Hoop Dreams? Selling to the Government

 

 

Love paperwork? Get Certified and Start Selling to the Government.

jumping-through-hoops Selling to government
So after you read my blog post, Want to sell to the government? Cra, cra, you went ahead down the darkened staircase and gave registering with the government a try.  Going through the treacherous process, where there were moments where even hardened warriors were brought to tears, the finish line was crossed and you collapsed exhausted but so happy when you finally, finally got; “Congratulations! Your business is officially registered!”
Now boys and girls, it’s time to get your business certified!
So this is how it went down but not really since I’m still in the application process phase. No matter what government agency you decided to bid on, there will be a large pool of companies vying, like you, to be the chosen ones. Small companies competing with the large corporations, bidding for the same contracts. So the government entities felt that to even the playing field they would give some of the contracts to companies that might be certified as an alphabet soup.
You got your DBE: Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, and the DVBE: Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises, and LGBTBE: Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Business Enterprises and WOSB: Women Owned Small Business and lastly, but not really, SBE: Small Business Enterprise.

The advantage is two-fold.  One, there’s a quota that has to be met where government departments have to give a portion of their upcoming projects to businesses that are disadvantaged in some way.The other fold, depending what certification route you go, when it’s bidding time, they make yours look enticing by lowering your bid by a certain percentage. For instance, you might bid $10,000 and if you’re certified for, say DVBE, they will lower your bid by 1.5%. Showing $8,500 will probably attract more clients and you get to keep the difference if you win the bid.

And that, my friend is how I ended up in this spider web.
Owning a small business, there are certain hoops I’m willing  to jump through to get that precious certification and compete with the big players. But the hoops! There are many and getting through them all is a test of wits.
I understand they want undisputed proof of what kind of business is being vetted to protect against fraud. But the laundry list of documents that has to be submitted, from years of tax filing, to work history to getting notarized of gender. Yup, you read right, Prove Your Gender. My recommendation to all of you who own a young company, do it now. Don’t wait. The paper work is long and tedious but from what I’m hearing from the older companies, they have a much harder time since they have many more years of paperwork to submit.
If any of you live in the Golden State and have a question or an experience you want to share just type it below and I will sprinkle it with Helpful Dust.
Now where did I put my notarized gender letter?

 

RobandDeb

Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AXbean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AXbean.com.

Editing on Periscope, Check it out

Editing a video on Periscope

Robert is creating and editing a Microsoft Excel training video and wanted to let you all in to see the making of one of our videos on Periscope.
The finished video is a visual companion of a blog post titled “What you see is not what gets printed.”
Got only a limited time to eyeball it. Below is the link. And thanks in advance for watching.

 

RobandDeb

Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AXbean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AXbean.com.

Want to sell to the government? Cra Cra

Selling to the government worth the frustration?

Selling to govenment
Photo credit vid.io
Here’s a thought that I had a while back that I’m hoping won’t be the biggest time waster for my small business is selling our services to the government. It sounds so easy, just register and you will get to bid on projects and generate income. I have no laughter in me after writing that statement. Register for what. Crazy me, I thought there was one registry for all types of government levels, city, county, state, and federal that I imagined to be called “All Government Bids” or something like that. That would be a fat, NO.
Take for instance, my business is in Sacramento, California. I want to do business with the city, county, and state. I naively believed that I could register at one website and ta da, there would be bids from those entities, but as insane as it is in reality, each agency at every level has decided not to play with each other and have a registry website of their own.  Want to do business with the county? Register with PublicPurchase. Hankering to do biz with the city, there’s PlanetBids. Feel the need to pull your hair? The State of California has different ones depending on which departments you want to sell to.
And that my friend is only the beginning if you want to jump into the rabbit hole. Each registry bid website might require different documents. Some are extensive and very personal, whether about you, your business, taxes, the employees, and possibly a dance routine. And the really fun part are the websites that don’t have that knack to be user-friendly.
“Why doesn’t it accept the business address and only allows the number one,” asking support one day, “Silly, if you are a small business, you put the address somewhere else. “Then why doesn’t it say so on the page?” My poor poor hair. And if you’re lucky every page will have an anomaly. So if you have tons of time and you’re looking to do a DIY do, join me in the rabbit hole. In my next post: “Still got hair? Government certifications”.

 

RobandDeb

Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AXbean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AXbean.com.

Excel In 2-D

The many sides of Microsoft Excel

Excel in 2-D. Adding Machine

How many of you realize that Excel in its basic form is a two-dimensional bit of software and that human error can be prevented if treating Excel as such?

While Excel can be user-friendly with its ready-made templates and the litany of tools, all that freedom doesn’t mean you’ll always end up with what you want.  Remember that it’s two parts that make up this bit of software.  The top part which is the screen that you see on your monitor and clicking away here and there, moving this and typing that. And then there’s the background part or behind the curtain where all the mechanisms and settings are allowing you to do that stuff…up to a point that is. Avoid getting a sense of comfort when working on a spreadsheet that if a mistake was about to be made, up pops a message that might say “Hey you there! You might think that cut and paste you just did is a great idea, but sorry to say, it might cost you a trip to the boss’s office, so let’s rethink that plan.”

