Small Business, Government Contracting & Customer Service

Quick Tips for Small Biz: An #Infographic

ARMA Inc. - Friday, September 12, 2014

We love infographics here at ARMA.  This infographic with quick tips for small business is quite generalist in nature but still hits the mark quite well.  Which one is hardest for you to remember?  #7 is especially important to remember on a Friday afternoon!

Quoted on Customer Service: Brett Snyder

ARMA Inc. - Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ben Snyder of Cranky Concierge has an interesting post at the Intuit blog.  What happens when you're not the best fit for a customer but they think otherwise?

This was a fairly easy solution, and in the end, it was better for both of us. But what about those clients who might not feel the same way? On rare occasions, we’ve run into clients who we didn’t think we could help — but the clients felt otherwise. We’ve politely turned people away only to have them effectively refuse! Sometimes we’ve caved, and tried to help even though we knew it wouldn’t end well. Other times, we’ve pushed back harder, depending upon the situation.

How do you decide when to turn customers away? And how do you let them know?

Strategic Sourcing towards Small and Disadvantaged Businesses

ARMA Inc. - Tuesday, September 09, 2014

News regarding an upcoming shift in strategic sourcing from the Defense Health Agency:

Col. Scott Svabek, DHA’s acting procurement director, told industry at an IT Day event in Northern Virginia that the new contract will focus on subcontract awards to smaller and disadvantaged companies, according to the station.

DHA intends to select vendors for the new vehicle by first proposing prices and other terms to companies and then launching a competitive source selection later, the report says.

Svabek said DHA will bypass the second stage if the agency picks enough number of firms during the first round to initiate the task order phase, Serbu reports.

 Potentially an interesting model if further government agencies shift to this practice.

Making Conferences and Networking Easier

ARMA Inc. - Thursday, September 04, 2014

Conferences and  networking can be difficult for many small business owners.

One technique that can help is a building "relationship plan." John Concoron talks about it over at the Duct Tape Marketing blog.  Here are his steps:

  1. ​Put Together Your Conversations List
  2. Ditch the “Me First” Attitude and Make Some Friends
  3. Follow Up Over Time
  4. Deepen Relationships
  5. Increase ROI from your Relationships

Click through to the full article to read more.

In actual conversations, as with speeches, put your best line first.  Don't bury the lede.  You're telling someone about your business, not telling a joke.

When in doubt, be polite.  Ask whoever you're networking with about themselves.  This will give you time and information.

But above all,  as we've said before, don't forget that you have something to offer them as well.

Labor Day, An #Infographic

ARMA Inc. - Friday, August 29, 2014
ARMA on Small Business

As we prepare to enjoy our long weekend, some interesting numbers regarding Labor Day.

Labor Day By The Numbers

Renuka Hermon on Employee Engagement

ARMA Inc. - Wednesday, August 27, 2014
ARMA on Small Business

A great post at Intuit by Renuka Hermon talks about making sure your employees are your biggest assets. In addition to the advice below, learn more about utilizing newsletters and intranets for increasing productivity at the full article.

A Price to Customer Service?

ARMA Inc. - Friday, August 22, 2014
ARMA on Customer Service

At the NYT Who's the Boss? Small Business blog, Jay Goltz of Chicago shares an anecdote about success and staffing that ends with this gem:

There is a price for giving great customer service – just as there is a price for not giving it. No matter what business you are in, it is a balancing act. Ultimately, you have to decide what is more important – staying lean or having a backup bench. Because sales fluctuate and people get sick or quit, it is not possible to calculate the precise number of people you will need over any given time.

It is time to hire, and that is good news.

Doing right by both your customers and your employees is a balancing act. Head over to the NYT to read the full article.

Small Business Owners and Vacation

ARMA Inc. - Wednesday, August 20, 2014
ARMA on Small Business

While small business ownership can come with some flexibility, it often comes without some of the benefits that employed workers take for granted, like vacation. This infographic breaks down some of the vacation realities.

Lessons About Self-Promotion

ARMA Inc. - Friday, August 15, 2014
ARMA on Small Business

Part of being the founder or president of a small business means that you need to be comfortable with promoting yourself, but that isn't a skill that comes naturally to everyone.  Melanie Pinola at Lifehacker has written a bit about five lessons that she's learned about the difficult art.

Our favorite is this lesson:

Self-promotion isn't just accepted on social media and in networking situations, it's expected. Not only is it par for the course, some people even un-follow inactive accounts that never get status updates (they're following you for a reason, after all). The moment I realized some of my favorite online personalities consistently and regularly share what they've done—share, not sell or brag—was the moment I gave myself the okay to do so more often. It's not always as icky as it feels.

Being SMART about Goals

ARMA Inc. - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A small reminder that goals should not be pie-in-the-sky frustrations, but rather something concrete and within reach.

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