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Small Business, Government Contracting & Customer Service

Great Advice In Wake of Comcast Disaster

ARMA Inc.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

 

After the recent Comcast customer service snafu, Mila D'Antonio at 1 to 1 Media has identified a number of ways to repair similar customer service issues before they turn into national incidents.  Our favorite suggestion is number two:

Telecom and cable companies are notorious for employing specialized teams of agents who are trained specifically to handle cancellation calls like Block's. Rather than hassle customers calling to cancel, a better approach would be to understand the customer's pain points and possibly offer discounted service or better rates. Companies that implement policies intended to force the customer's hand will invariably experience customer dissention. They'll assume you don't want a working relationship and they'll likely search for a better alternative from your competition

Mila D'AntonioMila D'Antonio

Quoted on Mentoring: Chip Bell

ARMA Inc.
Friday, July 18, 2014

 

A great quote on learning to be a good mentor by Chip Bell at the Who's Your Gladys? blog:

The Art of Sifting and Extracting

ARMA Inc.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

 

Small Business Trends collected some great advice from a diverse group of entrepreneurs on how to politely decline unasked for advice.  And amidst those responses, one particularly great one from Seth Talbott

Learning About SBA #Smallbiz Loans

ARMA Inc.
Friday, July 11, 2014

 

The Intuit blog has a great post breaking down the basics of SBA 7(a) small business loans.

How do they judge your eligibility for such a loan?

1) Equity Investment. The more “skin in the game” you have, the better your chances.

2) Earnings. do you have enough cash flow to meet all of your debt obligations? You’ll probably have to provide a report detailing your current and future cash flow.

3) Working Capital. What is left over after you subtract liabilities from assets?

4) Collateral. What do you have of monetary value that the lender can use as collateral if you default on the loan? (This includes personal collateral.)

5) Resource Management. The SBA defines this as how you manage your day-to-day affairs. This may take into account all of the above criteria as the lender makes a judgment of your character.


Finding a Mentor

ARMA Inc.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

 

Black Enterprise has polled ten blogs to ask them the best places that they've found for finding a mentor.  All of the suggestions are worth reading, but this was our favorite for focusing on initiative:

“Many young entrepreneurs think that they have to know their mentors personally. But if you want someone to become your mentor, all you have to do is ask — even if you don’t know them. You never know if you don’t ask. Many seasoned professionals want to help aspiring young entrepreneurs, but most are afraid to ask. You may be surprised, so aim high!”

Louis Lautman
Supreme Outsourcing

What have been your successes when looking for a mentor?

Have a Safe & Happy 4th

ARMA Inc.
Friday, July 04, 2014

Advice on Unsolicited Contract Proposals

ARMA Inc.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014

 

The Small to Feds blog has once again put out some great nuts and bolts advice for federal contracting; bear in mind that the website loads slowly and seems to have some performance issues.  But the guidance provided on unsolicited contract proposals here is quite useful.  

Here's how they break it down:

Success in unsolicited proposals is a process:

  1. An initial unsolicited proposal submission after focused marketing is the gateway
  2. A strong presentation to the customer in person is key.
  3.  Rough order of magnitude (ROM) pricing permits planning by the customer
  4. A funded solicitation is a green light for a firm contract proposal.
  5. A Formal proposal submission under a funded solicitation, committing to negotiable price, schedule and delivery terms wins the contract.

Communication is Key

ARMA Inc.
Friday, June 27, 2014

 

Smashing Magazine's Krzysztof Rakowski has given us a great introduction towards effective office project management as well as email ettiquette.  Some of these concepts might seem intuitive or self-explanatory to those who have been using email and coordinating projects for years, but they serve as a great basis for a new hire or a refresher for folks who have been mired in bad practices for a long time.

For an example, just look at these examples of good and bad email subject lines:

Here are some examples of good subject lines:

  • ACME Corp. | HR Portal | draft of functional documentation, v. 0.1 
  • ACME product page — questions after the meeting with marketing dept. on March 5th 
  • Please, send your report — deadline: March 10th

...Here are some real-life examples of bad subject lines:
  • ACME
  • Question
  • Request
  • New images
  • We’re going for lunch at 1 pm

For more tips, or to bookmark the page for your new hire training, head over to the full article.

Landing Partnerships

ARMA Inc.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

 

Black Enterprise posted a great case study where business Mhelpdesk "landed two partnerships with Fortune 100 companies and one partnership each with a Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 company."  From their experience, they have these main tips on pursuing big corporate sponsors:

  1. Find an Internal Champion
  2. Get a Warm Intro From the Decision-Maker’s Boss
  3. Follow Up Relentlessly

In regards to the last point, we especially liked this thought:  "Relentless follow up, assigning an owner to every part of the deal, and having next steps outlined is something that can make a deal run smoothly and help get you across the finish line."

Click through to read the full story.

Two Reports on Government Contracting

ARMA Inc.
Friday, June 20, 2014

 

Two noteworthy stories relevant to contractors courtesy of a news roundup by Small Biz Trends:

DOL to Seek Comments on Minimum Wage For Government Contracts. The Department of Labor will seek comments on a proposed rule raising minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10. The comment period is expected to extend from June 17 to July 17. The rule change is the result of an executive order signed by President Barrack Obama Feb. 12.

Get Ready for Lower Capital Investment Expensing . The amount the U.S. tax law allows businesses to deduct in a year for investments in new property, equipment and computer software is falling. From 2010 to 2013, businesses could deduct up to $500,000 in investments in a single year instead of depreciating that investment over time. But this year, due to changes in the tax code, that amount could fall to just $25,000 a year.

For more small business news, check out their other news items.

 


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