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ExpandingOpportunities
Maryland’s trusted source of business, legal and government news
2016 Resource Guide for Small, Min...
MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES
For more information, visit the Business Opportunities page at dgs.maryland.gov or...
3	 Governor’s message
	 4 	Lt. Governor’s message
	 5	 Special Secretary’s 		
		message
	 6	 Expanding opportunities
	 8	 ...
Capitol Technology University
Goucher College
Hood College
Johns Hopkins University
Loyola University Maryland
Maryland In...
Dear Friends:
I am pleased to present the 2016 edition
of the Expanding Opportunities magazine
for Maryland’s small busine...
Dear Friends:
The Hogan administration is eager to
attract and retain minority- and women-
owned businesses, and we are co...
Dear Friends:
Maryland is home to 560,000+ small
businesses; over 50 percent have less
than 100 employees and 54 percent
a...
“We’re changing our approach and
thinking more like business people.
As a result, we’re changing just about
everything we ...
Don’t Miss:
Greater Baltimore
Committe’s
2016 Bridging the Gap
Achievement Awards
November 10, 2016
Join us to celebrate s...
After the destruction and loss she experienced during the
city’s civil unrest in April 2015, Maisha McCoy wasn’t sure what...
Program, part of Governor Larry Hogan’s
rapid response to Baltimore City’s civil
unrest. Administered by the Maryland
Depa...
A wise person once said the
only thing we can count on in life
is change. Never before in human
history have entrepreneurs...
One of the tools I like to offer that is crucial to maximizing the op-
portunity inherent to a perceived danger is the “OR...
BY JESSICA GREGG
Talking business with Rohit Patel, owner and founder of the
Baltimore-based Intelect Corporation, is like...
Intelect also has created video surveillance and security
systems for the Baltimore Police Department, Port of Bal-
timore...
BY: ANITA BRIGHTMAN,
APR, FELLOW PRSA
One of the most difficult decisions for any business
remains — to bid or not to bid?...
That is the
Question
2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 15
16 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
SUCCESS
Story
BY MARGIE HYSLOP
In just a few years, DC Sweet Potato
Cake has gone from a local favorite, avail-
able in suburban Marylan...
Doing business in Maryland has never
been more straightforward, especially for
today’s small business owners.
“Governor La...
CORPORATE
COMPETENCY
ACCESS
TO CAPITAL
POLICY
INSIGHT
SBR
MBE
VENDORSPUBLIC SECTOR
PRIVATE SECTOR
Maryland OPEN for Busine...
ADVICE FROM LENDERS:
Get to know your banker
FEATURE
20 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minorit...
BY MEG TULLY
A few years ago, an entrepreneur
approached the credit union SECU about
opening an early childhood education ...
BY IVAN V. LANIER AND
JEANETTE ORTIZ, ESQ.
Do you know ALL your elected offi-
cials? Many Marylanders cannot answer
this. ...
90-day Legislative Session. This past Session, over 3,000 bills and
a litany of budget items were considered. There were m...
BY JESSICA GREGG
THE DAILY RECORD
After nearly two decades in the
construction business, Stella Miller
decided at the age ...
In 2006, the U.S.
Small Business Admin-
istration named Stella
May Contracting the
Maryland Small Busi-
ness Firm of the Y...
BY GINA GALLUCCI-WHITE
Two years after they founded Digitized
Logos, a full-service promotional products
company, Yazdani ...
to be posted on eMary-
land Marketplace and
many times the buyers are
soliciting small businesses
directly when these need...
BY GINA GALLUCCI-WHITE
As the founder and president of Applied Technol-
ogy Services Inc., Danielle Burnett often gets inv...
2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 29
SUCCESS
StorySUCCESS
Story
BY MEG TULLY
B
anker George H. Harrop has learned one thing
about business plans in his years in the commer-
cial lending ...
reveal the idea for a product or service
will work and the plan save time and
money in getting the business launched.
In t...
32 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
BY ALISON TAVIK
M
ost small b...
El Andariego has the
recipe for energy savings.
The BGE Smart Energy Savers Program®
is helping business
owners and manage...
WhoReads the Record?
She’s Successful.
She’s Influential.
She’s Informed.
And, She Reads...
“The Daily Record provides
me ...
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2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 1 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 2 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 3 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 4 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 5 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 6 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 7 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 8 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 9 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 10 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 11 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 12 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 13 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 14 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 15 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 16 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 17 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 18 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 19 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 20 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 21 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 22 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 23 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 24 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 25 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 26 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 27 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 28 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 29 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 30 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 31 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 32 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 33 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 34 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 35 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses Slide 36

2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses

  1. 1. ExpandingOpportunities Maryland’s trusted source of business, legal and government news 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  2. 2. MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES For more information, visit the Business Opportunities page at dgs.maryland.gov or email our office at dgs.businessopportunities@maryland.gov. Larry Hogan GOVERNOR Boyd Rutherford LT. GOVERNOR SECRETARY Expanding Opportunitiesfor small,local,minority, woman and veteran-owned businesses $MILLIONS IN CONTRACT OPPORTUNITIES in CONSTRUCTION, FACILITIES MAINTENANCE, COMMODITIES and ENERGY SERVICES! Building capacity in our small business community through effective initiatives, such as our Small Business Growth & Development Training Progam, to help you position your business to compete successfully and WIN contracts! Register your business at www.surveymonkey.com/r/DGSopportunities TODAY to begin receiving notification of contracting opportunities and training. Ellington Churchill The desire for a better tomorrow comes naturally... For more information about supplier diversity, contact Joan Hairston at 703-750-4733. ACHIEVING IT TAKES COMMITMENT Washington Gas is proud to have maintained a robust supplier diversity program for the past 30 years. It is a sound business practice that fosters growth and competition in the marketplace, and produces value for our customers, investors and communities. We continue to support supplier diversity in all areas of our business.
