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3 Simple Ways To Improve Customer Satisfaction Today

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: February 14, 2013

As business owners, we’d all like to think of ourselves as providers of great customer service. As small business owners in particular, it’s quite possibly your biggest differentiator. After all, how often is it that you walk into a national chain restaurant and are greeted by name, handed your favorite drink and made to feel like part of the family?

But great customer service is also about knowing how to handle problems, responding to and resolving issues—something at which agile small businesses can often excel.

If customer satisfaction is your goal, then great customer service will get you there.

Here are three simple things you can do to embed customer service into your business philosophy and day-to-day operations:

Listen and Learn

Listening is key to effective customer service and it can also help boost your profitability. Here are two ways to prove to your customers that you are listening–and tips on how to make it count:

  • Everyday Customer Interaction – Show you are listening to your customers by taking notes or repeating back what your customer has said. Listen to their words and tone. Observe their body language. Provide them clear and concise communication. Ask clarifying questions to gain understanding before you provide a response. If you can’t respond immediately, be sure to provide a timeline for response and make a note in your calendar to do so. Follow up, confirm the resolution and check for customer satisfaction and completion.
  • Facilitating Feedback – If you don’t have a reason for face-to-face interaction with a customer, look for ways to stay in touch and show you are listening and eager to keep the lines of communication open. For example, follow up with a customer after a sale to prove to your customers that you want to hear from them. Hand out in-store or post-sale surveys to find out what they’d like to see from your brand—and stay active on social media (more on this below). Customer service is, after all, about meeting the needs and expectations of the customer as defined by the customer. By soliciting feedback and using that information to inform your business you will find new ways to ensure your business is relevant to them and hopefully open new lines of profitable opportunity.

In order to have effective customer service, you must know what your customers want, provide it to them on a consistent basis and ask them how you are doing.

Look For Ways to Treat Customers As You Would Like To Be Treated

Remember, how you and your staff communicate with your customers is just as important as what you communicate. Remember that your customer wants to see the sunny side of you and your business, so have your filter on and put yourself in their shoes.

A good way to instill this attitude among your staff is to do some simple role play in which they act out a few scenarios that involve both easy-going and difficult customers. Observe how they handle the situation and coach them on areas to improve.

For example:

  • How are customers being greeted? — Put them at ease and make them feel comfortable!  This sets the tone for the rest of the transaction.
  • Demonstrate that your customers are valued Let them know you think they are important.  Your sincerity makes them feel good about you and the organization.
  • Ask how to help your customers Find out what they want. It is important that each customer encounter makes them feel satisfied.
  • Don’t challenge disgruntled customers — Listen, reassure them that you’ll escalate or act on their complaint and follow through until resolution.
  • Help customers Help them get what they want. Make it easy for customers to locate or obtain the information they need. Answer their questions in a timely manner.

Carry Customer Service Across All Your Customer Touch Points

Remember to carry through on your customer service goals wherever your business has a presence. This means both online and offline. More than ever, social media is a systematic part of your customer service model, so if you have a presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and so on, be sure you are actively listening, engaging, monitoring and responding to your customers online. This blog offers some tips that can help: How to Use Social Media to Do a Better Job of Customer Service.

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

4 Ways to Use Google Hangouts in Your Business

By smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
Published: February 13, 2013

Small business people still seem to be in the process of catching on to Google+, the social network created by Google. Google has made a number of moves to encourage people to use Google+. It has tied in several applications to Google Plus.

One of those applications is Google Hangouts. Hangouts are a type of online group meeting using webcams so that each of the participants can see and hear the others. Think video conference and webinar all rolled up in one.

With Hangouts, you can hold group presentations online and automatically record them for YouTube, and archive them for later access. You can stream live broadcasts directly from your website, YouTube channel and/or Google+ profile with just a few clicks. Even better, you can save your recorded Hangout videos and post them on your site. If you wanted to try offering webinars, this is a no-cost way to do it – because Hangouts are completely free to do.

So what exactly can you do with Hangouts? Here are 4 suggestions:

1. Conduct Team Meetings

With so many teams having members spread out in different locations or working from home, just scheduling an in-person team meeting can be a challenge. Traveling to attend meetings can be costly and more importantly, time consuming.

