Although numerous smaller businesses desirely require additional financing, many of their owners make the mistake of applying for the first loan option that they can find. This can become extremely costy because of the fact that the business does not yet have any proven financial track record, credit rating or any form of collateral to offer. Dedicated small business loans can sometimes be quite challenging to qualify for; however, business owners who are successful in receiving them will typically find that interest rates and repayment terms tend to be far more favorable than those of standard loans.

An Alternative to Traditional Business Funding

Unlike regular loans where fixed repayments have to be made each month, a business cash advance provides small business owners who use merchant credit card services with additional cash when it is most needed. This is done by enabling business owners to receive a cash lump sum in lieu of future card sales that will be made. The amount that is borrowed can then be repaid as funds become available to the small business owner, and two of the only restrictions to being allowed to apply for this type of financing are that a business needs to have been in operation for 12 months or longer and that it has to have at least one brick and mortar location.

If you are a small business owner that has been operating for longer than a year and you have an excellent credit record, your chances of being approved for a business cash advance are relatively high. At the end of the day, it makes far more sense to use a business cash advance than it does to apply for traditional loans. Before applying for any other type of loan, feel free to contact us to determine whether you will qualify for a business cash advance.

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No Magic Pipeline to Federal Contracts – Part One

How could I resist? It sounded so good: if I could just manage to get onto the Government Services Administration (GSA) schedule, it sounded like federal agencies would be able to directly contract with my company. There would be no need for me to respond to Requests for Proposals.

The GSA website proudly states that “The GSA Schedules program is the premier acquisition vehicle in government, with approximately $ 50 billion a year in spending or 10 percent of overall federal procurement spending. and vendors. ”

The prospect was sweetened by the fact that there are specific set-asides for small businesses and for women-owned businesses.

On December 13, 2013, I received my Congressional Notification that my company would be on the Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services (MOBIS) register through 12/19/2018.

It was almost anticlimactic, because it had taken two years to complete many exhaustive, time consuming and frequently expensive steps to get there.

I signed on with a company that promised to get me onto the GSA Schedule. I had looked at the solicitation requirements and knew that I could not complete the process without professional guidance. I bit the bullet and paid them $ 1,500 thousand dollars upfront.

After considering discussion and research, we determined that my services best fit Schedule 874: Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services (MOBIS). There appeared to be four categories that were most relevant: Consulting Services, Facilitation Services, Training Services, Ancillary Supplies and / or Services.

I spent weeks writing up detailed descriptions of my company, my services, my corporate practices, my credentials and my finances. This included narratives of work to support my inclusion under these four service categories.

Each narrative required: the customer / client name; project name; point of contact's phone number and email address; project performance period; dollar value of the entire project; copy of the statement of work; brief summary of the project as a whole; end results achieved; tools, methodology and / or processes utilized to the complete project; compliance with any applicable laws, client requirements, professional standards, etc .; the project schedule with major milestones; tasks; deliverables; explanation of any delays; how the work was performed; if all of the tasks were completed as described; and specific experience and / or special qualifications that enabled me to complete the project.

After creating two narratives for each service category, my GSA marketing firm informed me that I could only use work completed in the past five years. I had to throw out half of what I had written.

I provided a list of my training programs and the GSA marketing company developed a proposed GSA price list. By the way, concerning that price list. The government wants significant discounts and volume discounts on top of that. The entire pricing system is amazingly one-sided in the government's favor.

Then I was told that I had to show invoices that supported each program. If I did not have an invoice from the past 5 years, I could not suggest the program. To be continued in the article: No Magic Pipelines to Federal Contracts- Part Two.

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Small Business Marketing to the Federal Government

Once my company was finally on the GSA MOBS Schedule, the next step was marketing.

First, we needed a mailing list. The marketing company I hireave me a list of 100's of government contracts to sift through to identify: (1) the contracts relevant to my services, (2) the government agencies that purchased those services; and (3) the names and phone numbers of the purchasing agents for those agencies.

My next task was to create a marketing letter that introduced my company. The first paragraph described my company and explained thatwe were interested in doing business with the agency.

It briefly described our services in general terms and then requested the recipient to please add our business name to their agency's mailing list to receive bid and non-bid opportunities under Federal Supply Categories. These were listed by schedule and sin number in MOBIS as well as by NAICS codes.

It went on to say “We are registered with CCR / ORCA / SAM / and Pro-Net. this information may be viewed online; however, we would prefer to keep a hard copy for our reference.