  3. 3. 3 Governor’s message 4 Lt. Governor’s message 5 Special Secretary’s message 6 Expanding opportunities 8 Recovery in progress 10 Pivot point intelligence 12 Lessons learned on the track to success 14 To bid or not to bid… 16 Success baked into business strategy 18 Three pillars of success 20 Get to know your banker 22 Small business advocacy 24 Construction firm builds strong relationships 26 Reaching the low-hanging fruit 28 IT firm builds its reputation 30 Writing a business plan 32 3-3-7-2 marketing plan Jimmy Rhee Special Secretary Herb Jordan Deputy Secretary Alison Tavik Director of Communications GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF MINORITY AFFAIRS Suzanne E. Fischer-Huettner Publisher Thomas Baden Jr. Editor Jessica Gregg Special Products Editor Maria Kelly Comptroller Tracy Bumba Audience Development Director Darice Dixon Account Manager Mary Beverly Account Manager Jason Whong Digital Editor John Mullinix Digital Content Marketer Sean Wallace Assistant Editor Maximilian Franz Senior Photographer James Needham and Michael Duntz Graphic Designers This resource guide is prepared in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs by the staff of CONTENTS 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 1
  4. 4. Capitol Technology University Goucher College Hood College Johns Hopkins University Loyola University Maryland Maryland Institute College of Art McDaniel College Mount St. Mary’s University Notre Dame of Maryland University St. John’s College Stevenson University Washington Adventist University Washington College MICUA is proud to support expanded opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses. www.micua.org/mbe
  5. 5. Dear Friends: I am pleased to present the 2016 edition of the Expanding Opportunities magazine for Maryland’s small business community. Economic development and job creation are top priorities for my administration and I am very proud of the work the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs is doing to support minority- and women-owned businesses in Maryland. When I was elected governor, I pledged to transform Maryland into a place where businesses can flourish and create more jobs and opportunities for our citizens. Since last January, we have made significant strides toward this goal. We got rid of more than 100 job-killing regulations, reduced or eliminated over 100 fees, cut tolls for the first time in more than 50 years, and ended two legislative sessions with no new tax increases. In total, our administration has taken $600 million out of the pockets of government and put it back into our economy and the pockets of Maryland taxpayers and businesses. We have even established new standards of customer service across all agencies, and I’m confident you’ll find a new level of support whether you’re trying to register a new business or find funding programs to expand an existing one. Maryland is truly open for business! Together, we will make Maryland the best place in America to work, raise a family, and start a business. Sincerely, Larry Hogan Governor LARRY HOGAN GOVERNOR A Message from Governor Larry Hogan 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 3
  6. 6. Dear Friends: The Hogan administration is eager to attract and retain minority- and women- owned businesses, and we are committed to creating an environment that truly fosters entrepreneurship. Maryland’s diversity is a great source of strength in the small business community. Change starts at the top and that’s why I’m especially pleased to be leading Governor Hogan’s Procurement Reform Commission. Maryland’s procurement system is currently a patchwork of laws and processes that are inefficient, ineffective, and result in wasted taxpayer dollars. Through this commission, we will deliver a top-to-bottom review of all state regulations and policies, and modernize the way Maryland deals with procurement by creating a predictable, consistent, and transparent system. To start, we are focused on eliminating archaic regulations which have outlived their usefulness, failed to accomplish their objective, or were so poorly written, implemented, or interpreted that they caused more harm than good. The Hogan administration is committed to fostering a business-friendly environment in Maryland, and with your support, we will transform Maryland into a place where businesses can flourish and create more jobs and opportunities for our citizens. Sincerely, Boyd Rutherford Mayrland Lt. Governor BOYD K. RUTHERFORD LT. GOVERNOR A Message from Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford 4 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  7. 7. Dear Friends: Maryland is home to 560,000+ small businesses; over 50 percent have less than 100 employees and 54 percent are owned by women and minorities. It’s important to understand this unique demographic to know that everything good for small business is inherently good for minority- and women-owned businesses as well At the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, we’re working tirelessly to engage more firms in the state’s Small Business Reserve and Minority Business Enterprise programs. They present prime and subcontracting opportunities on state-funded contracts and can play an important role in creating jobs and impacting the economic success of our entire state. I am pleased to share the 2016 edition of our annual Expanding Opportunities magazine. Much of the content comes from successful entrepreneurs who share the lessons they have learned in both the public and private sectors. It also contains valuable information about connecting to resources that can help your small business thrive. I hope it proves to be a valuable resource. Kind regards, Jimmy Rhee Special Secretary A Message from Special Secretary Jimmy Rhee JIMMY RHEE SPECIAL SECRETARY 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 5
  8. 8. “We’re changing our approach and thinking more like business people. As a result, we’re changing just about everything we do and the way we do it, starting with our web-based resources.” —— Herb Jordan, Deputy Secretary with the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs D o an internet search on the words “small business resourc- es” and you’ll get about 165 million results. On the top three pages alone, the topics include workforce statistics, magazine subscrip- tions, licensing/regulatory guidance, franchising ideas, investment strategies, and legal advice. You’ll also find “top 10” tips, tool kits, white papers and resource centers. “Technology puts so much information into our hands,” said Herb Jordan, Deputy Secretary with the Gov- ernor’s Office of Minority Affairs. “Culling through it to find something meaningful can be a challenge.” For small business owners who are working with limited resources, the information found online can be overwhelming. The Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs wants to be the first choice resource for small businesses, so we’re doing the legwork for you. “We’re changing our approach and thinking more like business people,” Jordan commented. “As a result, we’re changing just about everything we do and the way we do it, starting with our web-based resources. The process is currently underway, but no completion Looking for Small Businesses Resources? START YOUR SEARCH HERE HERB JORDAN 6 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  9. 9. Don’t Miss: Greater Baltimore Committe’s 2016 Bridging the Gap Achievement Awards November 10, 2016 Join us to celebrate successful minority and women-owned businesses and honor those who are striving to enhance the role and impact of minority and women-owned businesses in the regional economy. 