What you need to know about the National Veterans Small Business Engagement
The Department of Veterans Affairs does a superb job of bringing together government decision makers and small business owners. Therefore, the goal of attendance at the VA’s National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE) is to learn about upcoming contract opportunities and to make as many connections with government contracting officers and decision makers as possible. Here are 10 tips to help you maximize your return on investment at this year’s NVSBE.
- Plan ahead and do your homework. Review the list of attendees and business opportunity sessions before you arrive and target the ones that offer the most opportunity for you. Use the MyBusinessMatches.com tool, LinkedIn, and Google to support your research.
- Complete your profile and VA Business Intelligence Tool (VA BIT) profiles at https://nvsbe.mybusinessmatches.com/ to maximize your exposure to attendees.
- Schedule your meetings online using the scheduling tool before the conference. Then, have a back-up session planned in case a session lead is a no show.
- Focus most of your time and effort on the networking sessions and business opportunity sessions—this is where your greatest ROI will come from.
- Be prepared with a short, but meaningful overview of your value proposition and then make the most networking sessions and chance meetings in hallways.
- When meeting with prospects, don’t overwhelm them with folders full of printed materials that won’t make it back to work with them. Instead, include digital copies with your online profiles and provide a business card with meaningful information on it, such as what you do, certifications, and contact information.
- During lunch sessions, target Decision Makers that have a history of buying what you sell. Ask about upcoming opportunities and leave them with a favorable impression.
- Don’t forget to arrange private meetings with current customers to reinforce your commitment to delivering superior results and build the relationship.
- For every prospect that you meet, ask permission to follow up with them after the conference and then follow through with an email and call to remind them of your product and service offerings and to learn more about upcoming opportunities.
- Forget about trying to connect with Prime/Large contractors. They are available and easily accessed any time of year, so while you’re at the conference focus your time on connecting with government decision makers that you wouldn’t normally have easy access to.
Jack is CEO of Coley & Associates, Inc., Coley GCS, LLC, and founder of FedMap™– the government contractor accelerator. He is a results-driven executive, and successful entrepreneur who has a deep understanding of the super competitive government contracts marketplace. He has used his understanding, along with his more than 25 years of experience, to help small businesses win more than $20 Billion in new contracts. Jack has advised more than 1,000 small and large businesses, spoke at conferences, sat on expert panels, and been quoted in numerous articles. His experience spans a broad range of government agencies and functional areas. He is an Air Force Veteran, received his MBA with Honors from Webster University, and a Bachelor’s with distinction from Wayland Baptist University.