Conference calls are the typical way of handling meetings when everyone cannot be present. But phone communication leaves a lot to be desired. When you can’t see facial expressions, miscommunication can arise. Worse, in today’s world, team members can succumb to distraction and start focusing on their smartphones instead of the team participants. When you can see one another, those issues are minimized. People tend to stay alert and engaged.

Need to share a Web URL to the team, or share your screen to show them something? With Hangouts you just push a button and you can do that.

With Hangouts, the person who happens to “hold the floor” and is speaking at the moment, has his or her video screen showing in the large view. Other participants’ screens are minimized until they speak.

And yes, you can restrict Hangouts to make them private.

2. Hold Webinars

Have you ever wanted to share expertise and have it available online, perhaps to establish yourself or a company executive as a subject matter expert? Or perhaps you want to start a webinar series as part of your content marketing repertoire. Or maybe you want to provide a question and answer session for customers or prospects, about a product offering either for sales or customer support purposes.

Hangouts are an interactive way to do all of the above. Hangouts normally are limited to 10 active participants (available to 15 participants with Google+ premium features). Their small size of active participants keeps them rather intimate and encourages participation and questions.

With Google Hangouts On Air, you can broadcast your Hangout publicly. You can record it, edit the recording, and share the recorded event online.

If the cost of webinar software has kept you from experimenting with webinars or customer Q&A sessions, then Hangouts are a low-risk way to experiment. Same with technology issues – if you have been concerned with the technical elements of holding webinars, hangouts are pretty easy. There’s a free Google video chat plugin you will be prompted to download and install upon your first Hangout – but it’s fast and easy. You don’t have to worry about trying to make recording software sync up. You simply start a Hangout, name it and you’re good to go.

3. Offer Consulting Hours

Remember when you were in college and your professor held Office Hours so students could get individual help? Why not offer the same feature as a consultant?

You could offer customized coaching services. A Hangout session with your client can replace phone calls and emails, or lengthy and expensive travel.

For smaller consultants and professionals, it can differentiate your business from competitors. You’ll look high tech, at no extra cost. And Hangouts can allow you to offer an expanded range of services, such as paid coaching sessions that can be advertised and scheduled on your website. Musicians can offer paid music lessons. Only your imagination is the limit.

4. Hold a Press Conference

Who says press conferences are limited to big companies? Recording artist Taylor Swift hosted a Google+ Hangout to announce her new album. During the live chat, Taylor answered fan questions from around the world, let them know what they could expect from her album, and debuted its first single. When her single was released on iTunes it went straight to number one, faster than any other song in history.

Have a big announcement – whether it’s a new executive hire, a new product, or simply to announce that you’ve won an award? A Google Hangout lets you tell the world and provide an interactive record of the announcement.

There are many ways for small business owners to use Google+ Hangouts to connect with their customers, build their brands, monetize their businesses, and create buzz. Check out the Google Live Events calendar to help spur some of your own ideas. You can also add your own events to the calendar to increase your reach. And check out this article with more ways to use Google Hangouts.

 

About the Author:

smallbiztrends
Anita Campbell

Guest Blogger

My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 6 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and BizSugar.com, a small business social media site.

November 8, 2002 - Final rule, Control of Emissions From Nonroad Large Spark-Ignition Engines, and Recreational Engines (Marine and Land-Based), published in the Federal Register.

August 14, 2002  - Proposed rule, Control of Emissions from Spark-Ignition Marine Vessels and Highway Motorcycles, published in the Federal Register.

April 20, 2010 - Letter to Honorable Lisa P. Jackson, Office of the Administrator, Petition to Reconsider the Construction and Development (C&D) Effluent Limitations Guideline (ELG) Final Rule.

April 2010 - Review Of Technical Issues Related to the Final Effluent Limitation Guidelines for the Construction and Development Industry prepared by Andy Bollman, E.H. Pechan & Associates, Inc.

The Bigger Financial Picture – Is it Time to Hire a CFO and Where Should You Look?

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: February 11, 2013

So, your business is growing. While you may or may not have an accountant on hand, what about your bigger financial picture? Is it time to hire a Chief Financial Officer?