5:30 p.m. • Registration, heavy hors d'oeuvres and cocktails 6:30 p.m. • Program The Grand Baltimore 225 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201 GBC members: $75 individual • $600 per table of 10 Non-members: $100 individual • $800 per table of 10 Register: gbc.org/event-registration For event and sponsorship information, contact Lisa Byrd at lisab@gbc.org or 410-727-2820 Thank you to our sponsors! Corporate Sponsor: BGE Ambassador Sponsors: Baltimore Development Corporation Comcast NBC Universal Signature Sponsors: AT&T LifeBridge Health MedStar Health Whiting-Turner Contracting Company Bronze Sponsors: Baltimore Business Journal The Daily Record date has been set. According to Jordan the site will never be “done.” “Maryland has over 560,000 small businesses and our office has a staff of 10. We’re never going to stop reaching out to these folks, and as their needs change, the content of our website will continue to evolve,” Jordan said. The same is true for the office’s live outreach and training programs. During the last fiscal year, the Minority Affairs team hosted 17 workshops, attended 110 events and reached nearly 10,000 small business owners. The content was previously focused on general information about the Minori- ty Business Enterprise (MBE) and Small Business Reserve (SBR) programs, but has shifted to connect small business vendors with state buyers and teach technical skills and best practices. According to Jordan, increasing the bidders’ knowledge of the procurement process achieves an important goal “We’ve got to move the needle and increase the number of small businesses that are awarded prime and subcontracting work with the state,” Jordan stat- ed. “We’re working on several fronts to reach that goal, with a focus on the online resources and live training programs we put out to the small business community.” How can you get connected? Online of course. Visit the Governor’s Office of Minority Affair’s website for MBE and SBR program information, procurement forecast reports, legislative updates, networking events and a vast collection of small business resources, including educational workshops (many of which are free) and access to capital/loan programs. “The contact page may be the most impactful information on the site,” Jordan added. “Nobody is more passionate about helping small businesses succeed than our team. Just let us know how we can help.” Please visit us today at www.goma.maryland.gov. 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 7
  10. 10. After the destruction and loss she experienced during the city’s civil unrest in April 2015, Maisha McCoy wasn’t sure what was next for Breathe4Sure Pharmacy Solutions, LLC, a certified Minority Business Enterprise located in west Baltimore. But when her patients began calling for their medicine, she realized that providing pharmaceutical services for nearly three years in the Harlem Park neighborhood had created an undeniable connec- tion between herself, her customers and the community. Despite the loss of inventory, the broken computers and vandalism, she decided to stay and reopen her pharmacy on the corner of North Carey Street and Harlem Avenue. She addressed the pharmacy’s damage with a commitment to serve her community and its residents — even when that meant conducting service through a small hole in the bars over the windows. McCoy found the help she needed to fix up her business and replace inventory through the Maryland Business Recovery Loan FEATURE 8 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  11. 11. Program, part of Governor Larry Hogan’s rapid response to Baltimore City’s civil unrest. Administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Maryland Business Re- covery Loan Program provided zero-inter- est microloans of up to $35,000 to affected city businesses. The microloans were adapted from the agency’s Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program, which provides financial assistance to new or expanding small businesses and nonprofit organiza- tions. McCoy’s pharmacy was one of 49 businesses to receive assistance through the program, which provided $1.5 million to support recovery activities across the city. The loan program was developed and administered with the goal of providing streamlined assistance to help businesses recover and reopen as quickly as possible. McCoy was also chosen to receive further assistance from Housing and Community Development’s Storefront Improvement Program. The pharmacy will receive up to $10,000 of improve- ments to the building’s facade, such as signage, lighting and painting. It was one of 50 businesses chosen for the $650,000 program to enhance the visual appeal and marketability of small businesses and commercial districts in areas where there was a concentration of damage from the civil unrest. The program provides access to architectural design assistance that will assist property owners with enhancing the historic features and aesthetic appeal of their buildings. The program also offers workforce development opportunities in the construction industry for Baltimore City residents. Thanks in part to the state’s assistance, Breath4Sure Pharmacy Solutions remains open, and McCoy continues to provide valuable services to her community. After fighting so hard to maintain the business she built in the neighborhood she loves, McCoy’s pharmacy will serve as an anchor in the community for positive change and future development. Financing Opportunities for Small Businesses From the Maryland Depart- ment of Housing and Community Development The Community Development Administration’s Neighborhood BusinessWorks (NBW) program, supports Smart Growth and helps our cities and towns remain rich, vibrant communities. The NBW program provides flexible financing to small businesses and nonprofit organizations locating or expanding in locally-designated Sustainable Communities (SC) and Priority Funding Areas (PFA). The Neighborhood Business- Works Loan Program offers: 1. Loans up to $5 million 2. Flexible loan terms up to 15 years 3. Interest rates based on market conditions and risk analysis 4. Primary lending along with gap financing Eligible Applicants: 5. For profit and not-for-profit organizations 6. Commercial property owners and commercial tenants 7. Developers – Mixed use proj- ects 8. Banks and CDFI’s (Participa- tions and loan guarantys) Eligible Uses: 9. New construction or rehabili- tation 10. Real estate acquisition 11. Machinery and equipment 12. Leasehold improvements 13. Refinances To learn more about all of the NBW small business lending programs and how to apply, visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Busi- ness/Pages/SmallBusinesses.aspx or call 1-800-756-0119. Photos courtesy of the Office of the Governor; Photographer, Joe Andrucyk 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 9 FEATURE
  12. 12. A wise person once said the only thing we can count on in life is change. Never before in human history have entrepreneurs and business leaders had to confront such a confluence of dynamic fac- tors in the global economy, in poli- tics, in technological advancement and uncertain institutional systems. Things happen—sometimes unex- pected, unwanted and unfriendly toward your bottom-line, and unless you adjust, or pivot properly, your business can suffer potentially irreparable loss. When I speak of pivoting, in a business strategy sense—I define it as the ability to change or alter your business course or strategy without losing ground or momentum. In other words, when your environ- ment changes around you, when forces occur that you can’t control, how do you—and your business— respond in a way that will keep your business strong and sound and ready for the future? In short, it’s knowing how to adjust to whatever comes your way—and believe me, things will come! The questions are: How can we know how to intelligently pivot? How can we know what to do to prevent changes from disrupting our business? 10 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  13. 13. One of the tools I like to offer that is crucial to maximizing the op- portunity inherent to a perceived danger is the “ORDER” technique. The ORDER technique consists of five clear and simple steps: Intentionally looking for potential changes and problems before they arise. Anyone can see things after they happen. Considering all the different possibilities of responding to that which has been observed. Here is where getting all the expert advice can be very helpful. Leave your ego and biases at the door! Choosing from the possible responses. Here is where one of the most important aspects of leadership, of any kind, comes in: the courage to make decisions—especially the right one. Once a choice is made, taking decisive action to execute, either incrementally or all at once, the choice that was made. Once the choice is executed, taking an assessment of whether the intended outcome was achieved. If not, make adjustments based on the observations and begin the process once again. 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 11
