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  • 14 Dec 2017 12:27 | Valerie Ormond

    What a year it has been for OPPS4VETS® thanks to our valued members and our generous sponsors. Founder Al Renteria officially launched OPPS4VETS® on Jan. 1, 2017, with two sponsors, and our first member joined on Jan. 10, 2017. Today we count 15 sponsors and 1,155 members, with both numbers growing daily. Please join me in recognizing our sponsors for their support and seeing what they do. And don’t miss the discounts and opportunities offered to our members!

    The ARRC® – Digital Marketing (10% discount for OPPS4VETS® members)

    Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center – Where Communities Serve Veterans® (FREE membership for Veterans)

    Wild Apricot – Membership Management Software (FREE 30-day free trial for OPPS4VETS® members)

    Obera – Procurement and Logistics, Professional Services, System Integration, and Training Solutions

    ASM Educational Center – Information Technology (IT) Training and Certification (up to $4,000 scholarships for military spouses in Maryland)

    Craneology Inc. – Crane Operator Training and Certification

    Cogent Solutions – IT Services and Products

    Tutor Doctor Temecula Valley – One-to-One In-Home Tutoring

    Penmere Capitol Network – Financial Services and Investment Opportunities

    Brent’s HVACR & Plumbing – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing

    Corporate Image Maintenance – Sustainable Janitorial and Cleaning Services

    M.R. Crafts Inc. – Strategic Sourcing for Products and Services – 1st Opps4Vets member to join!

    United Veteran Supply – Vehicle Parts and Office and Medical Supplies – 1000th Opps4Vets member to join!

    Mom & Pop Merchant Solutions – Small Business Loans

    TV Worldwide – Internet TV Solutions (25% off a Sponsored Interview for the Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Series)

    Sponsors, if you have anything to add, please leave a comment on this blog post.

    To find out more about becoming a sponsor and the benefits of sponsorship, please see https://opps4vets.com/Sponsor-Registration.

    Thank you to the entire OPPS4VETS® community for a successful inaugural year, and happy holidays to all.

    Valerie Ormond

    Chief Executive Officer, Veteran Writing Services, LLC


  • 22 Nov 2017 09:14 | Valerie Ormond

    Last week, I met with Tom Leney, Executive Director, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSBDU), and he discussed the importance of “The Structured Conversation” for vendors seeking business. I was in his office as a member of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center (SWVBRC) to discuss his, and his office’s, participation in the SWVBRC’s February 27-28, 2018 Business Summit.

    Besides the great news that Tom and VA Procurement Decision Makers (PDMs) will attend the Summit, he provided insight into how vendors should come prepared to speak to the PDMs. He speaks not only as the leader of the VA OSBDU, but also as a former small businessman and Government contractor, and a U.S. Army Veteran. He offers this advice to provide the best possible outcomes. Following is the outline for “The Structured Conversation.”

    1. Show the buyer that you understand his/her business problem

    2. Tell the buyer what your solution is to the problem

    3. Demonstrate why the buyer should believe you can deliver your solution? (Ex. CPARS, testimonials, reviews, past performance, and/or proof you have done the work before)

    4. Let the buyer know how he/she can get to you to purchase your supplies and/or services (Ex. contract vehicle)

    For those interested in additional tips on being procurement ready, please see the full Pre-Summit Series as part of the SWVBRC’s Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Series (VETS) at this link: https://wherecommunitiesserveveterans.org/vets

    We hope to see you at the 2018 Business Summit ready to do business!

    Valerie Ormond

    Chief Executive Officer, Veteran Writing Services, LLC


  • 29 Oct 2017 09:37 | Valerie Ormond


    Opps4Vets members market their services in many ways. Check out Opps4Vets member Schuyler Jones, Chief Executive Officer of VetGuard Medical Supply’s recent video. This 53 second video not only grabs attention, but greatly increases the search engine optimization to the VetGuard Medical website.

    Vet Guard Medical’s mission is “to become THE leader in providing innovative, cost-effective, medical, rehabilitative, diagnostic and surgical treatment approaches designed to address multiple, chronic conditions faced by both our active duty and veteran military populations.”

    If you’d like to know more about VetGuard Medical, please visit their website at https://vetguardmedical.com/, and review their information in the Opps4Vets Supplier directory.

    Any other Opps4Vets members with marketing tips that work for you,  please share your ideas in the comments so we can learn from each other.

