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Government Contracting Services for Iowa businesses

“Meet the Buyers” Builds Relationships

No one will buy your product or service until they become convinced that it will meet their needs. But before that can happen, potential customers have to somehow learn that you exist and what you can offer. CIRAS wants to help with that. Next month’s “Meet the Buyers” event in Johnston is designed to be … Continue reading “Meet the Buyers” Builds Relationships

A Good Elevator Speech Can Help You Maximize Opportunity

All it takes is a few good seconds to make a positive first impression and grow your business.

However, those few seconds can require hours of preparation to look natural, confident, and enthusiastic. And even then, it doesn’t always work. For example, at most meetings, conferences, and networking events, people are asked to introduce themselves and talk about their company. This is their time to shine! But many miss their chance at free advertising because they are uncomfortable or have trouble explaining what they do or sell.

A Sample of CIRAS Knowledge

CIRAS’ mission is to improve Iowa industry through research-proven best practices. To do that, we have to stay up-to-date on what’s out there and what works.

Here’s a wrap-up of just some of the things we’ve learned over the past year:

Advanced Media Production Firm Seeks Certifications, Growth via GovCon

Terrence Thames wants to play a larger role in his profession and his community.

That’s one of the reasons Thames (at right in photo above) is pressing to grow his small Des Moines advertising agency into a major creative provider for private brands and public organizations around the country.

ALERT: Early Bird Registration Rate for Iowa Vendor Conference ends June 30

CIRAS’ next Iowa Vendor Conference is scheduled for Thursday, August 10 in Des Moines. 

Wondering whether it’s worth your time? Don’t just take our word for it. Here are some of the reviews from business leaders who attended last year’s conference:  

American Coating and Welding Growing Rapidly—With CIRAS by Its Side

CIRAS government contracting specialist Andy Alexander was eating breakfast in downtown Onawa one morning in 2014 when he suddenly came face-to-face with the aspirations of a Monona County sheriff’s deputy.

“He walked in and wanted to know if that was my government car out there,” Alexander recalls. “I thought he was going to give me a ticket.”

Award-winning CIRAS Road Map Helps Companies Navigate Government Contracting

Want to get the most out of CIRAS’ government contracting expertise? A new training schedule launched in January provides companies a step-by-step guide for getting the maximum benefit from CIRAS offerings.

B Fabulous BBQ Uses Government Contracts to Grow Gracefully

For one Iowa restaurant and catering business, the recipe for success so far has included a side of government contracts.

B Fabulous BBQ in Slater has cooked up nearly $100,000 in business from public-sector clients over the last two years, said Deanna Faubus, who owns the company with her husband, Billy. “For a small joint like us, that’s a significant amount of sales.”

Blue-9 Celebrates One-year Anniversary of New Iowa Headquarters

A small Maquoketa company that sells dog training equipment around the world is boosting production and expanding its product offerings—all after CIRAS helped the company arrange important testing and other steps to get it off the ground.

CIRAS Advice Makes Mobilis Home Medical Self-sufficient

Colleen Brabec believes CIRAS has made her smarter about government contracting. Brabec owns Mobilis Home Medical Equipment, a 17-person Council Bluffs company that sells wheelchairs, scooters, and related equipment throughout western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Mobilis used to deliver equipment for U.S. Veterans Administration hospitals in Iowa and Nebraska, but the company lost that contract … Continue reading CIRAS Advice Makes Mobilis Home Medical Self-sufficient

CIRAS Assisting Effort to Improve Iowa’s Targeted Small Business Program

Iowa officials are working to streamline and improve a state preference program for small businesses to make it easier to understand and quicker for companies to access.

CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, May 13, 2016

Happy Friday. Today we bring you news of interest if you’re a taxpaying business in or around Des Moines and various takes on a potential manufacturing PR issue in terms of the industry’s impact on taxpayers as a whole.

Here’s where you find the information:

CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Happy Tuesday. Today’s Digest includes more manufacturing statistics, with a little immigration policy thrown in for variety.

