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How to do business with the government and free resources for small businesses

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If you are an entrepreneur or small business or startup, your biggest challenge is probably getting more customers, I mean paying customers. Have you thought about the government as a customer? Currently, the government has $119 Billion to spend and are mandated to contract 23% of their business with small businesses, so I’d say it’s worth a second look and I found the perfect place to explore this potential customer. Thanks to Lauren for reaching out and inviting to me to attend the American Express OPEN Government Contracts event on March 4, 2014 and helping spread the word about ways to help Phoenix startups.

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This full day event, held at the Hyatt in downtown Phoenix, was filled with close to 300 small business owners. The rooms were packed with information, tips, resources and helpful people ready, willing and able to assist small business owners with various ways to start government contracting and grow your business. There were also sessions to connect one-on-one with local government buyers. How awesome is that?

The event proved to be a successful day to get familiar with the process and learn how the government works to determine if contracting is right for you. In addition to the one-on-one meeting opportunities, the day helped participants prepare their business for government contracting.

One of the friendly and knowledgeable speakers, Lourdes Martin-Rosa, the American Express OPEN Advisor on Government Contracting, shared her three P’s which are an absolute for any type of customer wins:
Persistence. Perseverance. Patience.

Lourdes also shared the top five service businesses that are currently in-demand:

  1. Professional Administration and Management Consulting
  2. Marketing and Communications
  3. Construction
  4. Janitorial
  5. Legal

In addition, most are male dominated industries, so there is a big push for women to step up and procure some contract opportunities! Knowledge is power. Relationships are powerful.

A lot of businesses have found success in government contracting and the best way to see if contracting is right for you and your business is to start here.

It was really nice to see all of our local resources, government agencies and American Express OPEN committed to helping us grow our business ventures and local communities. Thanks to American Express OPEN to making this wonderful event happen.

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FREE resources available to you locally, in Phoenix, and Nationwide:

AZPTAC – Arizona Procurement Technical Assistance Centers - Procurement assistance

Give Me 5 - Federal contracting training curriculum

SBDC - Maricopa Small Business Development Center - Phoenix small business assistance

SCORE - Provides expert business counseling in-person or online from retired executives

SBA - U.S. Small Business Administration - Provides support to small businesses

FREE events and resources available to you from American Express OPEN:

CEO BootCamp - Helps women business owners reach their full potential as CEOs

ChallengeHER - Events and workshops, online curriculum, and mentoring

Government Contracts - Meet the customer with $119 Billion to spend
Next events will be this summer and fall in Atlanta, GA Washington DC and San Antonio, TX

Small Business Saturday - Shop small in your neighborhood year round

About Small Business Administration:

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides critical support and resources across every state and in every congressional district to help small businesses grow and create jobs, focusing on the "Three C’s" of capital, contracting and counseling. Additionally, SBA plays an increasing role in helping to spur innovation and strengthen the nation's competitiveness through successful investment and research and development focused programs, as well as export and trade assistance. Finally, SBA also serves as one of the leading federal agencies providing assistance to businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters following natural disasters. For more information, visit www.sba.gov.

About Women Impacting Public Policy:

WIPP is a national non-partisan public policy organization, advocating on behalf of nearly 1 million women-owned businesses representing 68 business organizations. For more information, please visit www.wipp.org.

About American Express OPEN®:

American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in the United States and supports business owners with products and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This includes business charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, rewards, savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners and online tools and services designed to help improve profitability. Learn more at www.OPEN.com and connect with them at openforum.com, facebook.com/Open, facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday, twitter.com/OPENForum, twitter.com/shopsmall and linkedin.com/company/american_express_open.

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com.

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