For a general contractor operating in the federal arena there are a multitude of elements that make up a small business program. Several important items that should make up the foundation to your program are vision and mission statements, tangible objectives, and functions for the program with buy-in at every level from the CEO and below. In essence this is the framework for a Small Business Center of Excellence (SBCOE) that provides a road map for success beginning from the C-suite down to the project teams in field.
Establishment of a small business center of excellence SBCOE does not involve the creation of extraneous bureaucracy; rather it allows a smaller team to operate more efficiently. Regardless of the structure used to manage a small business program the vision, mission, objectives, and functions should be compatible with goals and objectives of the government’s.
The mission statement can be written in a straightforward manner with plain language effectively delivering the organization’s goals and aid employees in their decision making processes. Something as simple as: “Our Challenge is to position ABC Company as the industry leader in small business utilization on its federal projects consistent with our corporate values.”
Similarly, a vision statement does not need to be complicated or profound, but it needs to be well crafted since it serves as the framework for employees to work within. For example “Build an environment with ABC Company in which employees recognize the benefit of small businesses and engage them as a valued partner in project execution…”
The objectives of the program outline with more specificity what it will achieve. A couple of examples are:
- To build or maintain a standardized corporate small business program which increases small business utilization while expanding the capabilities of our small business partners within the local communities we operate.
- To train our employees to more effectively search and employ small businesses to the maximum extent possible.
It is important to outline the functions of what the small business personnel will do, this promotes consistency across project teams and business units within a company. Several examples of functions the small business team can fill include:
- Publish and maintain a corporate Small Business Program Manual.
- Provide technical experts to draft the small business participation plan and subcontracting plan for all proposals.
- Accomplish all small business reporting requirements.
- Build and maintain relationships with the small business community to include PTACs, SBA Commercial Market Representatives, and small business subcontractors.
- Provide internal and external training.
- Manage all active Mentor-Protégé agreements.
While there are numerous responsibilities and a never ending stream of compliance issues, there are plenty of resources to help SBLOs. A future post will include a review of the numerous resources that are available and the assistance they can provide.