  14. 14. BY JESSICA GREGG Talking business with Rohit Patel, owner and founder of the Baltimore-based Intelect Corporation, is like having a one-on-one seminar on industry know-how. African born and educated here in the states, Patel had a successful career as a systems engineer before he opened Intelect in 1995. The list of projects he has led his engineering and communica- tions company through is impressive; it includes installing public announcement and electronic signage systems at MARC train sta- tions across the state as well as equipping Washington, D.C.’s Metro tunnels with the technology to allow different cell companies to communicate with each other. That means that commuters can still use their phones while they are in the tunnels. 12 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses SUCCESS Story
  15. 15. Intelect also has created video surveillance and security systems for the Baltimore Police Department, Port of Bal- timore and Detroit Department of Transportation, among others. The company is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). Having the capacity to work as both a prime and subcontractor has translated into a lot of job opportuni- ties over the years, Patel said. Three years ago, for example, Intelect bid on four major projects, including the project for the MARC system and the tunnel work on cell phone com- patibility. To Patel’s surprise, the company won all four jobs. Intelect grew from a staff of 35 to 200 to accommodate the work load. Then crisis hit — one of the companies that contracted them couldn’t pay for the work. “Who would have thunk it? They went into bankruptcy, and there we were, without payment,” Patel said. Faced with this financial loss, he began the process of downsizing. “They say hire slow and fire fast, but I’m not wired that way,” he admitted. Intelect is back to the size it originally was, a painful adjustment that Patel said was aided by transparency and communication with employees. Now the company is performing better than ever and expanding its services in new fields, such as solar panel instal- lation for commercial and government businesses. “There’s money to be made, no doubt,” Patel said. “But there are lessons to learn.” For business owners who want to work in the government space, Patel cautions that that projects can take time. “Patience is important,” Patel said. “If it’s a product or a commodity you are producing, you probably could get start- ed right away. But the typical project takes 18 months from the time you’ve first heard about it until it’s advertised.” For that reason – don’t go after one thing, Patel said. “You have to be working really hard all the time to find opportuni- ties.” Pay attention to the small details, he advised. Applying for payment usually involves more than merely submitting an invoice. Each sub-agency has its own rules and different agencies may apply rules differently. A three-day job may take three days, he said. But a contractor may complete the first day of work and then have to wait 30 days to complete the second and third days. As in any industry, networking to get to know potential clients and customers is key. People – whether they work for the government of have their own firms – want to know with whom they are doing business. “It’s just part of human nature,” Patel said. 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 13 SUCCESS Story
  16. 16. BY: ANITA BRIGHTMAN, APR, FELLOW PRSA One of the most difficult decisions for any business remains — to bid or not to bid? To make an informed decision whether to pursue a project opportunity, you need a strategic process, starting with research, to learn more about the project as it relates to your capabilities. Start by asking yourself these questions: 1. Did you know about the requirement before it was posted? 2. Is it a new requirement or a contract renewal? 3. Is the contracting or program office aware of your firm and your capabilities? 4. If it’s a contract renewal, how likely is the customer to change vendors? 5. Is the anticipated budget enough to cover your ex- penses? What additional overhead or direct costs are required? 6. Do you need a subcontractor to meet any require- ments, such as special certification? Do you have a network of subcontractors who will help you get the proposal together on time? 7. How does your past performance meet the require- ments of the scope of work? The availability and commitment of internal resources to submit a strong proposal should also weigh into your decision. Ask yourself questions, such as: 8. Can you write a comprehensive proposal reflective of the requirements and evaluation factors within the given timeline? 9. Can you fulfill the insurance/forms requirements? 10. Who do you know who might have more information on the opportunity? 11. Will the proposal response requirements take away personnel or resources needed for client projects? Attending the pre-proposal conference, tak- ing the time to submit thoughtful questions and reviewing the answers carefully will provide more insight into your ability to fulfill requirements and craft a proposal worthy of winning the award. If your capabilities and experience still don’t measure up to the requirements for a solid bid, your re- sources may be better spent pursuing another more suitable opportunity. If you submit a bid but don’t win the work, ask for a proposal debrief. Insert the lessons learned into your next proposal effort, then start the process all over again. The author, Anita Brightman, is the founder of a. Bright Idea, a full-service advertising and public relations agency headquartered in Bel Air. To Bid or Not to Bid…. 14 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  17. 17. That is the Question 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 15
  18. 18. 16 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses SUCCESS Story
  19. 19. BY MARGIE HYSLOP In just a few years, DC Sweet Potato Cake has gone from a local favorite, avail- able in suburban Maryland restaurants and on catering menus, to a national product found at Starbucks, Wegmans, Safeway, Nordstrom and on QVC. This success started with a family recipe for sweet potato cake and cupcakes from founder Derek Lowery, who struggled with the business until he partnered with attorney and entrepreneur, April N. Richardson, to expand the bakery. The pair then partnered with the state to see their plans made reality. “Leadership in Maryland has been open, welcoming and resourceful,” Rich- ardson said. The Maryland Manufacturing Exten- sion Partnership is helping the business de- sign a 26,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for Delectable Cakery, the name of their commercial bakery, which will be constructed in Prince George’s County. Co-located with Delectable Cakery’s plant will be a commercial kitchen incuba- tor, run by Richardson’s new venture Food Opportunity LLC, which will provide workspace for culinary entrepreneurs to scale up their food businesses. Many companies and individuals have shown interest in the incubator, said Mike Kelleher, chief financial officer of the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). “We really see it as filling a need to help small entrepreneurs take their product from the home kitchen to the commercial stage,” Kelleher said. “We think it is an exciting opportunity.” MEP is a non-profit corporation funded, in part, by the U.S. and Maryland departments of commerce, to promote and increase manufacturing in the state. Its work with Delectable Cakery will include identifying supply, logistics and workforce partners to help them thrive in the state, Kelleher said. On a local level, support for the cake producers has been strong as well. “Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation has been our largest and loudest partner,” Richardson said. The county’s economic development agency has acted like a supplemental mar- keting arm and was instrumental in getting Safeway to sell the tasty treat, she said. With business going so well, Lowery has even added new cupcakes and flavors – Dutch chocolate and red velvet. They will make their Starbucks debut in the fall and be sold alongside the original sweet potato cake at DC Sweet Potato Cake and Café, which will open in the fall on Rhode Island Avenue, in the Hyattsville arts and entertainment district. “We really see it as filling a need to help small entrepreneurs take their product from the home kitchen to the commercial stage.” —— Mike Kelleher, chief financial officer of the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Garrett, Allegany & Washington Counties Andrew Sargent andrew.sargent@maryland.gov 443-447-4999 Frederick & Carroll Counties Tamar Osterman tamar.osterman@maryland.gov 443-902-4487 Baltimore City Kate Dailey kate.dailey@maryland.gov 410-767-0511 Baltimore & Howard Counties Tim Murphy tim.murphy@maryland.gov 410-767-0512 Harford, Cecil & Kent Counties Tammy Edwards tammy.edwards@maryland.gov 410-767-0110 Anne Arundel County Lori Ratzburg lori.ratzburg@maryland.gov 410-767-6374 Prince George’s County Faye Niaka faye.niaka@maryland.gov 410-767-6791 Montgomery County Heather Gramm, Director, Regional Growth & Retention heather.gramm@maryland.gov 443-750-1578 Calvert, Charles & St. Mary’s Counties Steve Wall steve.wall@maryland.gov 301-274-9138 Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Caroline & Dorchester Counties Debbie Bowden deborah.bowden@maryland.gov 443-826-7241 Wicomico, Worcester & Somerset Counties Mindie Burgoyne mindie.burgoyne@maryland.gov 410-718-0094 Contact a Maryland Commerce Business Development Representative in YOUR AREA: 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 17 SUCCESS Story