Here are the details:

CIRAS has Economic Impact of $424 million for 2015; $2 Billion over five years

AMES, Iowa  –  The numbers are in, and they continue to show a strong value received by Iowa businesses who have built a relationship with Iowa State University.

CIRAS Helps Avoca Surface Take Smooth First Steps into Government Contracting

It was a quest for help with the paperwork that sent Patrick Richards to the Flying J truck stop in Avoca.

In 2016, Richards was in the beginning stages of creating what would become Avoca Surfaces, a countertop business owned by Richards, his son, and another father-son team. Lori Holste, executive director of the Western Iowa Development Association, suggested that Richards meet with Andy Alexander, a government contracting specialist with CIRAS’ Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP). And a long-term partnership was born.

CIRAS Helps Avoca Surface Take Smooth First Steps into Government Contracting

It was a quest for help with the paperwork that sent Patrick Richards to the Flying J truck stop in Avoca.

 In 2016, Richards was in the beginning stages of creating what would become Avoca Surfaces, a countertop business owned by Richards, his son, and another father-son team. Lori Holste, executive director of the Western Iowa Development Association, suggested that Richards meet with Andy Alexander, a government contracting specialist with CIRAS’ Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP). And a long-term partnership was born.

CIRAS Helps Small Business Land More than $329K in Government Contracts

From the beginning, when Jeanie Waters launched 3rd Degree Screening in Council Bluffs in 2012, she knew that its success would require both commercial and government contracts. Waters, whose company provides background checks, drug tests, and field investigation services for clients worldwide, turned to CIRAS for help with the government part.

“The overall value [of CIRAS] is in learning the process and having educated support throughout,” Waters said. “You keep building on what you know and you build off your CIRAS representative.”

CIRAS Networking Helps Express Employment Make Good Matches

Connections created through CIRAS networking events and hands-on assistance have helped a Cedar Rapids-based recruitment company grow during the past year.

Express Employment Professionals is a full-service staffing agency specializing in the industrial, administrative, IT, and engineering fields. Michele Oswood, owner of the Cedar Rapids franchise, said her company’s client base has doubled since she purchased the business in February 2016.

CIRAS Networking: A New Focus in 2018

As the old saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know.

Thanks to Google, online forums, and social networking sites, a lot of people will tell you that old saying is out of date. Our experience at CIRAS is that it is more true than ever. Searching the web for solutions to problems is great, but sometimes it is the personal connection that makes it real, and helps you implement real change within your business.

CIRAS PTAC Team Praised by Peers for Making a Difference

CIRAS government contracting specialists have earned praised from their peers for having a tremendous impact both on the Iowa economy and on the communities where they live.

CIRAS PTAP—Iowa’s Local Link to a National Network of Contracting Expertise

Government contracting is a byzantine business—a long and plodding trek through a jungle filled with complicated regulation, documentation, and new marketing challenges.

Sound impossible? It’s not. But no smart explorer launches a trip through the jungle without finding a good guide. CIRAS exists to serve as that guide for Iowa businesses. Many Iowa businesses have known this for a long time.

What Iowans may not know, however, is how much knowledge and experience is available to back up the CIRAS government contracting team if the way proves complicated for your particular business.

CIRAS PTAP—Link to National Network of Contracting Expertise

Government contracting is a byzantine business—a long and plodding trek through a jungle filled with complicated regulation, documentation requirements, and new marketing challenges.

Sound impossible? Not if you have help.

CIRAS Seeks to Empower Government Contractors

The government sector is a vast ocean of possibility for Iowa businesses, but the waters can run treacherous if you don’t understand how it works.

To help with that, CIRAS experts have created a daylong training event to help Iowa companies take a deep dive into the world of government contracting and delve into advanced teaming strategies for business development.

CIRAS Service Highlight: Growth

You hear it a lot around Iowa:  

      “I want to double in size in the next 5 years.” 

     “I just need one new OEM customer.”     

CIRAS’ Second Annual Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

We make some really cool things in Iowa.