    Valerie Ormond

    Chief Executive Officer, Veteran Writing Services, LLC


  • 29 Sep 2017 10:04 | Valerie Ormond

    With the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veteran Enterprises Contracting for Transformation and Operational Readiness (VECTOR) Pre-Award Notice release, 73 Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSBs) earned the opportunity to celebrate their victories.

    But the VECTOR award also means new teaming opportunities for ALL Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) qualified VOSBs with capabilities in any of the VA VECTOR Service Groups of:

    1 –Management and Improvement

    2 – Analysis

    3 – Training

    4 – Outreach

    5 – Supply Chain

    6 – Human Resources and Staffing

    CAVEAT: I am not a lawyer, but have read and analyzed the Request for Proposal (RFP) and the resulting Questions and Answers. The emphasis below is mine.

    ·         Per the VA VECTOR RFP paragraph B.1.G.1 (page 6):

    “1.       Subcontracting

    Prime contractors may propose different subcontractors at the TO level than initially proposed at the IDIQ level.  Contractors in Tier 1 for the base award, will not automatically fall into Tier 1 for subsequent Task Orders.  For each TO proposal, the size standards of the proposed team will determine what tier the contractor will be evaluated in for that TO.  (For example, prime contractors may be in Tier 1 for the base award, and Tier 2 or 3 for a specific task order proposal.) This provides the flexibility for the prime contractor to build its team to best meet each requirement.”

    Beyond the first sentence, this is stating that the SDVOSB winners may bring in non-VOSBs to meet the requirements if necessary. But, contractors will remain more competitive bidding on Task Orders staying within Tier 1 and teaming with other SDVOSBs and VOSBs to accomplish the work in those upcoming Task Order Proposal Requests (Reference paragraph E.14.3.4, page 54).

    ·         And per the solicitation’s Questions and Answers:

    4.         Can you confirm that per VAAR 852.219-10, the Prime Vendor for each Service Group will be expected to perform at least 50% of the work at the Task Order level?

    a.         Per the clause, at least 50 percent of the cost of personnel for contract performance will be spent for employees of the concern or employees of other eligible service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns. 

    6.         After contract awards, may team members on teams which were not awarded, join other IDIQ teams which were awarded? Post-award, do all IDIQ-level teams need to maintain exclusivity forever (that is, all IDIQ team members are only on one awarded team in a given service area)?

    a.         Unsuccessful offerors are not precluded from joining successful teams at the Task Order level.  Subcontractors must be exclusive in a Service Group for any given Task Order (i.e. teams may change, but subcontractors cannot be proposed on multiple proposals for the same Task Order.)

    So, seek opportunities now – the Task Order Proposal Requests will be coming out soon, and the winning companies will need to respond “yes” or “no” to every request. Why not make it a “yes,” with you as part of the team?

    Please view your CVE profile and make maximum use of the keywords field; add the appropriate Service Groups above as keywords to make it easier for companies to find you.

    Valerie Ormond

    Chief Executive Officer

    Veteran Writing Services, LLC

     


  • 15 Sep 2017 10:35 | Valerie Ormond
    Veteran-owned small businesses can have a say in federal regulations which directly impact their businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input to identify which of its regulations have become obsolete, unnecessary, ineffective, or burdensome to small businesses. 

    If you’d like your voice to be heard, review the RFI and submit a formal comment by Monday, October 16, 2017. See the RFI here:

    Request for Information - Reducing Unnecessary Regulation


    Source: Federal Register

    Valerie Ormond

    Chief Executive Officer, Veteran Writing Services, LLC


  • 15 Aug 2017 09:44 | Valerie Ormond

    This event might be of interest to some of our Opps4Vets members. Link to document: InnoVAtion Small Business Expo.pdf, and image below.


  • 08 Aug 2017 08:39 | Valerie Ormond

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hosts useful information to assist Veteran small business owners on its website. The following is an excerpt from the VA document on that site, Procurement Readiness – Preparing To Do Business With VA.

    “By taking advantage of small contracting opportunities, small businesses can better position themselves to compete for more complex opportunities in the future.

    "• Seek micro-purchases or federal procurement opportunities below $3,000. Authorized federal staff can make these purchases using credit cards. Small businesses accepting credit card payments are already eligible to accept government-wide micro-purchase payments. Learn more about the GSA SmartPay program, the world's largest government charge card and commercial payment solutions program.”