  20. 20. Doing business in Maryland has never been more straightforward, especially for today’s small business owners. “Governor Larry Hogan has declared that Maryland is OPEN for businesses,” said Jimmy Rhee, special secretary for the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs. “This is creating a synergy across the state that is being felt in both the public and private sectors.” It’s easier to be successful when you understand the overall environment. Rhee and his team host and attend outreach events all year long, hoping to reach the more than 560,000 small businesses which impact the state’s $346.9 billion dollar economy. With eighty percent of the activity taking place in the public sector and the remaining 20 percent coming from state, federal and local governments, there are ample opportunities. The entrepreneurs working hard to win in today’s highly-competitive arena are experts in their given field, but not necessarily experienced in all aspects of running a business. Rhee has defined three key areas – what he calls three pillars to success – which every small business owner must develop to be profitable. The three pillars Core competency: You must be exceptionally good at what you do and have an “x” factor that uniquely defines your company. You must be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Access to capital: Money is the life blood of a small business, but access to funding is a common struggle. Small business owners must know how to obtain capital in order to drive the future of their company. Policy insight: Every industry sector has rules that impact how business is done. It is critical to know the rules, particularly for businesses that want to perform in both the public and private sectors. For businesses interested in doing business with the state, Maryland has two procurement programs that target small businesses, including those owned by women and minorities. The Small Business Reserve (SBR) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) programs offer opportunities to connect to state procurement as prime contractors and subcontractors. The Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs provides policy and compliance oversight to both programs and encourages participation through a robust outreach program. “Maryland has a long history of inclusion and we are very proud of our SBR and MBE programs,” Rhee added. “Our small business owners have a strong will and are not afraid to take risks. According to Rhee, their spirit and determination are two more reasons why Maryland is a great place to do business. to success for Maryland’s small businesses Three pillars, one ladder To learn more about the Small Business Reserve and Minority Business Enterprise programs 18 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  21. 21. CORPORATE COMPETENCY ACCESS TO CAPITAL POLICY INSIGHT SBR MBE VENDORSPUBLIC SECTOR PRIVATE SECTOR Maryland OPEN for Business 560,000+ Small Businesses visit goma.maryland.gov. 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 19
  22. 22. ADVICE FROM LENDERS: Get to know your banker FEATURE 20 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  23. 23. BY MEG TULLY A few years ago, an entrepreneur approached the credit union SECU about opening an early childhood education cen- ter in Maryland. The center did well, and a few years later, the business opened in a second location. Now SECU is helping the owner open in a third location. The bank has been able to help that business grow because of the way the rela- tionship has gone – with the owner check- ing in, sharing a business plan and making sure the bankers knew about each location’s success, said Steve Hazan, SECU’s director of business lending. “As a business owner you need allies and the banker is in a great position to be that ally. But, in order to do that, they need to know you and understand you,” Hazan said. “If they don’t know who you are, it’s a name and a number.” Any business owner starting a relation- ship with a bank should consider inviting the bankers to their place of business to learn more, Hazan said. “Invite us out, show us your baby,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun because everybody has their own story of how they got into business.” They should also use a good accounting system like QuickBooks or other software so that their financial information is clear and organized. Banking customers with English as a second language also should ask if there is anyone at the bank who speaks their first language. “No one is going to be offended if you come in and ask for that,” he said. When he was working at the branch level, he used to refer clients to a banker at a different branch who was from Korea and fluent in the language. Connecting clients to that banker greatly improved communication, he said, noting that opening a business checking account can start a banking relationship. In fact, many banks have started recruiting bilingual staff, because they realize there is untapped client potential in Hispanic and Asian immigrant business leaders. Another tip for business owners is to interview banks, said Gail Houser, senior vice president and commercial lender at Bay Bank. She suggested looking for a bank that regularly finances the industry segment that the business is in and whose staff are experts in addressing those needs. For instance, some banks are more comfortable offering longer terms for financing to government contractors, who may have a different cash flow cycle than traditional businesses. Or, in the case of Bay Bank, they offer financing for contractors or manufacturers to fund large purchases of vehicles or equipment for better rates than through a leasing company or equipment supplier, she said. Small business owners are typically very busy, George H. Harrop, managing director of small business lending at CapitalSource, a division of Pacific Western Bank, said. But making time for a banking relationship will pay off. “In this modern day of everybody being online and everybody no longer being face- to- face, I think it’s still important to go and get to know your local banker,” Harrop said. “As a business owner you need allies and the banker is in a great position to be that ally.” —— Steve Hazan, SECU’s director of business lending. Three quick tips from the experts: FROM HAZAN: Ask your banker, accountant and attorney what other similar businesses are doing. For in- stance, he’s noticed more businesses are using a purchasing card, or commercial credit card, for day-to-day expenses and then paying it off in full every month. This allows businesses to establish cred- it, manage cash flow, earn rewards and shift the risk of fraud from the main account to the card issuer. “If you’re an auto mechanic work- ing on cars all day, you might not see what the guy down the street is doing,” Hazan said. “Having that advisory team is key.” FROM HOUSER: Ask potential banks what they can do to meet the inventory or accounts receivable needs of that business. Also, ask if the banks use attorney-prepared docu- ments or “shelf ” template documents to originate loans. Shelf documents could lead to a substantial decrease in fees compared to attorney-prepared documents. FROM HARROP: Seek a line of credit before you need one. Getting a small line of credit or credit card will establish a relationship that can always be expanded if you see an opportunity for bargain inventory or equipment, or if something is damaged or broken and needs to be replaced or repaired. “The fire’s not urgent until someone says, ‘Hey, that piece of equipment is starting to break down,’ ” Harrop said. “(Business owners) are better off thinking about it six months before- hand, so when they really need it, they’re ready to go.” 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 21 FEATURE
