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April 2009
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June 2009

WHERE ARE THOSE BIG STIMULUS BUCKS?

Everyone is talking about it.  Supposedly, there is $787B in funds available to stimulate the economy by creating jobs and investing in infrastructure projects and growth industries.  The big question is:  How does your business tap into them now before those funds are gone?

Here are few tips shared at the “Where’s The Money? Navigating Opportunities from the Stimulus Package and Other Contracts” conference on May 15, 2009. Preston Gibson, President of the Jefferson Economic Council shared, “We are running this event to help existing companies and new businesses in this economy.  Over 450 businesses from Colorado and beyond are at this session.” Check out www.jeffco.org for more insights from the dozen of speakers and to see their presentations.

Of the total amount of stimulus funds of $787B, the http://www.recovery.gov/ website reports that as of 5/8/09 $102.9B is available for distribution and $36.8B has been paid out.  Some of the funds are allocated to the states.  Go to http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/state-recovery-page and learn more about the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (known as ARRA) in all 50 states.  You can find a link to a website describing how your state is spending funds allocated by the Recovery Act. In Colorado that website is: http://www.colorado.gov/recovery/ where you can see a summary report of what ARRA means to Colorado.

The state of Colorado expects to receive more than $7B in the next three years and to distribute those to:  education, health care, human services, employment and workforce training, business and economic development, transportation, energy efficiency and conservation, environment and natural resources, housing, public safety, and telecommunications.

There are 28 federal agencies listed on www.recovery.gov with recovery plans.  Jim Spaeth, Assistant Manager for Commercialization and Project Management with the U.S. Department of Energy, gave these specific instructions to apply for a grant or a loan guarantee from DOE:

Track funding opportunity announcements through:

- All types and loan guarantees -- energy.gov/recovery/funding.htm

- Grants -- grants.gov

- Contracts -– fbo.gov

For first-time applicants, register before submitting application:

- Register early to be ready when opportunities are announced.  The process can take a minimum of 30 days.  Realize you need DUNS, ccr, orca, and other numbers to register.

- Read registration instructions carefully and comply completely.

Apply for grants administered by states or local governments:

- Apply directly to state energy office or local government entity

- Go to energy.gov/recovery/ and find link to your state energy office

For help, call DOE’s Recovery Act Clearinghouse at 1-888-DOE-RCVY (1-888-363-7289).

The General Services Administration (GSA), a federal agency, helps all federal agencies better serve the public by offering, at best, value, superior workplaces, expert solutions, acquisition services and management service.  Pennie Estrada, Director of Small Business Utilization Center, of the Rocky Mountain GSA regional office in Denver (Pennie.estrada@gsa.gov) shared some things to do:

- Register for the federal acquisition service at www.fedbizopps.gov , click on vendors.

- Find your appropriate schedule at www.elibrary.gsa.gov.  Do a keyword search by service or product.

- The standard application process can take 120 days.  An accelerated process call MAS Express can take 30 days.  You will need ccr, orca, sba, and naics numbers /certifications and a past performance review by www.openratings.com.

- Take the required online “Pathways to Success” education seminar to learn how to apply for MAS Express at the Vendor Support Centerat http://vsc.gsa.gov//

There are dozens of other federal agencies with recovery plans and funds, as well as state and local government entities distributing funds.  The most important sources of information mentioned are: www.fedbizopps.gov, www.recovery.gov, www.gsa.gov/recovery.

Overall, finding the funds and applying for them is complex.  It takes patience and persistence. You may want to find some expert advice on how to navigate these waters. Is it worth it?  YES!

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com and www.TMSworld.com)


RECESSION-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS

How is your company doing in these uncertain times? When I talk with many business leaders, I hear about revenues that are down, sales closing cycles that are longer, and prospects who are unwilling to make decisions. Why? Because people and the organizations they make up are fearful. They are expecting to lose in this recession.

 

What can you do about it? Successful people and organizations do not despair, they “Believe and Act.” That is the recommended mantra this year. But what actions should you take?