Most of them (like a robotic system from Acieta) aren’t very practical gifts. But when you produce as much as we do here in Iowa, there are tons of great gifts.

Claim Technologies: Finding New Opportunities in GovCon

In the beginning, it was the pursuit of higher peaks that sent Randy Brandt to CIRAS.

Brandt’s employer, Claim Technologies Incorporated (CTI) of Des Moines, audits self-funded health plans to check for overpayments and administrative oversight. The company has worked with all sizes of private companies, school districts, and municipalities, as well as 16 state governments. But before 2018, the firm had only had two federal contracts.

Clark Boats Uses GSA Schedule to Buoy Government Sales

Kristy Carrier looked around one day and realized she was drowning.

Did You Know… About the SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program?

Surety bonds help small businesses win construction, supply, and service contracts by providing the customer with a guarantee the work will be completed. Many contracts require surety bonds, which are offered by surety companies. Becoming bondable is like applying for bank credit. The requirements include a review of the technical and managerial ability, financial statements, and credit resources of the small business. Small businesses often struggle to meet some (or all) of the minimum qualifications.

Did you know there is a program to help small businesses get started with bonding or increase their current bonding capacity? 

Did you know… What a Purchasing Consortium is?

If not, you might be missing important contracting opportunities. Many state and local organizations use purchasing consortia to obtain goods and services.

A purchasing consortium – also referred to as cooperative purchasing, or a “GPO” (Group Purchasing Organization) – is a mechanism by which multiple organizations with similar purchasing needs band together to better leverage their buying power and achieve more favorable terms and pricing from vendors. Such consortia also reduce the workload for their members by eliminating duplication of effort in issuing solicitations and managing contracts for the same good/service.

Did you Know…?: Hurricane Disaster Contracting

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting a 35% chance of above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic for the 2018 hurricane season (June 1 – November 30).  The disastrous 2017 hurricane season had companies scrambling to position themselves for a piece of the “recovery” pie.  

Did You Know…CYBERSECURITY MATTERS!!?

It seems that one term is hot on the minds of government contractors these days: CYBERSECURITY!!

Did You Know? – Week of Dec 15: Reflection, Goals, and Onward!

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is rapidly coming to a close. In a few weeks, we will be celebrating the New Year!

Do you ever take time to reflect on your successes and failures? I encourage you, during this month, to think back to goals you set for 2018. Did you achieve them? Did you fall short? What lessons have you learned?

Did You Know? Elevator Speeches Matter

At most meetings, conferences, and networking events people are asked to introduce themselves and talk about their company.  This is their time to shine – it’s like free advising!  But because they are uncomfortable or have trouble explaining what they do or sell, they miss a perfect opportunity to position themselves for success.  The answer to this is to have a prepared elevator speech.

Did you know? … About NAICS

The North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS (pronounced “Nakes”), was developed under the direction and guidance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It’s the standard way that federal statistical agencies classify business establishments for the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of statistical data describing the U.S. economy.

Did You Know?… FedBizOpps is going away

FedBizOpps currently is the federal government’s website (www.fbo.gov) for posting all procurement opportunities with a value of more than $25,000.

By the end of next year, it will disappear. The system, along with several other government acquisition systems managed by the General Services Administration, are gradually being rolled into one new site. 

DID YOU KNOW?… Federal Agencies use the SPA

No, this isn’t an article about spring water or hot tubs!  “SPA” stands for “Simplified Purchase Agreement,” a method of purchasing set up by the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and available to use by various federal agencies for their printing needs.  As an alternative to relying on the GPO for soliciting their opportunities, agencies typically find SPA procedures to be more relaxing (see what I did there?).

Did you know?… How to Sell to Iowa Public Schools

Have you ever thought of selling your goods and services to an Iowa public school system?  A lot of money is spent in education, and districts take their spending responsibilities very seriously. There are 367 school districts throughout Iowa. Selling to a school district may be a potential opportunity for your company, but first you need to know your customer.  