In addition, please send any hard copy publications you may have about doing business with your agency. Also, please forward the telephone number, address and email address for any buyers or contracting officials who may have the need for our services. ”

The letter concluded with the statement that I would follow up with the recipient within two weeks, provided contact information if there were any questions, and thanked the recipient for “your time and assistance in this matter.”

Anyone who opened the letter and did not respond by asking to be removed from the mailing list was considered fair game. There were 90 in that list, and not one of them responded with any of the information I had requested.

I was tasked with calling each of them. Which I did. Yes, the person who had shied away from even doing warm calling for the past twenty-five years actually made all of these cold calls. Most people were very gracious. Each one explained that the best way to get work with their agency was to watch federal postings and respond to the Requests for Proposals.

So that is what I have done. I have sent hours responding to requests for proposals with absolutely no success. This has included estimated total travel costs without knowing when the training would occur and how that would affect transportation and lodging.

I have had absolutely no success. Why? The answer is very simple. I'll tell you in my article: A GSA Schedule Cautionary Tale.

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No Magic Pipeline to Federal Contracts – Part Two

I needed invoices that supported each program that I wanted to have on the GSA price list. These invoices had to be from programs facilitated in the past 5 years.

The problem was that, due to the economy and my less than competent marketing acumen, my business had suffered greatly for several years. Although I had an extensive roster of training programs that I had presented over the years, only a few had been of client interest during that time period. This was one of the compelling reasons why I wanted to get onto the GSA Schedule.

Since I did not have invoices for most of the programs, my list went from 50 programs down to about 10. I was very disheartened. But things got much worse. I had a terrible problem when I had to prove my financial stability to meet eligibility requirements

In the meantime, I had to acquire the required registrations. I already had a DUNS number, but I had to register on the System for Award Management (SAM) website.

I also had to satisfactorily complete a mandatory 5-module online Pathway to Success training program.

Next, I had to go a Dun & Bradstreet Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation. This entailed contacting past clients and asking them if they would be willing to participate, then waiting to see if they did participate.

The process took 35 days and the final report cost $ 185. It was only valid for 12 months. I can not tell you how close I came to having to go through that process all over again, due to multiple delays.

After many more hoops, the proposal was supposedly to be submitted for review electronically through GSA's eOffer system, which required a digital certificate. I absolutely could not get the certificate using a Mac. After many frustrating attempts and phone calls for assistance, I finally had to borrow a PC to get the certificate.

The proposal was submitted and after a lengthy review and many questions, rather than denying the proposal due to my unacceptable financial status, the GSA agent decided to simply return the proposal. I had to wait a year until my financials were in sufficient shape to resubmit.

Then there were more questions, more documentation, and pricing negotiations where GSA wanted even more discounts. At long last, the GSA marketing company was able to create and submit the Final Proposal Revision that included all negotiated terms.

It sounded so very promising: “Contractors will receive a Contract Award and GSA Schedule Contract Number approximately a week after submitting the Final Proposal Revision. Hurray! I could begin selling immediately !! So, did I?

You'll have to check out my article: Marketing to the Federal Government to find the answer.

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A GSA Schedule Cautionary Tale

My company has been on the GSA MOBS Schedule for nine months, with absolutely no success. Why? The answer is very simple and I am glad to share it with you, in the hope that my sad tale saves someone else from this costly and time-consuming misery.

This is what I have learned:

If you want to provide soft skills training or curriculum development services to the federal government, you need to have:

(1) a large company with many trainers and support staff;

(2) offices in the Washington, DC area;

(3) offices on the west coast;

(4) provided similar program services to the federal government in the recent past; and

(5) dedicated personnel to watch for relevant RFPs and write the lengthy and complicated proposals.

In other words, if you are a one-person operation located in the Midwest, if you lack the requisite person power, if you have to estimate and charge all travel costs, and if you have not had any recent federal contracts, FORGET IT !!!

Either the contracts are for millions of dollars over a multi-year time period or they are for a one or two day program, and both types of contracts typically need to be provided someplace to which you will need to travel (and even remain for long periods of time). Since the government says it will take the lowest cost and since I always need to factor in travel costs, I'm sunk. I do not have a chance. Not a prayer.

And, guess what? I could have avoided all of this had I thought to research my chances on the GSA website, instead of asking the GSA preparation and marketing company (who wanted my money) if they thought my company would be a good candidate.

Recently, I discovered that there is a “Readiness Assessment for Prospective Offerors” on the GSA Website. If I had only taken this assessment, I would have realized the GSA Schedule was not a good fit for me.