  24. 24. BY IVAN V. LANIER AND JEANETTE ORTIZ, ESQ. Do you know ALL your elected offi- cials? Many Marylanders cannot answer this. There is the old saying “all politics is local;” but many voters spend so much time focused on national elections, that they miss what is happening in their own backyards. Numerous decisions which affect you and your business are being made on a regular basis on both the state and local levels of government. That means there are copious opportunities to help your business thrive – but you must get involved! Getting involved can seem like a daunting task. Where does one begin? For starters, get to know your elected officials. These are your representatives and they have been elected to represent you. Every January, legislators from all over Maryland descend upon Annapolis for the Maryland General Assembly’s LANIER ORTIZ Numerous decisions which affect you and your business are being made on a regular basis on both the state and local levels of government. That means there are copious opportunities to help your business thrive – but you must get involved! 22 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  25. 25. 90-day Legislative Session. This past Session, over 3,000 bills and a litany of budget items were considered. There were many great ideas considered (some bad ideas, too), yet it is simply impossible to pass every bill and fund every program. Being your own advocate and having a constant presence before elected officials is essential to pushing through legislative and budgetary priorities. Involvement can happen at grassroots level or by hiring a lobbying firm to represent your interests. Grassroots lobbying can be as simple as contacting your elected officials to ex- press support or opposition to a proposal or it can be more complex such as forming a coalition of like-minded small business owners to lobby your priorities. Here are a few tips for how you can ensure your business inter- ests are being represented through grassroots advocacy: 1. Identify your elected officials – www.mdelect.net 2. Contact and meet with your elected officials – get to know their issues and share your ideas 3. Utilize your local government website to obtain information on public hearings, legislation, budgetary items and small business programs 4. Sign up to receive newsletters and e-mails 5. Attend and participate in public hearings 6. Utilize the Maryland General Assembly website to obtain key legislative information - identify briefing and hearing dates, track legislation, and access a myriad of legislative and budgetary documents – www.mlis.state.md.us 7. Contact your local economic development office 8. Get involved in your local chamber of commerce The authors, Ivan V. Lanier and Jeanette Ortiz, Esq., operate a bipartisan boutique government relations firm in Annapolis. It is the policy of Howard County Government to encourage increased participation by Minority, Women and Disabled Business Enterprises in the procurement of all goods and services through all solicitations by the County. Howard County, Maryland, Office of Purchasing, Department of County Administration Equal Business Opportunity Program, Darla H. Herbold, CPPO, Purchasing Administrator Contact us to find out how your business can benefit from the Equal Business Opportunity Program by getting certified as an EBO vendor. Howard County Office of Purchasing , 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Ste. 501 Columbia, MD 21046, 410-313-6370 Phone 410-313-6388 Fax www.howardcountymd.gov/purchasing “Get Howard County EBO Certified!” It’s Free, Quick and Easy! 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 23
  26. 26. BY JESSICA GREGG THE DAILY RECORD After nearly two decades in the construction business, Stella Miller decided at the age of 50 to start her own firm. That was 1995. Miller had two employees, and together, they brought in $250,000 worth of busi- ness. Twenty-one years later, Stella May Contracting has more than 75 employees from project managers to office managers and will bring in more than $20 million in revenue. The Edgewood-based business specializes building and general construction, underground utility construction, excavation, concrete work and more, and includes among clients, NASA, Fort Me- ade, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Baltimore Washington Interna- tional Airport and Maryland Port Authority. “We specialize in the more diffi- cult parts of the work,” Miller said, and that includes duct bank con- struction, or the bundling of data and electric cables in underground banks to consolidate and protect them. Currently Stella May is work- ing with BGE on several projects like this throughout Baltimore. Shortly after hanging her own shingle, Miller became certified through the Maryland Business En- terprise (MBE) and then later as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in the construction industry. “That’s what made the differ- ence,” Miller said. “The program worked for me the way that it was designed to work.” The certification helped her find out about projects her company could bid on until eventually her company became known around the state. Now, word-of-mouth referrals often result in signed contracts. When her business was new, Miller received a loan through the Maryland Small Business Financial Authority, which proved critical to expanding and taking on new work. Because she had so much experi- ence in the construction industry, Miller said she knew where to look for resources. Today’s new business owners should visit the state’s web site and attend informational meet- ings about programs for which they may qualify. “Nobody’s successful by them- selves,” Miller said. Throughout her career what Miller has enjoyed the most about the construction industry is the people. “Most people look on con- struction workers as a rough, tough bunch,” Miller said. “But that’s not generally how it is.” There is also the stereotype, and sometimes the reality, of fraudulent contractors to fight against. Being certified with the state to build a diverse portfolio of work countered that, Miller said. As a minority business, she was sought after and those work opportunities gave her the chance to prove herself. Additionally, it made her com- pany attractive to prospective hires — and making the right hires has been critical, Miller said. The two men with whom she started Stella May still work with the company, one is the general manager and the other the general superintendent. “Nobody’s successful by themselves.” —— Stella Miller, owner of Stella May Contracting Stella May constructs business, strong reputation 24 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses SUCCESS Story
  27. 27. In 2006, the U.S. Small Business Admin- istration named Stella May Contracting the Maryland Small Busi- ness Firm of the Year, and Miller the Mary- land Minority Small Business Person of the Year. Because of this and her involvement with the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, Miller has begun mentoring other small business owners – many of whom are women. She also has opened an office in Beltsville because of the number of construction projects in Prince George’s County and other Washington suburbs. In addition, she is working on a transition plan as she considers retirement. Over the years, there were moments when she didn’t think her business would make it, Miller admitted, and believes getting certified as a mi- nority business owner, as a woman in a man’s field, opened doors that otherwise would have been closed. “It’s been tough at times,” Miller said. “But all in all, a good experience.” 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 25 SUCCESS Story
