“While planning the April outreach event for the Super Bowl LI Business Connect program, everyone was in agreement that in addition to talking about contracting opportunities, it was critically important to stress the value of intentional networking to our audience of independent business owners. Networking is the lifeblood of any local, diverse business community. Laura Morales was the perfect keynote for our event because she lives the Business Connect mantra, which is ‘always bring your A game, make every connection a positive interaction, and work your network.’ BJ Waymer, NFL Business Connect”
As small business owners, we often wear many hats, and running our businesses is definitely challenging. Maintaining a positive cash flow, marketing and business development, mining the base, following up on potential leads, as well as taking care of administrative duties certainly consume a business owner’s time.
One thing which takes a little bit of time, and which many business owners have not maximized, is becoming certified through a local, state, regional or national agency. I learned recently how being certified as a minority and woman-owned business helped give me the opportunity to do business with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee, and it was a terrific opportunity!
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On February 5, 2017 Houston will host Super Bowl LI. In anticipation of this globally-watched event, the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee (HSBHC) has been working hard planning and preparing for what is expected to be an outstanding event. Part of that planning involves giving local, diverse businesses in the Houston area contracting opportunities with the HSBHC and the National Football League (NFL) through Super Bowl LI Business Connect (Business Connect), the NFL’s Super Bowl supplier diversity program.
Through the power of networking, the main topic on which I spoke, I was referred to the HSBHC when they were interested in having a speaker motivate and get business owners excited about potentially winning a contracting opportunity with HSBHC and the NFL. One of the requirements, however, regarding being accepted into the Business Connect program, is that a business must be certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA), the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC), the City of Houston, or the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), or Vets First Verification program because Business Connect is a certified based program. Although being certified does not guarantee that a business will receive a contracting opportunity, it is one of the few criteria for eligibility.
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photo credit: (Craig H. Hartley/For the Chronicle)
During my networking talk, I shared a story about a friend who missed out on an opportunity to potentially do business with the NCAA when the Final Four took place in Houston in March, 2016. Unfortunately, because her business wasn’t certified, it was an immediate disqualifier. That said, if you are a small business owner and have been thinking about getting certified, make the investment in a little bit of time to gather the necessary paperwork and fill out the required forms to become certified. The process of gathering the information can be tedious; however, the potential results can also be rewarding!
That way the next time an opportunity presents itself to provide goods or services to an organization that requires and/or prefers doing business with a certified business, you will at least have a ticket for admission.
To your success!