More than just a bookkeeper, payroll administrator or keeper of P&L and cash flow statements, a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can help you plan, model, forecast and make better business decisions. A CFO looks at your business holistically–this includes people, processes and systems–and ensures that together you have accurate financial information to plan for the future.

A CFO will also work with you or your accountant to understand the drivers for business performance. They’ll pick up on signals that might indicate a problem (such as a potential cash flow issue down the line), and help you make informed decisions about reaching your business goals.

Are You Ready for a CFO?

We all have sleepless nights worrying about the direction of our business; when cash flow will take a turn for the better; or where our next higher margin client is coming from. And being a small business owner, wearing all those hats, it isn’t easy to step away from the day-to-day details and look at your business as a whole.

A CFO can help with these worries–and needn’t break the bank in the process.

How to Cost-Effectively Hire a CFO

If your business is growing fast, then you could consider hiring a CFO on a part-time or as-needed basis and start delegating some of that financial angst. Management consulting firms often offer this type of service. If budget really is an issue, consider the volunteer services of SCORE.

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. SCORE mentors deliver free, confidential, valuable advice for your business needs across diverse industries and business functions including finance, marketing, operations, technology and more. Connect with a mentor here.  

Not Quite There Yet? Consider an Accountant

If you are still in start-up or growth mode—or feel you’d benefit with the help of someone to take care of your daily financial obligations such as account payables and receivables, payroll, taxes, and make sound judgments to benefit your personal and business finances—then you should really consider hiring an accountant. If you already have one, consider leaning on their services a little more.

An accountant can save you time and clear up much of the confusion that you experience when it comes to managing your finances. This blog offers tips on finding and interviewing potential accountants: How to Find an Accountant Who Can Help Your Small Business over the Long Haul.

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

7 Ways to Increase Foot Traffic to Your Small Business

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: February 7, 2013 Updated: September 12, 2016

Late last year, I hosted a web chat with the SBA offering holiday marketing tips and ideas to small business owners. And while many business owners submitted questions relating specifically to the holidays, a large percentage of the questions centered on that age-old question: “How do I get more foot traffic to my store?”

Here are seven tried and tested steps you might want to consider:

1. Start from the outside and look in

If you are in a pedestrianized area, get to know who passes by your store. Literally, sit outside or close by your window and assess the demographic of who comes and goes. Do they window shop? Have they come from another store close by first?

Next, take an objective look at your signage and window display–does it appeal to your target demographic or buyer? For example, if you run a coffee shop and most of your business is done during the hours of 8 AM to 10 AM, think of ways to optimize your merchandising and window display to attract more buyers during these times. This could be as simple as using this time to hand out coupons outside, offering bakery samples to passersby, or promoting your latest offers using sidewalk signage.

2. Host a community event with a newsworthy tie-in

One of the best ways to increase foot traffic is to host a community or charity event. A great way to do this and get noticed is to tie it to a topical event. Say, for example, your local NFL or high school team is playing a critical game. Consider teaming up with other businesses nearby to offer game-day promotions/offers or a tie-in event. Host the event as a block party or at a central location downtown (even if you have to take your business on the road for a few hours). Don’t forget to be community-oriented—consider donating a portion of your profits to charity.

Feature the event ahead of time on your website and social media. For maximum impact, don’t forget to contact local media outlets—including radio channels—and email and mail out fliers to your contact list. 

3. Host a seminar or workshop

Both retail and service-based businesses can generate a good deal of foot traffic by educating their customers about how to get more out of what they are buying (even if you don’t make a sale that day). Florist shops could host a flower arranging class or realtors could host a house-staging workshop to attract potential sellers. And of course, publicize your event—in-store, online, via press releases and advertising.

4. Use location-based services to attract passersby

You don’t have to be a tech wizard to promote your small business using mobile apps that target consumers in the vicinity of your business. Groupon, Living Social, FourSquare and ThinkNear among others let you post information about your latest offers and limited-time deals to consumers within a certain distance of your business. You can also schedule deals to get delivered during key hours, for example, if you’re looking to boost foot traffic during off-peak times.

