September 24, 2022
Plan to expand before you absolutely have to

Step 11

Plan to expand before you absolutely have to

| 5/9/2022

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?

 

When is it the right time to grow?

Only you can decide, but these signs may help:

  • You are enjoying a steady stream of repeat customers.
  • Your bottom line looks healthy.
  • You have more business than you can handle.

A sudden, short surge in customers may be due to the season or increased demand for a particular “hot” product. An upward trend lasting months, on the other hand, could signal that it’s time to grow your workforce and/or your workspace. Beyond that, there is also government contracting and exporting to consider.

 

Government Contracting

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.

 

Veterans Take Note!

Contrary to popular belief, veteran-owned businesses do not receive preferential treatment with regard to government contracts; they must compete just like any other business, and they land the job because they’ve done their homework, not because of their military service.

A mere 3% of government contracts are set aside specifically for veteran-owned businesses compared to 23% for all small businesses. And the bidding process is a level playing field with one exception: If a veteran-owned business goes up against a non-veteran-owned business for a VA contract and all things are otherwise equal, the vet will likely get the job.

 

 

Exporting

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.

Florida exporters enjoy a multimodal system that ensures seamless movement of people and products between any two points on the planet as well as ready access to the nation’s second largest Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) network.

 

Make it Happen

Whenever you’re ready, connect with:

  • U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in six Florida offices (see list on page 34) help companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets by identifying and evaluating international partners, creating market entry strategies and navigating documentation challenges. For general information on regulations, licensing, free trade agreements and other topics related to exporting, visit export.gov.
  • Florida SBDC Network in partnership with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service — Florida SBDC International trade specialists prepare Export Marketing Plans for qualifying Florida-based manufacturers and service providers. Approximately 100 hours is spent preparing each customized plan, which includes target market recommendations, overseas trade opportunities and an action plan for market entry. Each Export Marketing Plan costs $5,000 to prepare. However, qualifying companies are eligible for a $4,500 scholarship, bringing your company’s cost to $500.

Tags: Florida Small Business, Getting Started

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