Here are the key questions that would have made this glaringly obvious:

  • Does your firm know how much time and money successful firms spend to market to the Federal Government? (Research shows that successful firms spend between $ 80- $ 130K a year to earn their first order).
  • Does your firm have the committed personnel or resources to write proposals and administrator a MAS contract?
  • Does your firm know that as a MAS contractor you are required to sell a minimum of $ 25,000 within the first 24 months following contract award and are expected to exceed $ 25,000 in sales each 12-monthperiod thereafter?
  • Does your firm understand that 60% of the GSA Schedule contractors do not meet the minimum sales requirements as defined by I-FSS-639?
  • Have you developed relationships with potential federal customers? (GSA research indicates that it is important to have a relationship with the agency you are targeting to buy your product or service.)

These were “Yes” or “No” questions and my answer to each of them would have been a resounding “NO!”

So, what have I learned from this ill fated and completely avoidable misadventure? I'll tell you in my article: My GSA Misadventure.

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My GSA Misadventure

There is good that has come out of this ill-fated and completely avoidable misadventure trying to get onto the GSA Schedule.

1. The process and requirements forced me to focus and articulate my areas of expertise.

2. I had to give serious thought to what differentiates my services from others who work in similar areas.

3. I learned about the importance of identifying my company as a certified woman-owned business. That is not something that I have played up in the past.

4. The massive documentation I had to develop will be very useful in future proposals and marketing efforts.

a. Creating the narratives of projects that I have completed was very instructive.

b. Writing the capability statement cave me a head start in defining what it is that I do.

c. The responses I have written to the requests for proposals contain information I can and will use again in future (and hopefully, more successful) proposals.

5. I got practice pricing potential travel and lodging expenses, which was illuminating in itself.

6. All may not be lost. I do have another year to watch and see if there is work I can do for the federal government.

And what hard lessons have I learned?

  • It is important to conduct thorough research into any venture that appears attractive. I should have spent a lot of time on the GSA website. I also should have checked out the websites of more of the women-owned contractors who did and did not get contracts- and called to talk with them about their experiences.
  • I need to ask more questions to get a complete picture of the requirements before I voluntarily jump onto the merry-go-round.
  • If the application is incredibly difficult to complete, that is a good indication that the application process will be incredibly difficult.
  • If the application process is so complex that it requires paid expertise to complete it, then the implementation (marketing) phase will also require paid expertise.
  • If you want to do business with the federal government, you need to be in a financial position where you do not need the business.
  • If the solution to stress creates more stress, it is not a good solution. The reason for wanting to get onto the GSA Schedule was to reduce my stress about the paucity of work and finances. Sadly, the process of getting onto the GSA Schedule kept me highly stressed for two years and did not do anything to get me work or improve my finances.
  • I need to be aware that I was guilty of magical thinking: getting on the GSA Schedule will open the door for lots of federal lucrative contracts. I did not consider how difficult it would be to introduce myself and build relationships with federal agencies.
  • When I consider taking a risk, I need to think through my decision to its practical and most likely conclusion. I can not allow my desperation to muddy my view of the most realistic exit.
  • Nothing involving the federal government is ever simple or easy.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, be wary, because you do not have the full story.

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Mom Blogs: What Are the Benefits?

The emergence of mommy bloggers is a direct result of women's desire to work online from home and build a community of like-minded friends. These blogs differ in content from other types of blogs by focusing primarily on topics revolving around the home, family matters, spiritual issues or work at home topics. While on the surface these mom blogs may seem like a way to pass the time, there are actually many other real benefits to running one.

Provides a Creative Outlet
For many bloggers, the ability to simply express their thoughts creatively is reward enough. While getting your works published through traditional means can be quite challenging, publishing on a blog takes literal seconds. Whether you seek to write news-worthy pieces or simply maintain an online diary of your life, the blog is a perfect outlet for your creative talents. Do not limit yourself to just writing text on your blog, as they are also wonderful ways to showcase your photography as well.

Launch a Writing Career
For those who are serious about wanting to work online from home, a blog is the prefect starting point to building a professional writing career. In essence, a blog is your portfolio and demonstrates your ability to capture the reader's attention and communicate through the written word. While it may take time to grab the attention of higher-ups, your blog is a great springboard toward paid professional writing assignments at larger websites or blogs.

Monetary Gain
While most blogs do not start out making much money, they have the potential to turn into a viable way for a single working mom to earn extra money. By building up your readership and focusing on the right way to monetize the blog, you can at least earn a very lucrative side income. Traditional forms of monetizing blogs include displaying advertising on the side rails or even in the context of the post themselves.

