Lourdes Martin-Rosa: Women-Owned Small Business Advocate
Featured on over 700 media outlets advocating for women-owned small businesses, Lourdes Martin-Rosa shares her experience leading to that success and her advice for small businesses.
Lourdes Martin-Rosa established her company Government Business Solutions in 2003 with the goal of providing innovative and solutions-driven consulting services and training to thousands of small businesses in terms of dealing with the government marketplace.
While managing her business, she had also served as part of the White House Small Business Taskforce, spearheaded the development of the American Express OPEN for Government Contracting & Grow Global programs, served as a WIPP’s National Partner, and partnered with The LEAD Program, Inc. in 2017.
Through her advocacy, she received an Award of Excellence from The White House Senior Advisor in 2016 and was featured in over 790 media publications including the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN Money, the Washington Post.
THREE WEBSITES THAT YOU SHOULD USE
1. Agency’s Website
The first thing that you need to look at is the procurement forecast of your target agency. Different agencies have their different procurement forecasts; this is why you can only look for this information in that agency’s website.
The SBA has mandated that procurement forecasts should be posted by October of the following fiscal year. This includes when they are going to purchase it and or if they need businesses within a socio-economic category. They also include some of the contact information in this forecast list including the email address and the phone number of the contracting officer.
“So the procurement forecast, basically, every agency has one and it lets you know what they’re going to be purchasing.”
You will then visit the General Services Administration’s website to create your pipeline and capture plan.
Because this website acts as a marketplace for vendors and government agencies, this website contains thousands of firms of different industry and socio-economic categories. With this, you can have a look at their products and services and their pricing models.
However, Lourdes do not encourage small businesses to become GSA schedule holders to get this pricing catalog from the website because you can get this information directly without having to follow the GSA’s approval process for vendors.
Lastly, you should visit the System for Awards Management’s database to look for contracting opportunities.
The SAM website is where you first registered your business in the federal marketplace. This is also where you can get various contracting opportunities after the FBO has been moved to SAM.
Due to this, you can basically do an advanced search on various contracting opportunities as well as receive automatic bid notification when an opportunity in your particular NAICS code or product service code is open.
Now in getting updates, only focus on your industry because there are hundreds and thousands of opportunities on the SAM database daily.
ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Lourdes Martin-Rosa encourages small businesses to go to networking events and talk to the decision makers and other small businesses.
“Just tell them what you do and how you could help them to fill on their mission and goals.”
In doing this, you have to study the agency’s or that person’s background first so that you can strongly build a relationship with these people.
Then, when you also need to talk to someone within your target agency to educate you about what that agency’s needs, Lourdes recommend communicating with small business specialists.
“Those all business specialists are advocates. All they do all day long is trying to find small businesses to fulfill on the agency’s contracts, mission and goals. These are the people you want to talk to.”
Also, if you find an opportunity that you cannot do alone, you can team up with other small businesses within your industry.
“We don’t have all of the resources and we shouldn’t try to be an IBM or Lockheed Martin. What we need to do is learn to team with each other, learn to value each other’s resources and what, and then fulfill that agency’s mission as a team. And that’s the powerhouse of small business.”
But in doing this, you should also choose the right team partner that has the same values and goals as yours. You can work with your past business partners or you can get recommendations from small business specialists and contracting officials.
Still, in doing the latter, you should make sure that your prospective partner has a good background by looking at their website or visiting USAspending wherein you just search for the firm’s name and all their past performance will appear.
If you want to watch the full video of the interview with Lourdes Martin-Rosa as she shares her advice for small businesses as well as her experience leading to her advocacy, then be sure to click the link down below.
033: Lourdes Martin-Rosa – Spearheading the American Express Open, White House Small Business Taskforce and more