Did You Know?… Subcontracting Expands your Government Sales

Subcontracting opportunities can be a lucrative avenue in the government sector, which allows businesses to participate in government contracting without dealing directly with the government.

Why subcontracting? The federal contracts that are awarded to prime contractors often come with subcontracting plans containing goals for doing a percentage of the work with small businesses.

DID YOU KNOW?: Building Relationships While Prospecting for Business

There are many things affecting your business that you can’t control. Did you know that your personal attitude is something you can control? Your attitude affects the way you approach people and circumstances in business. Choosing to approach potential customers positively, confidently, enthusiastically, and with a helpful attitude – even when you’re tired, stressed, or frustrated – may help improve your sales and grow your business.

Did You Know?  Information is Power   

Did you know that CIRAS has access to several training resources, systems, and databases that can assist you and your business with government contracting free of charge?  We’ve also just acquired access to a new system that allows us to see city/county/state spending data, similar to how we can see federal data. 

Here’s a recap of some of these resources:

Did you know?… How to Sell to Iowa Public Schools

Summer is ending, which means parents everywhere are beginning to shop for Back To School. Have you ever considered what may be on the school’s shopping list?

Did You Know?…. Contracting with Local Governments

One key market for selling your products/services involves local governments – the host of towns, cities, and counties located throughout Iowa.

Normally, the first step in doing business with local governments is to contact the municipal clerk, the county auditor, or the city Procurement Office/county Purchasing Department. This can be accomplished by personally visiting their offices to learn about their bid opportunities. If that’s not practical, you can research their websites for notices and submit your bid online/email. Or, you can simply email your company capability statement to each government’s Point of Contact (POC). 

Did You Know?…. The DUNS® Number Is On Its Way Out

If you’ve done any work in with the federal government (either as a vendor or grantee) you most likely have been required to register for a proprietary DUNS number through Dun & Bradstreet. The DUNS number, which was created in 1962, has been the official verification number for entities to register with the Federal Government since 1998 (once it was codified by the Federal Acquisition Regulation, aka FAR).

DID You Know…the Three Steps to Government Contracting?

The government contracting journey can be very challenging. Companies have to do their homework and not rest on the notion that, if they are registered on SAM or state/local agencies, they will be “discovered” by government customers. The registration system is a useful tool for a government agency to conduct market research, bid notifications, etc. But this is NOT a game of, “They’re supposed to buy from us because we’re a set-aside, a TSB, etc.”

ePATHUSA pursues Government Contracting on the Path to Growth

Hari Nallure views his relationship with the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) sort of like he’s found a trusted advisor.

EVENT ALERT: Midwest Government Contracting Symposium, May 23-24

Are you a business in Construction, IT, Manufacturing, Manufacturing Support or Professional Services who is interested in strengthening its Government Contracts footprint?  Are you interested in connecting with government agencies situated on the Rock Island Arsenal?

Then you should be at the 11th Annual Midwest Government Contracting Symposium, May 23 and 24 in Moline, Illinois.

Global Security Services Follows CIRAS, Finds Abundant Opportunities

A Davenport security company expects to take in more than $17 million over the next five years from new government contracts it landed after the firm’s newly hired business development person spent roughly five months working closely with CIRAS.

GOV TALK: How the Government Saves a Place for Small Businesses

Small businesses are expected to always have a place in government contracting.

United States policy, per the Small Business Act and other subsequent legislation, says the maximum practical op­portunity must be provided to all small business categories. The president annually establishes government-wide goals declaring the minimum percentage of prime contracts that should go to businesses in the following categories:

Government Contracting Specalist Spotlight: Andy Alexander

CIRAS government contracting specialists know a lot about Iowa businesses. Here are a few questions and answers to help you learn a little more about them: 

Government Contracting Specialist Spotlight: Beth White

CIRAS government contracting specialists know a lot about Iowa businesses. Here are a few questions and answers to help you learn a little more about them:

Government Contracting Tip: Meet the U.S. Defense Commissary Agency

FYI, WE’RE SKIPPING CIRAS DIGEST TODAY IN THE INTEREST OF SHARING ANOTHER TIP FROM BETH WHITE FOR NAVIGATING THE WORLD OF GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING. HERE’S BETH:

Did you know that there is a littler known agency within the Department of Defense that provides food and other household products for military families, with the major mission to improve their quality of life?