Find Like-Minded Friends
Another important benefit of running a mom blog is that you will gain readers who quite often become lifelong friends. This is particularly important if you're blogging about topics such a health issues or if you are a single working mom who simply needs to build a support network. Many of these friends will also have their own blogs and can help you build your readership by linking to yours. Bloggers also hold meet-ups in various locations where blog followers can meet in person to grab lunch, converse and get to know each other better.

Make an Impact
Finally, mom blogs have the ability to make a real impact on your community, the lives of others and even on state or federal policy. If you feel strongly about certain issues, blogging about them can help you gain increased support for them. Today's viral blog posts are often picked up by local and national news outlets who expand on the stories by interviewing the blog writers. This is a wonderful way to bring attention to your cause by simply spending a little time at your computer keyboard.

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Working Moms and Mom Entrepreneur Business Tips

Today's technology makes it easy for mothers all over the globe. No matter what your skills or interests, you can be guaranteed to find a work at home opportunity that will meet your own personal needs. However, this does not guarantee easy money. Mothers that choose to work at home will find excellent opportunities, but it will take a lot of dedication and stubbornness to make it work for them. The following are some tips for moms working from home online:

Treat Your Work at Home Like a Real Job
The most common reason for failure in work from home opportunities is it is often not grateful like a real job. An outside job requires you to work certain hours and actually work for the full shift. Temptations and distractions can easily get out of hand when working at home. You must treat your opportunity like a real job or you will end up on the list of failed entrepreneurs. This may mean enlisting the help of a nanny or working only when the children have gone to bed.

Understand You Can not Do It All
Many work from home mothers dream of doing it all. Spending time with family in a perfectly kept home and bringing in a sizable income at the same time. You must let go of the idea that this is going to happen for you. If you are serious about making money online, you must realize that something is going to have to give. The dishes may not get done, but as long as the children are happy and your work is done, you should be satisfied.

Invest in Tools to Increase Your Income
You must also be willing to invest your time and money into tools that will actually help you increase your income. Technological advances make it possible for you to automatically email leads collected from your website. There is software available that make tracking your finances quickly and efficiently. You can even purchase software that will help you to create your own apps. The key is to know which ones will help you grow your business.

Take Advantage of Social Sites
Social sites, like Facebook, are filled with other moms, just like you, who want to work and stay at home with their children. Making connections with them can give you a chance to bounce ideas on what works and does not work. It can also give you the chance to share your own opportunity to with others who want the same things that you do.

Moms working from home online are not a rare occurrence. Millions of mothers are searching every day for a work at home opportunity that is going to allow them the privilege of staying at home with their children while still bringing in an income. If you are one of these moms, you must take your search seriously. It could just be the best change you ever make and may let you lead the lifestyle you have always dreamed about.

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Choosing a Vending Machine Company

If you have decided to set up a vending machine in your office, then choosing a good vending machine company is the next important step. When it comes to vending machines companies; you will not have a problem in finding one. Each one of them, at first glance, seems to be better than the others. So, it can be bit confusing for you to select the best. Through this article we can help you with some tips that can help you in deciding the best vending companies.

The first step is to check how technologically advanced machines are that the supplier is offering. Always look for the most up-to date models. Do your homework so as not to fall into any sales trap of a company offering out-dated and inoperative scrap items under the label of top-notch products. Even if the exterior of the machine looks brand new and appealing, though the technology inside might not be.

Next important thing is to check what services the company is willing to offer. There is nothing worse than having your machine break down a few days after your buy it and then having to wait for someone to come and fix it. Reliable companies offer to perform scheduled maintenance checks on your machine to make sure it is operating smoothly. If some problems do arise, they are supposed to deal with the problem in hours. A qualified member of their team will ensure that the problem is resolved.

Another important thing to know is the range of products for the machine the vending company can offer. It may turn out that half of the items listed are not available and your business ends up with a very limited range of options. Make sure that the service provider has the products in stock for your vending machine.

Always, remember to know about the optimal placement of vending machines. A good vending company will recommend the best location for your machines that goes with your office setting and also helps reduce the time it takes for your employees to get the hot cup of coffee or a snack that they need.

Last but not least, maintenance and repairs should be professional and should be done regularly as this is important for any business. In addition, they should resolve issues within 4 hours; else you risk upsetting your staff and looking unprofessional in the eyes of visitors who may well be your clients! Choosing the best supplier is vital as well. So, start your search for the best vending company for your office right away!

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