  28. 28. BY GINA GALLUCCI-WHITE Two years after they founded Digitized Logos, a full-service promotional products company, Yazdani ‘Dani’ Syed and his wife, Malia, moved to Gaithersburg to be closer to her family. Initially they marketed their products to corporate America. But in Gaithers- burg, they were so close to government offices that they decided to dive into the government sector. In the 15-plus years since then, they have expanded into this niche and have been successful in doing so. The journey has included lots of edu- cation since doing business in the public sector is different from the private sector. Most importantly, small businesses need to understand that state agencies follow a rule book known as COMAR (Code of Mary- land Regulation). It defines the over-arch- ing procurement processes that are in place for both large and small purchases. While many small business owners know to start by looking for opportunities on eMaryland Marketplace (the State of Maryland’s web-based electronic bid board system) to find contracting opportunities for jobs over $15,000, some don’t realize there are many smaller projects available as well. Known in the state procurement world as small procurements, they are the easiest, most accessible opportunities that can produce ripe, delectable results and are commonly known in the business world as ‘low-hanging fruit.” “It’s the simplest way to make yourself known and establish relationships with regard to state contracting,” said Janice Montague, director of Minority Business Enterprise Compliance with the Gover- nor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA). “The best place to start is to try and figure out who buys what you sell. You want to zero in as quickly as possible on the pro- curing units that are out on the market to buy whatever it is that you are selling.” Most small procurements do not have FEATURE 26 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  29. 29. to be posted on eMary- land Marketplace and many times the buyers are soliciting small businesses directly when these needs arise. Montague recom- mends watching the web- sites of the agencies that look like good customers and building relationships with the buyers them- selves. The state has more than 70 procuring units staffed with thousands of buyers that make pur- chases every day, “a small business owner has to dig in and do the research and do the work to go find their customer in the (units),” Montague said. Because officials know that not all ven- dors are looking for large multi-million dollar contracts, GOMA conducts outreach events regularly to connect small businesses with state buyers. “We go into the agencies and say ‘Bring the people to this event that are buying the things your agency buys under the $15,000 threshold’ and ‘Come to these events and explain how small businesses can do business with your agency in an informal way',” Mon- tague said. The core of Syed’s business plan is building relationships, more than selling products, and he believes that’s why he is closing in on nearly two decades of business success. “I want to make sure that if somebody calls in and says ‘Look, Dani, I am looking for (a product) and I need it in 10 days,’ I want to make sure we deliver it in eight days not the ninth day,” he said. “I want to make sure the colors are right. If there is something that happens that is wrong, we don’t ask questions. We say ‘How do we fix that?’ and ‘How quickly do you need that?’ What is important to me as an owner of a company is to make sure my clients are satisfied. Once they are satisfied, they are going to pass my name on to their colleagues.” He credits Towson University’s MBE liaison Barbara Hufnagel with answering his questions and teaching him how the small procurement process works. He is now doing business with the university on a regular basis. Syed also regularly attends outreach and networking events. “When you go to events, you are not just meeting people that are coming as an exhibitor. But you are also meeting other people that can utilize your services,” he said. Small businesses that want to learn more about state procurement can learn a lot on GOMA’s website at www.goma. maryland.gov. There’s a link to COMAR regulations as well as a list of all the agency buyers and liaisons. You’ll also find forecasting reports for what the agencies think they will buy over $100,000 each fiscal year if you’re interested in going after bigger contracting opportunities. If there is one thing Montague would love for small businesses to know about the state contracting process, it’s the old saying “Slow and steady wins the race.” “Many times, in my dealings with small businesses, they think because the purchas- es are smaller, less complicated, that they should come to them a lot easier. This is a business of relationships and we do our best to make those relationships form, to come together, but they have to be patient and persistent in the process,” she said. “Over my 16 years in state government, I have seen some very small, unknown busi- nesses practice patience and persistence, and they are now some of the largest contractors and most successful contrac- tors that the state has, so I know that (the policy of patience and persistence) works.” 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 27 FEATURE
  30. 30. BY GINA GALLUCCI-WHITE As the founder and president of Applied Technol- ogy Services Inc., Danielle Burnett often gets invited to speak at entrepreneurship events. She particularly enjoys going back to her alma mater, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where she also serves as a member of the alumni association board of directors. “One of the things that I like to tell (students inter- ested in running or owning their own business) is it’s not always about ‘the big new idea,’ ” Burnett said. “You can build a sustainable small business based off of actual needs of customers.” Burnett opened ATS in 2001, the year she earned her bachelor’s degree in information systems. The com- pany, an IT value-added reseller and services provider, offers technology solutions and services “everything from large storage and servers in the data center to the computers sitting on someone’s desk,” she said. Recruited for a job as an IT analyst for JP Morgan right out of school, Burnett realized the field could lead to potential consulting work in the future and decided to set up her business to keep her options open. As a student intern, Burnett discovered the State of Maryland’s Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program. Started in 2004, SBR is a race- and gender-neutral program that gives small businesses the opportunity to serve as prime contractors on state contracts and pro- curements. Firms in the program compete against one another instead of larger, more established companies. They learn to navigate the procurement system and de- velop a record of past performance that can be valuable on larger scopes of work. Burnett’s clients include Maryland State Police, Baltimore City Public School System, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. One of the contracts the company won as a part of the SBR program (and continues to hold) is with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. “That has been a really key contract that we use in references with our partners,” Burnett said. “It really allowed us to build our experience and capabilities, build the references so that we could then go after a lot of the larger projects and contracts.” With 12 employees, the company helps clients to achieve their goals by building project management into all of their projects and contracts. “By doing that, we make sure that we are doing proper require- ments analysis up front (so) that we are building the procedures and processes that are going to help us be successful in order to help our customers to be successful,” she said. Burnett thrives off of the ever-evolving technology indus- try. “The fact that technology is always changing means that my role is always changing, our company is always changing and it keeps things interesting,” she said. “We are always bringing vendors in and learning about new products and ... new ways we can be helping our customers and it keeps everything fresh.” Small businesses that meet the program’s size require- ments can register as a vendor online through eMaryland Marketplace. There is no cost to participate and firms can stay in the program as long as they meet the small business size standards. Oversight for the SBR Program rests with the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs. To learn more about the SBR Program, visit www.goma. maryland.gov. White Marsh IT firm syncs with customer needs 28 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses SUCCESS Story
  31. 31. 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 29 SUCCESS StorySUCCESS Story
  32. 32. BY MEG TULLY B anker George H. Harrop has learned one thing about business plans in his years in the commer- cial lending industry: Writing a plan always pays off for small business owners. Harrop, managing director of small business lending at CapitalSource, a division of Pacific Western Bank, said fewer people than you might think actually write one. “Writing a business plan is a critical first step in moving a business from dream to execution,” he said. “By writing a business plan, one of three outcomes will occur, and regardless of which outcome, you will save time, money and heartache by writing a plan.” The first potential outcome is that the business plan will PUT IT ON PAPER:Why writing a business plan still makes sense FEATURE 30 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses
  33. 33. reveal the idea for a product or service will work and the plan save time and money in getting the business launched. In the second scenario, the business plan will show the idea is not a viable business and writing the plan will save the time and money of a failed business. The third outcome is the entrepre- neur never write it at all, which shows the commitment isn’t there for success, he said. Harrop has unofficially mentored entrepreneurs throughout his career and has seen many people thinking about a retail location or opening a health club, for example. Once they see on paper the costs of rent, insurance, payroll prepara- tion, utilities and water, they realize that it isn’t a viable plan. Those details are key to making decisions about the future of a business launch or expansion, he said. “Once they get those details down in one place, they realize that their notion of what it actually costs was different than what the costs actually were,” Harrop said. And that led the entrepreneurs he knew to reimagine the business model and still move forward. As a banker, Harrop sees a lot of business plans designed with software that are beautiful, but miss the key point. “A business plan doesn’t need to be a fancy-bound document that has all kinds of charts and color,” he said. “What is the core business, who is it going to serve, what are the costs? How is it going to make money?” If the owner is to raise money by get- ting support from investors and banks, Harrop said the business plan needs to read like a proof: What happens from the idea to the execution of the idea, and how will it succeed? Once a business is launched, plans are key for both seeking new funding and making business operations deci- sions, he said. That might mean updating weekly at first, then every quarter or six months. “Writing a business plan is a critical first step in moving a business from dream to execution.” —— George H. Harrop, managing director of small business lending at CapitalSource 326 St. Paul Place #200, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202 410.545.0641Phone 410.545.0643 Fax 14811 Southlawn Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20850 301.294.7561 Phone 301.294.8755 Fax www.mluisconstruction.com BUILDING ROADS FOR THE NEXT GENERATIONAsphalt Manufacturing | Asphalt Paving | Concrete Paving | Milling and Grinding | New Site Development | Roadway Reconstruction |Paving Fabric Installation | Snow Removal M. Luis Construction Co., Inc. M. Luis Products, LLC. 101 Dover Road, NE, Glen Burnie, Maryland, 21060 410.766.3226 Phone 410.760.8334 Fax M. Luis Products, LLC. Certified MBE/WBE 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 31 FEATURE
  34. 34. 32 | EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES | 2016 Resource Guide for Small, Minority, and Women Businesses BY ALISON TAVIK M ost small business owners don’t have any formal training in marketing, so the idea of creating a marketing plan can be very intimidating. The Internet is a great resource for learning more about the elements of a good marketing plan, so go online and do some research on the basic principles around the art of marketing. While you’re learning, get started with this simple marketing plan for building new customer relationships. My 3-3-7-2 marketing plan has four elements: time, variety, interaction and persistence. Over a three month period of time, using three different delivery channels, create seven customer interactions. Repeat twice. Time We all know it takes time to build new relationships, so placing a timing element in your marketing plan makes sense. Variety The delivery channel is how you make contact with your potential customers. No one thing works all the time and we get bored by too much repetition. Using a variety of delivery channels will help keep your potential customer interested. Get started using these common delivery channels: face-to-face meetings, phone calls, emails, letters, direct mailings and social media. Interaction This is the meat of it all. Potential customers form perceptions based on cumulative interactions and every interaction with you becomes part of that perception. The good news here is that you actually have some control on how the perception is being built – if you plan those interactions thoughtfully. When you put yourself in front of potential customers, do more listening than talking. Your goal is to find out what they need. Follow-up and initiate the sales process based on the solutions your company can provide. Perseverance This is a nine-month plan. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t, then adapt accordingly each time you begin a new three-month cycle. Good business is built on relationships and this plan gives you the time to get to know your customer. You can map it out in your head, but I strongly recommend that you write it down. There is something about putting a plan on paper that makes it more concrete and increases the chance you’ll follow it. Create a plan for each new customer you are targeting. Of course you’ve still got a business to run, so limit yourself to something manageable (5-10 depending on your resources). Since you can’t do this for every potential customer in your universe, choose wisely instead of randomly. You want to place your efforts where they are most likely to bring a return. We all like to do business with people we know and trust. It takes time to build a relationship with a new customer, so don’t expect it to happen overnight. You’ll have to work hard and invest serious time to become known and trusted, but when it does happen, you’ll have everything you need to compete successfully and win new business. THE 3-3-7-2 MARKETING PLAN Tailoring Your Marketing Plan The foundation of the 3-3-7-2 marketing plan exists within the four primary elements of time, variety, interactions and persistence. The way you apply those elements is totally up to you. When developing your own marketing plan, customize it. If you already have projects in place, but need to develop customer relationships for the future, consider a 6-3-12-3 plan. If you are just getting your business started, try something more robust like 3-4-9-5. Getting in front of potential customers is hard, so think strategically. You know how to reach them at the office, but where else will you find them? Are they exhibiting at a procurement event, attending pre-bid meetings? Professional associations, business organizations and civic groups are also great places to interact with potential customers. Follow them on Twitter or join a mutual group on LinkedIn. Keep an eye on the company’s Facebook page and look for blogs authored by people you would like to do business with. Social media platforms are intended to be interactive, so engage in the conversation. Make sure your marketing and advertising materials (website, capability statement, brochure, advertisements) are up-to-date and that they properly reflect your brand. Use these tools to learn more about your customers and expect that they are looking for the same tools to learn more about you.
  35. 35. El Andariego has the recipe for energy savings. The BGE Smart Energy Savers Program® is helping business owners and managers in and around Baltimore save energy and money. Jaime Vasquez, owner of El Andariego Restaurant in Ashton, discovered the recipe for lower energy costs. Installing high-efficiency lighting fixtures throughout his 3,000-square- foot restaurant reduced lighting-related energy use by 70%. And financial incentives cut the total project cost to less than $300, so he recovered his investment in less than 3 months! Find out how your business can save up to 80% on energy upgrades. Let’s talk! Visit BGESmartEnergy.com or call 410.290.1202. Jaime Vasquez, Owner El Andariego Restaurant This program supports EmPOWER Maryland. BGE IC 2016 DailyRec MinBus print ad_El Andariego_7.88x4.88_v3.indd 1 9/15/16 11:51 AM
  36. 36. WhoReads the Record? She’s Successful. She’s Influential. She’s Informed. And, She Reads... “The Daily Record provides me with a much needed perspective critical to accomplishing Associated Black Charities’ goal of closing the economic divides in the city of Baltimore. For your own edition or digital access, visit https://subscribe.thedailyrecord.com/H5ZWRTR. ” Diane Bell-McKoy CEO, Associated Black Charities
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