Government Contracting: It’s not just a bidding thing

(ED. NOTE: CIRAS’ government contracting specialists try to offer their clients weekly tips for boosting business. This latest is from contracting specialist Beth White.)

Did You Know that there are a lot of ways to do business with an agency other than just waiting for a bid opportunity?

Government Contracting: Tips for Surviving the Shutdown

Over the weekend, the partial government shutdown passed into record-setting territory in terms of length. The CIRAS PTAC staff knows that this likely is causing some elevated blood pressure among clients which existing government contracts, and we’d like to do what we can to help.

So how worried should you be?

GOVTALK — Meeting With Government Agencies

Many government contracting professionals operate at arm’s length so they can remain unbiased and avoid the appearance of impropriety. But building relationships is critical to securing government business, especially on smaller-dollar purchases that don’t require public bidding. Face-to-face meetings are the perfect way to establish a relationship with an agency.

GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: All-Small Mentor-Protégé Program can Open New Doors

Small businesses that sell products or services to the government received a new tool for growth last fall when the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launched its new All-Small Mentor-Protégé Program.

The program, which expanded on capabilities that previously existed for Certified 8(a) disadvantaged businesses, essentially put all small businesses on a higher level of competiveness by making them viable bidders for larger-scale federal contracts.

How to Create Your Own Elevator Speech

A quick, easy way to create your elevator speech is to review your capability statement, drawing ideas from your core capabilities and differentiators. Or you could perform the following steps:

HUBZone Firms Seek to Seize Attention of Agencies, Prime Contractors

Steve Belland and Moe Abu-Nameh have gone the extra mile to give federal government agencies and their prime contractors a reason to work with the duo’s Hiawatha trucking company.

Now, the Iowans just need to find the right match.

HUBZones – Everything you need to know

Did you know that at the end of 2016 and in early 2017 there were map changes to the qualified HUBZone areas throughout the U.S., including Iowa?

Iowa has a number of counties that have increased areas that are now HUBZone qualified!

IMPACT: CIRAS and its Partners Sparked Improvement by the Billions

CIRAS projects have a big impact on Iowa and its communities.

Over the last five years, we’ve helped Iowa companies invest, expand sales and avoid costs to the tune of more than $2 billion.

Iowa Vendor Conference Answers Questions, Offers Guidance

Mark Baker eventually concluded that government contracting was worth a shot.

No, the CEO of Des Moines-based Endless Supplies Corporation acknowledged, it was probably not going to become his company’s primary business strategy. Becker still has difficulty reconciling the fast-moving, products-always-changing world of information technology with sometimes-lengthy government procurement processes. But after a full day at the Iowa Events Center last fall spent hopping between educational presentations and asking questions of the speakers, Becker concluded that Endless Supplies ought to at least get certified so his company can show that it’s ready and able to do business with the government.

Iowa Vendor Conference Answers Questions, Offers Guidance

Mark Baker eventually concluded that government contracting is worth a shot.

No, the CEO of Des Moines-based Endless Supplies Corporation acknowledged, it’s probably not going to be his company’s primary business strategy. Becker still has difficulty reconciling the fast-moving, products-always-changing world of information technology with sometimes-lengthy government procurement processes. But after a full day at the Iowa Events Center spent hopping between educational presentations and asking questions of the speakers, Becker concluded that Endless Supplies ought to at least get certified so his company can show that it’s ready and able to do business with the government.

Iowa Vendor Conference Plants the Seeds for Government Contracting Success

Shawn Frey saved everything the speakers handed out at last August’s Iowa Vendor Conference, eventually creating his own training binder filled with various tips and shortcuts for navigating the byzantine world of government contracting.

