Thursday, August 17, 2017

Selling to the Government

Government Contracts Overview for Small Businesses

Welcome to government contracting! U.S. federal government contracts represent a tremendous sales and revenue opportunity for small businesses because:
  • The U.S. Government is the world’s largest customer
  • It buys all types of products and services in both large and small quantities
  • It is required by law to provide opportunities for small businesses

The Government’s Contracting Objectives

As you might expect, the government is very particular about how it purchases products and services. The general aims of the rules and regulations governing federal contracts are to ensure that:
  • Competition is fair and open—The process of requesting proposals, evaluating bids, and making awards should take place on a level playing field with full visibility. Any business that is qualified to bid should be considered.
  • Products and services are competitively priced. The government seeks pricing that is commensurate with its formidable buying power.
  • The government gets what it pays for—The government protects itself by carefully defining requirements, terms and conditions for all purchases. Contractors must document that they have fulfilled all requirements and met all terms in order to be paid.
  • Both the government and contractors comply with the law—Different rules and regulations apply to different types of purchases. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) or Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) apply to most federal agencies. Individual organizations often have their own rules as well.

Types of Government Contractors

There are two broad categories of government contractors:
  • Prime contractors bid on and win contracts directly from government agencies. After award, the prime contractor company is the entity that is legally responsible for all aspects of fulfilling the contract, such as interacting with the government customer, recruiting staff, organizing and managing teams of subcontractors, and meeting all delivery requirements. Both large and small businesses can serve as prime contractors.
  • Subcontractors join prime contractors’ teams, usually to provide a specific capability or product. Subcontracting is an excellent way to enter the government contracting market and to participate in larger-scale opportunities. The advantage of being a “sub,” is that you’ll be responsible only for your area of expertise, not managing the entire contract. You can gain valuable experience (called “past performance”) that will qualify you for future contracts. But note that you’ll be serving two customers:  Your prime contractor will determine what percentage of the work (called “workshare”) and which assignments (called “tasks”) you will receive. You may or may not work directly with the government, at the discretion of your prime.
To serve as either a prime or a sub, you’ll need to qualify as a small business and register as government contractor. Then you can begin to seek both prime contractors and federal agencies as customers

Government Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses

The government is particularly concerned to include small businesses as it buys goods and services for several reasons:
  • To ensure that large businesses don’t “muscle out” small businesses
  • To gain access to the new ideas small businesses are great at providing
  • To support small businesses as engines of economic development and job creation
  • To offer opportunities to disadvantaged socio-ethnic groups
To these ends, most government agencies “set aside” a percentage of their acquisitions (what they buy) for small and disadvantaged businesses. In some cases, these set-asides might consist of certain types of tasks on larger contracts. In other cases, entire contracts may be designated for small businesses.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Get Ready to Become a Paralegal

Get Ready to Become a Paralegal


There are many reasons why a paralegal career is an excellent choice. A paralegal job provides an opportunity to work in the legal field without spending several years in law school. If you thought paralegals only worked in law offices, think again. The skills you learn in paralegal training are transferable to other business environments. With the right skills, you would be able to work in a number of industries, including law firms, financial offices, law libraries, and state, local and federal governments.

Here are 5 great things about being a paralegal:

1. Rise in Pay
Paralegal compensation has risen steadily in the past decade, despite a bump in the road in the depths of the 2009-2010 recession. As paralegals perform a broader and more complex range of tasks (paralegals even represent clients in court in certain countries and administrative tribunals), paralegal earnings continue to rise. The average paralegal salary hovers at around $50,000 per year but paralegals often make more through bonuses. Overtime hours can also add significant cash to a paralegal's paycheck.

2. Explosive Employment Outlook
The paralegal field is one of the fastest-growing professions on the globe. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the employment of paralegals and legal assistants to grow 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Among the factors driving this growth is client demand for more affordable and more efficient delivery of legal services. Since hourly rates charged by attorneys are typically double or triple the rates of paralegals for the same task, law firm economics mandates the increased use of paralegals to minimize costs. As a result, a paralegal career is one of the hottest non-lawyer jobs in the legal industry.


3. Easy Career Entry
Unlike lawyers who must complete seven years of formal education and pass the bar exam to practice law, you can become a paralegal in as little as a few months of study.

4. Intellectual Challenge
Paralegal work is intellectually challenging and involves a range of high-level skills. The most successful paralegals are problem-solvers and innovative thinkers. Paralegals must become subject matter experts in their specialty area and master legal procedure, research, drafting and other skills. They must stay on top of ever-changing laws and new legal trends and developments while interfacing with attorneys, opposing counsel, vendors, staff members, clients and others. The work is varied and each day brings new challenges.