    I had been told by Procurement Technical Assistance Program counselor two years ago that anyone who accepted a Square was also eligible to be paid via Government credit cards. I’ve never used this option, but thought I would ask the GSA SmartPay staff yesterday if this statement was correct. Here was my question:

    Q: As a vendor, I have a question about how I can accept GSA SmartPay. I read this on your website:

    “Accepting the GSA SmartPay payment solutions allows your company to maximize Government sales. If you already accept these payment solutions from the commercial sector, there is no additional work as the GSA SmartPay solution operates just like any other corporate solution.  

    Government account holders utilize the program to pay for:

    Commercial goods and services...”

    I currently accept credit cards for payment via Square and PayPal. Does this mean I can accept payment, for example, for a Government micro-purchase?   

    And Mr. Milton Vazquez’s (GSA) response – less than 24 hours later:

    A: Thanks for reaching out to us.

    The short answer to your question is "Yes", you are able to accept the SmartPay2 card today. Any merchant, regardless of the size, that currently have a card acceptance contract is able to take the SmartPay card as payment for services or goods sold to a Federal Government client. The reason: SmartPay2 cards are commercial Visa/MasterCard charge cards issued by banks on behalf of the Government under the SmartPay2 Card Master Contract.

    --------------------

    So, I thought I would share that with our Opps4Vets members. If anyone has micro-purchase or GSA SmartPay experience they would like to share, please leave a comment in the Opps4Vets blog.

    Source: Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Procurement Readiness – Preparing To Do Business With VA (page 16) and Milton Vazquez, GSA SmartPay

    Valerie Ormond

    Chief Executive Officer, Veteran Writing Services, LLC

     


  • 24 Jul 2017 08:24 | Valerie Ormond

    ASM Educational Center, Charter Opps4Vets sponsor, shares the following information with our Opps4Vets community. And please share with any you believe could benefit from this program.

    ASM, an approved training company, was asked to assist various centers in Maryland with administering a grant to assist transitioning military, active duty spouses, and recently separated Veterans.

    ASM can help eligible candidates secure training through this program in entrepreneurship, Information Technology, CyberSecurity, and more. They can assist members in getting in-demand industry credentials, certifications, and licenses needed for a successful civilian careers.

    Eligibility:

    Transitioning Service Member – Separating in the next 12 months or retiring within the next 24 months; staying or relocating to Maryland.

    Active Duty Spouse – Spouse must be active duty military; relocated to the area within the last 48 months; unemployed or underemployed; must have PCS orders

    Recently Separated Veteran (non-retiree) – Maryland resident; must have separated with an other than dishonorable discharge within the last 48 months; unemployed or underemployed

    See the below flyer for additional details, and please contact Azita Moghaddam (ASM Educational Center) at azitam@asmed.com for additional information.

    Valerie Ormond

    Chief Executive Officer, Veteran Writing Services, LLC


  • 12 Jul 2017 10:16 | Valerie Ormond

    I wanted to share a note and recommendation passed along from fellow Opps4Vets member, Schuyler Jones, Chief Executive Officer of VetGuard Medical Supply, LLC.  

    “I downloaded Kevin Jans book (free) from their website at SkyWay. It took about two hours to read through, but it helped me think critically about key elements of my federal business marketing and sales strategies. It also provided me with confirmation that some of the things I was doing were the right things for me and my company.

     “…I would recommend all our fellow Opps4Vets participants read it…..they should go to the SkyWay website, provide an email, and they can download it free.”

    Thank you, Schuyler, and anyone else who has useful tips for other members, please send them along!

    Valerie Ormond

    Chief Executive Officer, Veteran Writing Services, LLC

  • 26 Jun 2017 08:42 | Valerie Ormond

    American Corporate Partners (ACP) offers to connect post-9/11 military and Veterans with career coaches for one-on-one yearlong mentorship programs. ACP Mentors come from Fortune 500 companies and some of the United States’ best companies, for example Disney, IBM, and Harvard University.

    The ACP website’s Resources section hosts a wealth of information, for example Protégé Resources. These resources range from Small Business Resources to Career Development to Job Search data.

     And, ACP services are free to Veterans, those currently serving, surviving spouses and spouses of severely wounded post-911 Veterans.

    Please visit the ACP website for additional information, or call (202)752-0700 if you think this might be for you.

    Source: ACP website and phone conversation with Genevieve (ACP).

    Valerie Ormond

    Chief Executive Officer, Veteran Writing Services, LLC



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