It was valuable stuff.

Attending that conference, an annual event sponsored by CIRAS’ Procurement Technical Assistance Program, “definitely was a catalyst for me learning to talk to government entities about tool-kitting,” Frey said.

Nearly one year later, Frey, director of business development for Tool Keepers Foam and Etch, a tool kit manufacturing company in Fairfield, has grown more aggressive in pursuing government sales. Subcontract work that used to come in re-actively is now being proactively pursued. Tool Keepers has developed key relationships and made connections that they expect to lead to valuable opportunities in the future.

Iowa Vendor Conference: Helping Businesses Start/Step-up Their Government Contracting

C.J. Sparks came to the Iowa Events Center on Thursday get to the lay of the land.

“My company doesn’t currently do anything in government contracting, but we always talked about it,” said Sparks, head of a software firm named The Sparks Solution. “This seemed like a good way to get started.”

Learn the Secrets of “Writing Federal Proposals”

Government contracting is a complicated and detailed process with many precise steps that must be followed. For companies that are new to the government sector, it sometimes can be overwhelming.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to practice before you submitted that first bid?

We thought so, too.

Learning the Rules of the Federal Sales Game

Selling your product or service to the federal government can be a confusing prospect: You catch a glimpse of what appears to be a lucrative future sitting on the horizon, but the path to that goal is blocked by a confusing mass of questions that need to be answered before you can get there.

Polo Custom Products—Using CIRAS as a Compass to Grow Government Business

For Mary Phelan, it all boils down to CIRAS being a sounding board she can trust.

Phelan, program manager for government and defense at Polo Custom Products in Monticello, has been working closely with the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) for roughly two years.

PTAP TIPS: New Options May Be on Horizon for Small-Business Mentoring

(ICYMI, here’s another in CIRAS’ series of “Did You Know?” informational guides authored by the experts with our Procurement Technical Assistance Program. Their purpose is to help guide businesses through the world of government contracting. Check the end of the story for contract information.)

Did you know that the U.S. Small Business Administration is working on a new program that will allow all types of small businesses to have a mentor protégé agreement (MPA) and potential joint ventures with other businesses, even large businesses?

PTAP TIPS: Tell Us What You Can Do

The specialists in CIRAS’ Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) exist to help Iowa businesses understand what it takes to sell to the government.

One of the key things necessary to succeed in to government contracting is a capability statement. A good one includes the following information:

SAM Serves as Key Step in Selling to Government

The government must keep going, in good times and in bad.

Many small businesses that are involved in government contracting have learned that this stability means federal, state, and local government agencies can be a tremendous and steady source of income. And it’s a market that exists for more than just major-league defense contractors. Small business owners are sometimes astonished when they realize they are capable of supplying a product or service that the government needs.

SAM Suspects Fraudulent Activity in the System

If you’re a government contractor, you may have recently received a suspicious-looking email with the subject line “ALERT: Bank Account Change Detected for COMPANY NAME / DUNS / CAGE  in the U.S. Government’s System for Award Management (SAM)”?

The first thing you need to know is that the email was legit.

Season’s Greetings from CIRAS

Hope you and yours have a joyous holiday season. Here’s a message from our director:

Sept. 26 is National PTAC Day to celebrate GovCon success

For 33 years, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) have helped expand the number of small businesses that successfully compete for and win federal, state, and local government contracts. This month, PTACs from around the country are coming together for one special day to celebrate the success of the tens of thousands of small businesses who have benefitted from training and technical assistance delivered by their local PTACs.

So you want to sell to the government? Then, come see us April 7.

Have you ever wonder what it would be like to sell to the government? Wonder who to contact or how that process works?

If so, you may want to attend CIRAS’ 2nd annual Iowa Vendor Conference, which is coming up next week. It’ll be April 7 in Ankeny from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

STAFF NEWS: Justin Niceswanger is a Government Contracting Specialist

Justin Niceswanger has joined CIRAS as a government contracting specialist with the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). He will be based out of a CIRAS office in Clive and will serve business owners who are located inside the city of Des Moines.