5. Rising Prestige
As paralegals perform more complex and challenging work, paralegal prestige is rising. Paralegals are no longer simply lawyer's assistants; they are assuming management roles in corporations, leadership roles in law firms and entrepreneurial roles in independent paralegal businesses. Over the years, paralegals have transcended the image of glorified legal secretary to become respected members of the legal team.

Ready to Become a Paralegal?
So what do you think? Does a paralegal career sound like it’s for you? If you want to get started on the path to success as a paralegal, the New American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) can help. We go beyond teaching you about becoming a paralegal, we teach you how to be your own boss with our Small Business Boot Camp: Start Your  Own  Virtual Paralegal Business.

Come and learn about our FREE Paralegal Program on Wednesday, July 6, 2017 at 6pm. We are located at 26 Court Street, Suite 701, Downtown Brooklyn.Visit www.freeparalegal.org to register or call  us at 718-722-9217.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Start Your Own Virtual Paralegal Business



Start Your Own Virtual Paralegal Business


Attorneys are searching for ways to reduce overhead costs.  One way an attorney can reduce overhead costs is to use the services of a freelance paralegal.  Therefore, the demand for contract paralegals is increasing.  As the demand for paralegal services increase, the number of freelance paralegal businesses will rise, naturally.

If you have considered opening your own paralegal business, there are certain details you should consider before opening your door and hanging out a shingle.  As with any small business, a freelance paralegal should begin with a strong foundation for a successful business. The New American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration offers a 5-week Small Business Boot Camp: Start Your Own Virtual Paralegal Business. This is a great program that puts you in the right direction. 

Topics include:

·        Formulating the Virtual Paralegal’s Business Plan
·        Developing Your Virtual Paralegal Website & Protect Your Business: Legal Contracts
·        Introduction to Marketing & Social Media for the Virtual Paralegal
·        For the Virtual Paralegal: Small Business Solutions
·        Financing Your Business, Strategic Partnerships & Resources for the Virtual Paralegal


The Program is Free to Paralegal Students from the Chamber’s Paralegal Certificate Program. All others: $149. 

Register here: 
http://mynacc.chambermaster.com/events/details/small-business-boot-camp-start-your-own-virtual-paralegal-business-seminar-series-3159





Friday, April 7, 2017

Taking A Risk




Entrepreneurs know that every small business starts with taking a risk.

We have an idea for a product or service, but even the best ideas require a leap of faith. Whether it is our money or time or the security of working for someone else, we put ourselves on the line when we pursue our goals. When that risk succeeds… simply put, it’s empowering.

Yet research shows women are more risk-averse than men. Are we missing out on empowerment, too?

I was proud to represent the U.S. Small Business Administration at a panel on empowering women hosted by President Trump and Vice President Pence at the White House in honor of Women’s History Month. Four of the women in the Trump Administration shared the stage and our perspectives on empowerment. It was fascinating to hear that each of our paths to success started by taking a risk – usually against the odds and against the advice of others.

“Women second-guess themselves all the time,” U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley noted during the panel. “We must tell ourselves to push through the fear because we end up on the other side so much stronger than when we started.”

Ambassador Haley described how she took a risk by running for a seat in the statehouse in South Carolina. Others told her she was too young, she had small children, she should set her sights lower. She ignored the naysayers and took a risk – and not only won that seat, she went on to become her state’s first female Governor.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos thought she’d play it safe and study interior design in college until she challenged herself to study business and political science instead.

Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was expected to be a stay-at-home mom, noting she was the first woman in her family in 3,000 years to have a job. But she had her own dreams and a desire to make a contribution in health care, and knew she could be a mom at the same time. She started a career, and later took another risk when she left her job and started her own business.

“We tend to play it safe – don’t take that job or start your own business. What I’ve come to realize is that’s the wrong advice. Even you are even considering it, go for it. Take those risks. The worst that can happen is it doesn’t work out, but you learn from it. It’s better to have that growth and wisdom than not pursuing it at all.”

Probably the biggest risk my husband and I ever took was buying Capitol Wrestling, the parent company of WWF, at the time, in 1982. It was just the two of us sharing a desk, and I’m very happy that risk really paid off.

As SBA Administrator, I am making that message my mission.