Many errors can be avoided if you remember  that a simple cut and paste won’t destroy your totals if you know that there are times when you need to go behind the curtain and make a change so you will get an accurate reading.  Think of it this way,  Excel is like a souped up adding machine. An adding machine has switches to move things like decimal points.  And what happens when you’re adding numbers with decimals and the total is a nice pretty round number?  A switch has to be moved. Excel is the same way. There’s a simple cut and paste and there’s a simple cut and paste that will make you see the errors of your ways. Now it’s time to dust off that old adding machine.

RobandDeb

Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AXbean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AXbean.com.

What you see is not what gets printed

What is seen on screen doesn’t always match the printed version

To_Operate_Donkeys. Ghost of the printed page

I know that no software program is perfect, but there are times in Microsoft Access that there’s a lingering feeling that there has been hidden roadblocks purposely put in the program to make you want to continually hit your head against the wall. One such event that dented a particular spot in the drywall was a  screenshot of an online form that we needed to email to a client. The problem that came up, was the image and the buttons in the Access form that was created would not show in the screenshot. Looking and poking around in the labyrinth of functions it was finally found what was needed to change and my head was happy. So I will pass along the details so you will not suffer the same fate.

How to get graphics on a form to print
Open the Form in Access
Set to Form Design
Click on the graphic
In properties, make sure “Display When” is set to “Always” and “picture Type” is “Embedded”
Save and Print
How to get buttons on a form to print
Open the Form in Access
Set to Form Design
Click on the button.
In Button properties, change “Use Theme” to “No”
Save and Print

 

RobandDeb

Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AXbean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AXbean.com.

Introvert and the dreaded sales

A Business introvert is never have to do sales. Yeah right.

Mouse. A business introvert
Okay, I admit it, I’m a full blow introvert. And here I am running a business when I rather work behind my laptop. So of course, the one thing I dread more than any part of running a business is going out and promoting AXbean.
Selling has never been my strong suit. There are two people in my family that have the sales genes, my mother and one of my brothers.  Unfortunately they live in another state because if they didn’t, I would seriously ask them to do this horrible task for me.
There are many reasons why my palms start to sweat at even the thought of doing this. The feeling I’m intruding on someone’s time. The ambush they must suddenly feel when they realize I’m trying to sell them my service. Oh, don’t forget the stupor. The nervousness that sets in and what seems like an eternity, my mouth just hangs open.
I readily admit that I’m a certified introvert.  I’m more comfortable helping people with their projects if they came to me instead of me seeking their business. But our livelihood can’t survive with me being a wallflower. Going out into the world and meeting strangers has helped to get AXbean promoted.

I would love to rely on just social media for marketing but that’s unrealistic. Having a home based business that stands out among the many takes face to face action. That’s the reality of a long and successful business. So, if you see my mouth stuck open, be a dear and close it.

RobandDeb

Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AxBean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AxBean.com.

Marriage of Construction and Data

Industry entering the 21st with data analysis

Weddind, Contruction and data

Originally I didn’t think of how much data technology is used in construction. Recently we spoke to Tracy, Senior Contract Services Officer with the State Department of General Services, who informed us that actually there is quite a lot of data mining and analysis in the construction field these days, especially with budgets and timelines getting tighter.  This article seems to confirm that premise about the data revolution taking over the vast construction industry. Enjoy.

RobandDeb

Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert are owners of AxBean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AXBean.com.

Mini story on Excel vs Access

Excel is popular but ignoring Access may not be so smart

The more I know about Access, the less I understand why Excel is so popular.

Excel vs Access comparison. Closet
Inside of a cluttered database?

Let’s say you want to add more accessories to your wardrobe, so you’re choosing between two closet organizers: Excel The Expensive and Access The Easy.

Now all of your friends are CRAZY about Excel, though you’re really not sure why, so Mr. Expensive Excel is your first choice.

To make room for the new stuff, Excel wants to take everything out and rearrange the whole closet. Then YOU will have to decide what scarf goes with what outfit, etc. Depending on how big your closet is, you could miss a great combination, and if you’re not careful, a good outfit could get left out. Plus it takes a lot of time, so it costs you more money.

Access The Easy says he will add the new items without redoing the whole closet, and automatically update the related outfits faster and easier. He will save you time and money, and you know nothing is getting stuck in the back behind the sweaters.

RobandDeb

Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AxBean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AXBean.com.

Downtown parking using Excel

Using basic Excel to find a downtown parking space

Sacramento Downtown Parking
Sacramento Downtown Parking

Heading to downtown Sacramento to get some lunch. My inner Excel turns on as I enter the rows and columns of numbers and letters. Using my memory of past visits with finding not only the closest parking space, different meter times and the time of day. Being close to the lunch hour, my inner data analyst voice realizes that getting a prime spot is wishful thinking. And with limited time on my hands and since it was lunchtime for everyone on the planet, I calculated a golden parking space a couple blocks away with a one hour meter. Go Excel!

 

AXbean Owners

Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AxBean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AxBean.com.

Mr. Bunny Does Data Analysis

Using Mr. Bunny to explain how data analysis works

mr bunny. data analysisGetting myself more familiar with what Access and Excel can do for businesses. I know there will be a time when someone will ask “what’s the deal with information technology and why is it so darn special?” So with my, ahem master art skills, I created  a simple way to explain the world of data analysis. Please enter the magical world of Mr. Bunny. Please note there’s a 10 second lag time between pages. Enjoy!
Click here.

 

AXbean OwnersDebbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AxBean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat. Find out more at AxBean.com.