In the last post regarding small business resources I discussed programs offered by general contractors designed to boost small business participation and provide developmental assistance in kind. This post focuses on programs offered through professional associations targeted at small business utilization and development. In the construction field one of the most well-known advocates of small business is the Society of American Military Engineers, however this post will cover programs offered through associations as well. As a reminder, this not an endorsement of one program over another, but it is meant to serve as an awareness tool for small business owners so they are better informed of available resources. The summaries provided are adapted from the respective associations’ websites, contact the associations below if you would like more information. Information presented is limited to information readily available on the organizations’ websites.
SMACNA website outlines several multi-day programs that would be beneficial to all businesses, but small or emerging businesses might benefit the most.
- Succession Planning – This program touches on the key elements of succession planning and transferring ownership to the next generation such as ownership transfer, defining goals and objectives, leadership development, business valuation, and contingency planning.
- SMACNA Business Management University – The management program is designed specifically for future managers and owners of SMACNA member companies. The program offers opportunities and training on networking, financial management, strategic planning, negotiation, bonding, and leadership.
- SMACNA Financial Boot Camp – This program develops the skills and ability of individuals without a financial background, not currently working in finance, or new to contracting with a better understanding of a firm’s financial situation to improve decisions making.
The ASA does not list a specific program targeted at small businesses, but there is an upcoming program featured to occur during the next conference in New Orleans given by a family business owner designed to share challenges and strategies to advance family businesses.
ABC doesn’t list a specific small business program, but several features of membership might be beneficial to some small businesses. Such as the Accredited Quality Contractors program and the Strategic Partnership Program. As described by ABC the AQC program honors construction firms which have documented their commitment in five key areas of corporate responsibility: quality, safety, training, community relations, and employee benefits. The SPP offers select companies the unique opportunity to forge special relationships with ABC members. (Refer to the AQC hyperlink above for more details)
WBC has a designated Small Business Committee with a charter to expand WBC’s visibility and opportunity to small business and make WBC membership and governance more diverse. The committee also has specific events focused on networking opportunities for small business to meet and interact with other large business members of WBC. WBC has a strong membership program making the events well attended. The committee also conducts periodic training sessions for their small business members.
SAME established a Small Business Council with a detailed charter that outlines the mission and execution of the SBC’s role as an advocate for small businesses. The national committee and the posts SBC carry out a number of activities and events to advance small businesses, but I will outline a couple. The biggest event of the year is the annual Small Business Conference held in various locations around the country. The 2014 conference is scheduled for 8-10 December in Kansas City, MO. Local posts often host small business events designed to offer education and networking opportunities targeted at small businesses. The local events are great venues for small or emerging firms to connect with large businesses to learn about subcontracting opportunities in their specific region.