As a certified business owner, can you please share with other women business owners any tips or recommendations that you have for women to leverage these certification opportunities to their benefit?
Irene Schild Caminer, Caminer Law, LLC
Since 2018, I have obtained several woman-owned business certifications for Caminer Law and my clients. Here are my top three recommendations for certified women-owned businesses to leverage certification opportunities:
Certifications are not One Size Fits All. Different entities and contracts seek different certifications. For example, locally funded contracts may have WBE goals, while federally funded contracts may have DBE goals. Similarly, a corporation may have WBENC goals.
Goals are not ceilings, but floors – collaborate and partner. Government contracts can have large scopes of work and require multiple skillsets. For example, a state university construction contract for an athletic facility may have a WBE goal of 5 percent. This may seem low, but if it’s a $200 million contract, that’s $10 million.
Batting average: A .300 batting average baseball player is a great ball player. That means for every 10 times at bat the player is hitting the ball three times. Same is true for contracts. The more proposals, the more opportunities!
Mary Lawrence, Richards Graphic Communications
Developing clients takes time and you need to check in regularly. Meet the Supplier Diversity Leader and stay connected. It’s also vital to develop relationships directly with the department that you will be working with.
When speaking with the Diversity Team, keep your pitch simple. They are often helping a variety of minority businesses, so they aren’t usually experts in any one area. They really just need to know what you do on a high level, so they know who to connect you with. Have a one-page Capability Statement.
The supplier team puts their reputation on the line when they recommend a vendor to their internal team, so don’t let them down!
Don’t try to be all things to a large corporation. You can’t do it, and they know that! Understand your lane – why do your other clients use your services? What’s your brand proposition? Focus on your success stories and use those in your presentations.
Never, ever lead with, “I’m a WBE.” That’s a given.