There were about a dozen young girls in the audience, and they were invited onstage at the end of the panel. I want each of them to know their power – to have the confidence to think boldly, trust their instincts and follow their passions. To bet on themselves. To never miss an opportunity to learn something new because they fear making a mistake. My goal at SBA is to help create a brighter future – not just for those taking risks by launching and growing businesses today, but for the young people boldly dreaming of their own tomorrows.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Prepare your business for the winter storm



Prepare your business for the winter storm


The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Watch in effect from late Monday night, March 13 through late Tuesday night, March 14. 


The nor'easter is forecast to bring heavy snow along with strong and potentially damaging winds that will create hazardous travel conditions throughout Tuesday.

The City has issued a hazardous travel advisory for Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

All winter weather information and information about the City's response to the storm can be found by visiting the City's Severe Weather website at nyc.gov/severeweather or by calling 311.


New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City's free emergency notification system online, call 311, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.



Severe weather conditions can destroy storefront facades, building structures, roofs, awnings, shatter facade glass/windows, etc.
Additionally, severe weather conditions can also damage sidewalks, equipment, and merchandise.
Once weather permits, business owners should be mindful of the following information:
snow shovel

Snow and ice must be removed within four hours after the snow has stopped falling or by 11 a.m. if the snow has not stopped falling after 9 p.m. the previous evening.
    
Snow must NOT be thrown into the street.
    
If the snow or ice becomes frozen so hard that it cannot be removed, the sidewalk can be strewn with ashes, sand, sawdust, or similar suitable material within the same time limits.
    
The sidewalk must be thoroughly cleaned as soon as the weather permits.
    
Snow Awning
If there are high winds, please take in all loose standing objects that may become dislodged and harm pedestrians.
    
All ground level commercial/business owners should clear snow/ice from their awnings as soon as the weather permits to prevent structural collapse. If you have a retractable awning or shade, please close these devices.
    
One-story commercial property owners/lessees should clear snow/ice from their rooftops as soon as the weather permits to prevent possible collapse (a professional should perform this task).




Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nanny Training Certificate Program


In today’s economic landscape, two-income families are increasingly the norm as parents struggle to put food on the table and pay rent. They don’t just need someone to sit in their apartment and watch their children while they are at work. Nannies are now required to possess a degree of training in child care and in some instances, must be certified or even have a formal academic degree in the field of child development.   So, as you can see, there is more to childcare than playing games, baking cupcakes and watching tv together.

Make a Difference
Interestingly, a nanny may spend more time with her charges than their parents. As a nanny, you have the ability to shape their small minds and allow parents to focus on their jobs comforted that their children are safe and happy at home. Very often, in addition to taking care of the child, nannies are now mandated to sit next to the children at their desks and lend a helping hand with their homework assignments as well as prepare nutritious meals for both the children and their families and perform housekeeping duties.

Vocation
If you feel your mission in life is to work with children, working as a nanny gives you the ability to do just that. But the bonus of working as a personal nanny as opposed to a temporary babysitter or a childcare worker in a day care center, is that  you truly get to know them. Like school, children in a daycare center move from teacher to teacher until they enter elementary school when they leave their daycare days behind them. You may stay with the same family for years and watch your charges grow from babies to young adults and recognize your contribution via your role as nanny.

Being a Bridge
Beyond caring for the children, you are responsible for acting as a liaison between the children and their teachers and parents.  For example, as a nanny you may work with the parents to establish a routine for the children and you will have to keep track of the children’s after school activities, scheduled television time and medication schedule if any. You will be responsible for observing any abnormal developmental delays, health issues or the achievement of milestones.  

Training
If you have experience working with children, a career as a nanny may be a good match for the skills you already possess. Then  combine this  with patience, maturity, exceptional organizational skills and a sense of humor. It must be emphasized that some families will also require a background check before they will hire you since you will be entrusted with their most valuable commodity--their children. They want to ascertain that when they insert that key into their homes in the morning before going to work, that they can have peace of mind knowing they can trust you. Nannies provide a valuable service in the nurturing, care, social, emotional and academic development of their charges.  Understanding cognitive as well as emotional development empowers nannies to understand the rationalization behind choices, behavior and actions even when the child does not fully grasp their full import.
  A good place to start is with the New American Chamber of Commerce  (NACC) Nanny Training Certificate Program. The Chamber’s mission is to empower nannies to start nanny businesses utilizing the skills developed, from our Nanny Training Certificate Program and our Small Business Boot Camp (Starting a Daycare Edition). We establish through our Nanny Training Certificate Program, knowledgeable, nurturing and loving nannies, who are dedicating their careers to challenging children to achieve greatness. Call us at 718-722-9217 or visit www.nannytraining.nyc