5. Engage old customers in new ways

It’s always refreshing when a store or restaurant you’ve frequented for some time starts doing something new. And thanks to the power of social media, doing something new or different and doing it well can quickly go viral.

So think about ways you can get the attention of older or existing customers. It could be as simple as offering a new type of discount (it may sound obvious, but offering something of value at a discount for a limited period of time can be attention-grabbing) or letting customers know about a new product or service you’ve added.

A straight-out sale is always a great way to bring old customers out of the woodwork. Send out an email or e-newsletter to your contact database and post it on social media. You might even host a secret sale first for a hand-selected group of customers.

If your business is service-oriented, consider offering a referral fee to existing customers who bring in new clients for you.

6. Put on your small business customer service hat

There’s a reason why consumers opt to frequent small businesses over larger chains—personal relationships. A smile, great service, product knowledge and enthusiasm will bring customers through your door and keep them coming back. So as you host new events, sales or workshops, use your small business advantage to the max!

7. Stay in touch

Staying top of mind with new and existing customers who you’ve engaged through your new efforts is not just about offering great products and services. It’s also about staying in touch.

If you host an event that brings in new customers, encourage them to sign up for your emails. A little incentive, such as a free giveaway in exchange for an email address, is always effective. Then stay in touch, set-up an e-newsletter program, send out regular updates about new product lines, company news, and events and start to engage with your customers via social media. (For tips, check out this blog).

What tactics have you used to increase foot traffic to your small business? Leave a comment below.

 

 

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Much Higher Surety Bond Guarantee Ceilings Enable Small Businesses to Bid on Larger Contracts and Grow

By byrned
Published: February 6, 2013 Updated: February 6, 2013

A major revision in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) Program more than triples the eligible contract amount, from $2 million to $6.5 million, the Agency will guarantee on surety bonds for both public and private contracts.

What does this mean for small businesses trying to grow?
 
A Los Angeles subcontractor for example, was looking to take on bigger jobs and grow its business, but needed a much larger bond to bid on and get a contract that was larger than past work it had performed.
 
As a direct result of higher SBA guaranteed bond limits, companies like that California contractor can now experience continued growth in bonding capacity, employ more employees and improve revenue streams. And with that kind of growth and resulting experience on bigger jobs, such companies can bid on more federal construction contracts, build an even stronger management team, and set strategic plans for bigger contracts and expansion into larger markets.
 
Contractors purchase surety bonds to guarantee that they will complete contracts. If the contractor fails to complete the contracted work, the surety bond is used to pay for completion. The SBA offers a guarantee of up to 90% on three types of surety bonds: bid bonds, which ensure that if a bidder wins a procurement competition the bidder will sign the contract; performance bonds, which ensure the contractor will complete the work as contracted; and payment bonds, which ensure that the contractor will pay its supplier and subcontractors.
 
These increases in bond capacity result from provisions in the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act and are expected to bolster participation by surety bond agents and brokers and their surety companies in SBA’s SBG Program.
 
The changes also allow SBA to guarantee bonds for government contracts valued at up to $10 million if a contracting officer of a federal agency certifies that the guarantee is necessary for the small business to obtain bonding, and it is in the best interests of the government.
 
SBA partners with the surety industry to help small businesses that would otherwise be unable to obtain bonding in the traditional commercial marketplace; and now, with the increased capacity, that public/private cooperation helps these small businesses grow as well.
 
If your small business needs SBA assistance in locating a participating surety company or agent, and completing application forms, simply go online to http://www.sba.gov/osg/, or call 1-800-U-ASK-SBA.

 

 

About the Author:

Restrictions in Franchising

By FranchiseKing, Guest Blogger
Published: February 6, 2013

If you’re thinking of becoming the owner of a franchise-type of business, there’s something you need to know about franchising…and you may not like it.

Now, what I’m about to share probably won’t be a game-changer if you’re really bent on buying a franchise, but you need to have as much factual information on this business model before you invest in one.

Here goes:

You’re going to have certain restrictions placed on you.

