Plan to expand before you absolutely have to
No one launches a business intending to fail, yet many do … and not always for lack of money. More often, businesses fail because short-sighted owners haven’t planned ahead. So, as you count down to opening day, start checking off these must-do's on a monthly basis:
- Revisit your business plan
What new goals/ideas come to mind? Are you meeting your expectations? Updating support documents as needed? If not, how will you get back on track?
- Fine-tune your operations
Is your business running efficiently? Do you have the necessary tools/space to meet current and future needs? What additional measures might you take?
- Rate your team
Do you have the right people in place and written job descriptions for all positions? Do you offer training and is it effective? How will you attract and hire new personnel?
Florida ranks among the top 10 U.S. states for government contract procurement. This could be a good way to grow your business if you have the necessary infrastructure and understand how the procurement process works. Flashy brochures don’t cut it; you must prove that your business can deliver what the client needs when it’s needed and for the right price.
Selling in the US
Requires that you:
- Develop a corporate capability statement and secure preferred small business certifications.
- Monitor computerized Bid Matching Services (daily searches/email alerts) to identify opportunities.
- Understand what, when and how much government agencies buy.
- Target government agencies and prime contractors that buy what you offer.
- Complete the required/mandatory government database registrations.
- Develop a government-accepted accounting system; handle contract audits, reports, modifications.
- Ask for help from procurement specialists at the Florida SBDC Network.
Selling in Florida
MyFloridaMarketPlace, a division of the Florida Department of Management Services, has some 15,000 registered buyers who issue, on average, 5,000 purchase orders each month as:
- Term Contracts
- Informal Purchases — less than $35,000; no requirement for competitive bidding
- Formal Purchases — greater than $35,000; require competitive bidding.
For details, visit dms.myflorida.com/business_operations/state_purchasing.
Florida is home to more than 60,000 exporters — second highest number in the U.S. — and nearly all of them are small- and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
Interested in expanding your business through trade? Follow these steps:
- Evaluate your readiness. Seek export counseling assistance and/or participate in educational seminars, conferences and webinars.
- Become familiar with trade rules and agreements. Seek assistance from Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Export Assistance Center.
- Create your export business plan and strategy. Apply for an Export Marketing Plan through the Florida SBDC Network, Enterprise Florida or U.S. Export Assistance Centers.
- Enter a new trade market and meet your buyers. Attend international trade shows and missions with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service.
- Learn about funding programs for exporters of goods and services. Contact the Florida Export Finance Corporation and EXIM Bank for information.