STAFF NEWS: Samantha Ferm is a Government Contracting Specialist

Samantha Ferm has joined CIRAS as a government contracting specialist with the Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP). She will be based out of Iowa City and will serve the southeast portion of the state.

Ten Myths of Government Contracting – by Beth White

Government Contracting, or stated more simply “selling to the government” at any level; Federal, State and Local, is enough to make many business owners cringe at the thought.  “Too much red tape, good ole boy’s club” are some common thoughts, but all in all it is many times thought of as being a market that is just not worth the perceived headache. 

While selling to the government, just like any business endeavor, may not be for everyone, it is certainly a market to consider if you want to diversify your revenue stream.  To assist in the initial consideration of the market, we would like to take a stab at some of the myths surrounding working with the government. Some are promoting working with the government, some provide a more “realistic view” and some are taken straight from the government’s mouth…but all will provide an honest perspective that will help you make informed decisions about working with these customers.

Theisen Cleaners Grows by Systematically Soliciting Sales

Theisen Cleaners was born in 2016 when Jamie Theisen, after many years spent cleaning houses for herself and various employers, decided to launch a new residential cleaning service. Her husband, Joe Theisen, eventually joined her. By 2017, the couple was thinking of expanding the effort, possibly by branching out and cleaning area businesses.

Third Annual Conference Showcases Opportunities to Grow Through Government Contracting

Want to better understand how to do business in the government sector? The third annual Iowa Vendor Conference on August 23 at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines is a full-day event that can help you and leaders in your business tap into the wealth of opportunities that federal, state, and local government contracting offers. Through a variety of workshops, you can learn to identify new potential customers, find opportunities called Simplified Ac­quisitions, actually understand the various questions in www.SAM.gov registration, and network with key contracting personnel, buyers, and exhibitors. Key­note speaker Guy Timberlake, chief visionary officer and CEO of The American Small Business Coalition, will discuss “Getting Your Foot in the Door” dur­ing the conference and will provide a free half-day “Competitive Intelligence Bootcamp” on August 24.

Tortilleria Sonora Steps Out on Path to Food Safety Certification

Life began moving faster after Betty Garcia got the phone call.

It was the fall of 2017, and a Des Moines-area produce company was planning to launch a line of ready-to-eat meals. The company was wondering whether Tortilleria Sonora would be interested in supplying tortillas. First, there were a few questions about the business. Would Garcia mind filling out a questionnaire?

Upcoming Webinars: Successful Conferences and Capability Statements

Are you showing potential customers the best version of your company?

Capability statements are a key component of any government marketing plan and should be one of your main marketing materials for government customers. Capability statements act as a resume of your business, including all important information that a potential government customer would rely on for market research. 

UPCOMING: Veterans Breakfast, Corridor Business Development Expo

Attention veterans, business owners, and veteran business owners in the Cedar Rapids area: CIRAS would like to help fill both your minds and bodies on April 11.

CIRAS is hosting a special Veterans Breakfast on that day beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the Kirkwood Hotel in Cedar Rapids – immediately preceding the Corridor Business Development Expo.

Want help finding your “competi-mate”?

Sometimes, if the business is too big to handle, you just need to find a partner.

Winning Proposals Start with Understanding RFPs

Success in government contracting requires that you convince a government agency that you’re the best choice to fill any particular need. To get there, you have to know how the system works, who to deal with, what the rules are, and how to cast yourself in the best possible light.

CIRAS is planning a special event this spring to help you understand all of that.

With CIRAS’ Help, Air Control Seeks to Breathe New Life into Government Sales

By all accounts, it was a successful first date.

Mary Connell, president of Clinton-based Air Control/ACI Fab­ricators, attended an annual Midwest NDIA (National Defense Industrial Association) conference because CIRAS asked her to in its capacity as the company’s “matchmaker.” And she found a new business opportunity.

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