 

Here's a snapshot of what you must do.

 

Victor Cheng, author of The Recession Proof Business, spoke recently at the Fortune Small Business Sales and Marketing Summit. His perspectives support all of my research findings. Consistent with my “Believe and Act” message, Cheng recommends adopting a “play to win” mindset. "Get your head screwed on straight and play to win,” he says. “Fortunes will be made in this economy. History has shown future Fortune 500 companies get started in times of extreme economic change. There are opportunities if you're looking for them."

 

Now is not the time to hunker down and attempt to ride it out. There is money out there. Go and find it. Determine where the money is, find the problems, and solve them. The money will follow your solutions. As preteen superheroes Sharkboy and Lavagirl say, "Dream a better dream, and do the work to make it come true."

 

What is Your Secret Weapon?

 

These times stimulate fear. What happens when you are fearful, afraid, scared, and overwhelmed? Your intuition — your heart — closes down. Yet that sixth sense is likely to be one of the most important tools to help you steer a course to success in challenging times.

 

The most successful people and organizations follow a four-step “Pursuit of Passionate Purpose” process and utilize six success strategies. The “Connections Strategy” starts with listening to yourself. Many of us recognize this as intuition, instinct, or sixth sense. This perception capability is defined as directly knowing, independent of rational thought and inference. Do not neglect to exercise this secret weapon and incorporate it as part of your ongoing strategic planning!

 

PRACTICAL POINTERS

  

  • Tap your intuition. Respect and honor this source of wisdom and guidance. Take actions to make it more available to you. How do you tap into your intuition? Try breathing, meditation, exercise, journaling, and other ways to hear your inner voice.

  •   Unpack fear. Fear is often irrational. Be aware of the negative impact of fear. See my earlier blog post on this topic. 

  •   Take action. Be proactive. Develop a good plan, and act on it. Now is the best time to define your core and craft your strategic plan. Make sure it leverages your intuition and includes a sales assessment and plan (see www.TMSworld.com/sales.html) . Then execute it. Do not wait.

 

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com and www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)

Follow Theresa on Twitter @TheresaSzczurek.

 

 


EQUAL PAY IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS

According to US Census statistics on average, full-time working women earned 78 cents to every dollar earned by men. That is right - women working earn 22% less than their male counterparts. The figures are even worse for women of color with Black women only earning 66 cents and Latinas 54 cents on the dollar. Over a lifetime of work this loss adds up. On average, women lose out on $9,575 per year and $434,000 in a lifetime due to the wage gap.

Did you know that April 28, 2009 was Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day is held annually in April to signify the point into a year that a woman must work to earn what a man made the previous year.

Legislation is needed to close the persistent gap between men’s and women’s wages. The Paycheck Fairness Act (HR 12/S 182) will strengthen the Equal Pay Act closing loopholes and strengthening penalties to guarantee that women workers are not shortchanged solely because of their gender.  Join working women advocates across the country to educate women and men about pay inequity and demand passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. 

Check out this blog to learn about author JoAnn Smith Ainsworth’s 40 year tale of unequal pay and much more, http://youngwomenmisbehavin.com/category/pay-equity/

In the first 100 days of Obama's term much has been done for working women for which we can be grateful including:

  • Thank you for signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will ensure that women subject to wage discrimination will get their day in court and is an important step towards closing the persistent and sizable wage gap that remains between men and women. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act rights the wrongs done by the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., reinstating previous rules protecting workers and ensuring people who have been discriminated against can seek vindication in a timely matter.
  • Thank you for creating the White House Council for Women and Girls.
  • Thank you for making sure women and families were provided for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • Thank you for securing working woman Hilda Solis as head of the Department of Labor.
  • Thank you for instating workplace flexibility as a key tenant in the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families.


Much more is needed.  Eliminating the wage gap is good for families and for business.  Join me in passionately pursuing the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act!

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com and www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)