And according to “Buying a Franchise: A Consumer Guide” published by The Federal Trade Commission, “These kinds of restrictions may limit your ability to exercise your own business judgment in operating your outlet. That said, if the franchisor does not limit the territory where each franchisee can sell, the franchisor and other franchisees may compete with you for the same customers, either by establishing their own outlets, or by selling to customers in your area through the Internet, catalogs, telemarketing, and the like.”

Please read it again.

Surprises Not Included

One of the best parts of franchising today has to do with transparency.

Years ago, you would have to drive, walk or ride your bicycle down to your local library, and spend hours just searching for information on franchising. I’m not even talking about information on specific franchise opportunities…just basic information on a franchise business works!

Things are vastly different now, obviously. Within minutes, you can get information on the franchise business model* just by using the search engine of your choice. There are even vast amounts of information readily available about the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).

As a matter of fact, Item #8 (there are 23 items contained in the FDD) deals with the subject of this guest blog post: restrictions.

Item #8

Restrictions on Sources of Products and Services

This section tells whether the franchisor limits:

1.      Suppliers from whom you may purchase goods

2.      Goods or services you may offer for sale

3.      Where you can sell goods or services

4.      Use of the internet to sell goods or services to customers in and out of your territory and the right of the franchisor (or other franchisees) to use the Internet to solicit customers or to sell in your territory

According to the FTC, these kinds of restrictions may limit your ability to exercise your own business judgment in operating your outlet. That said, if the franchisor does not limit the territory* where each franchisee can sell, the franchisor and other franchisees may compete with you for the same customers, either by establishing their own outlets, or by selling to customers in your area through the Internet, catalogs, telemarketing and the like.

The FDD contains very specific things that have to do with the four items listed above. Make sure you understand what, where and how you can and cannot sell your products and services.

If you engage the services of a competent franchise attorney like I’ve been suggesting over the years, you’ll be able to have a complete understanding of any restrictions that will be placed on you as you move towards becoming your own boss.

* Non-US Government links

 

About the Author:

FranchiseKing
Joel Libava

Guest Blogger

The Franchise King®, Joel Libava, is the author of Become a Franchise Owner! and recently launched Franchise Business University.

Selling into the U.S. as a Foreign Business: Should You Incorporate Your Business Here?

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: February 6, 2013 Updated: August 18, 2015

Do you run an overseas business? Thinking of expanding and selling into the U.S. market?

Because U.S. residency or citizenship is not required, non-U.S. citizens can readily sell into the U.S. However, many overseas business owners aren’t clear on whether they are required to incorporate in the U.S. and the associated tax implications.

Here’s what you need to know:

Should I Incorporate My Business in the U.S.?

Essentially, if your intent is to sell goods into the U.S.—whether online or through U.S. partners such as a wholesaler—you may not have to file for incorporation in the U.S. However, if you plan to have a physical presence in the U.S. (such as an office or employees), then incorporation, whether as a corporation or limited liability corporation (LLC), is worth considering. Likewise, for online businesses in particular, remember that many U.S. consumers feel more confident buying from a registered U.S. business, so that’s another important factor to weigh up.

Each business is different and it’s important to look at incorporation in the context of your overall business goals, state incorporation laws, taxation considerations, as well as your ability to scale and manage that legal entity from overseas.

To understand the factors that might impact your decision, book some time with a good U.S. business attorney who understands both international and U.S. law.

How to Incorporate a Foreign Business in the U.S.

Once you’ve made the decision to incorporate, you’ll need to understand the process.

In the U.S., business incorporation occurs at the state level for all business owners, regardless of whether you are a citizen or a foreign national.

The process will vary from state-to-state, but generally involves two steps: applying to register in that particular state, and establishing a registered agent with a valid address in that state (no P.O. Box numbers). A registered agent can be either the business owner or another person who is authorized to receive legal papers on behalf of the business, such as an attorney or secretary.

What Business Structure Should I Choose?

The most popular choice of business structure for non-U.S. citizens is to form an LLC, although you can also legally form and own shares in a C corporation. Non-U.S. citizens cannot retain shares in an S corporation because business income is reported on personal U.S. income tax returns.

To learn more about choosing the right business structure and how to file for incorporation, check out SBA’s Choose your Business Structure guide. This blog offers more insight: Top 10 Questions About Small Business Incorporation Answered.

Which State Should I Incorporate In?

If most of your clients are concentrated in a specific state or you have an office or physical presence in a state, it may make sense to incorporate there. If you don’t plan on having a physical presence in the U.S., you can form a corporation or LLC in states such as Nevada and Delaware, both of which are considered friendly to foreign companies.

If you operate in more than one state, you can elect to incorporate in any of these states. However, you are required to register your business in the other states in which you operate; this process is called foreign qualification and you can apply for it with the help of a lawyer or online incorporation service. Again, for the best advice, consult a U.S. business attorney who has expertise in both U.S. and international law.

Do I Need to Pay U.S. Taxes?

If you are a non-resident business owner, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will tax you on income that is sourced in the U.S. If your business is incorporated in the U.S., you may also be required to pay an annual fee to the state where your business is incorporated.

The IRS offers a guide specifically on International Business, but if you are still left with more questions, it is always good to check with a qualified attorney or accountant.

U.S. citizens will likely need an Employment Identification Number to start up, a process that requires their social security number (SSN). In the case of foreign businesses, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) will suffice. The IRS issues these 9-digit tax processing numbers to individuals who are required to pay US taxes but who are ineligible for a SSN, including resident and non-resident aliens and foreign nationals.

 

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Making Procurement Better: RFP-EZ

Published: February 4, 2013 Updated: February 4, 2013

 

Note: This post is authored by SBA's Presidential Innovation Fellows - Clay Johnson, Jed Wood, and Adam Becker.
 
This past summer, our team of Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIFs) was challenged by this Administration to—in the span of six months—make it easier for small businesses to sell to the Federal government, and for the Federal government to buy technology from the private sector. Just a few weeks ago, working with our colleagues at the Small Business Administration (SBA), we launched the first iteration of an experiment we think will help make that goal a reality: RFP-EZ.
 
Early on in our project, we discovered that selling to government and government making purchases are two different problems with two unique audiences. The former required us to make it easier to discover new contracts and simplify the bidding process. The latter required streamlining the creation of requests for proposals (RFPs), review of bids, and improved capacity for market research.
 
On one side of the equation, small businesses need tools that make it easier to discover and compete for opportunities. On the other side, government contracting officers (who make purchasing decisions) need tools that streamline their work and ensure they can effectively weigh their options. The RFP-EZ system is a start at addressing both sides of the equation.
 
If you're a web designer or developer, see for yourself. Check out the current RFP-EZ projects and bid on one. You can probably find and bid on a government contract in less than 10 minutes.
 
For contracting or program officers in government, we've streamlined the process of building an RFP. For example, the system has a feature inside of it called SOWComposer, which allows government contracting officers to easily share statements of work (SOWs)—just like developers can share open source code on websites like GitHub. This allows contracting officers to collaborate on templates and share best practices, so they don’t need to reinvent the wheel along with each new procurement. And finally, with RFP-EZ, bids come in all in one place, where they are easily sortable so that contracting officers and program offices can figure out which ones are
the best ones.
 
The best part? RFP-EZ is built entirely as an open source platform. It's built in a PHP framework called Laravel and if you're a developer, you can check out the source code on GitHub. And, if you're a state or local government, this means there's now a freely available procurement marketplace available for you to acquire and deploy.
 
Since its launch just a few weeks ago, more than 200 businesses have signed up to bid, and many of them are completely new to government contracting. RFP-EZ has the potential to save taxpayers substantial amounts of money, improve services by giving government greater access to better technology, and create more jobs by making government more accessible to small businesses—that’s the promise of RFP-EZ.
 
As an added bonus, if you're considering applying for the next round in the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program, you're actually going to use this modified version of RFP-EZ to do it –and all of the tools on the back-end will help PIF project sponsors to better analyze the applicant pool.
 
We’re excited about RFP-EZ, and whether you’re a developer looking for code, a small business looking to sell, or a government office looking to buy—we think you should be too.
 
Clay Johnson, Jed Wood, and Adam Becker are Presidential Innovation Fellows working on RFP-EZ at the Small Business Administration.
 
To learn more about or apply for the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, please visit: WhiteHouse.gov/InnovationFellows

About the Author:

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