By Terri Roeslmeier

May 4, 2009

By now, I am sure you’ve seen enough articles and have heard plenty of news reports about the “recovery”. It’s been a very significant subject for the past several months. Although it has gotten a bit old, it still has a nice sound to it because it represents renewed growth and hope for the future. But what does this mean for you?

You may have gone to the government website, www.recovery.gov, in order to attempt to procure some answers to this question. This site contains a wealth of information relating to both personal and business benefits that are available. It also offers detailed memos and reports that relate to how funds will be distributed, agency by agency. Regular updates occur specifying how funds are being spent.

Another section of this site links to FedBizOpps.gov which lists financial opportunities offered by the federal government. You can see contracting opportunities, who was awarded the contract, etc. Next, there is a link to the Grants.gov site which features grants from 26 federal agencies that organizations can search and apply for. In addition, through the link to GovLoans.gov and GovBenefits.gov you can find out about federal loans and benefits that you may be eligible to receive. Another key component is the link to State Recovery Sites that explains how states are going to be spending their recovery funding money. You can find out about projects that will be contracted within your state.

What is significant about the government recovery site is that you can use it for part of your strategy for recovery of your own business. Most possibly, your business will not qualify to be a direct contractor for any of the federal or state contracts. However, by scoping out the types of projects and who is being awarded the projects, you can structure a marketing plan that focuses on those businesses. Chances are that businesses that obtain a large contract will be in need of additional help which could be anything from clerical to IT to industrial workers. That’s where you come in.

Local projects could be important to you. Perhaps a local school needs help in setting up a new network. Reading and being familiar with the work that will be done can provide you with a significant edge in addressing the needs. You can be knowledgeable when you place the marketing call and when you prepare a proposal. Many projects may come into fruition quickly because additional funding is being provided for solid projects that have already been initiated. For new projects, perhaps there may be opportunities in research & development for various agencies as they decide which areas will need to be addressed.

Begin by researching opportunities. It is some work to get through the various sites and it could take several clicks in order to obtain some useful information. For state sites, information is only as good as the website your state offers. Certain states offer more updated information than others. Many states have added recovery components to their website that address recovery opportunities available for the specific state. In addition, since the programs are relatively new, projects may not yet be posted so make sure that you check sites at different times to ensure that you have not missed anything. Many of the state sites link to other sites such as universities, state agencies, etc. The research process can be intense but at the same time may prove to provide some nice bonuses. Research will not be a one-time thing but it can yield good results.

Start building a database of opportunities. Whether it is an actual government entity or businesses that have contracted with the government, try to input as much information as possible on your resource so that you can market to them. Many of the project sites list businesses that received the contract as well as contact names and phone numbers for that business. Sometimes just being aware of a project can put you on the path of possibilities. If a project is taking place in a specific area, perhaps surrounding businesses (although not directly contracted) will benefit and need extra employees. Document as much information as possible into your staffing software database. You can even focus on getting information and resumes from employees who may satisfy the needs of some of the opportunities. Plan so that you have a “fillready” database.

A huge component of recovery is preparation before the recovery occurs. Keep in touch with customers and applicants. Bulk email and phone call campaigns lend well to this type of project. It’s a terrific time to update information about the companies and the people that you work with. Partner with applicants to improve skills and explore options. When the time comes that job orders are plentiful, you want to be prepared to fill them. One of the major issues with recovery in the 80’s was having enough quality applicants to fill job orders when job orders were top-heavy. There is nothing more frustrating than having a multitude of job orders that you cannot fill. That problem can be avoided by building relationships and loyalties from applicants now.

It’s a good time to do some unique marketing such as providing “free services”. Offer to go out to companies and do presentations on topics of interest. Chances are that companies may not want to have you in for a sales call, but they may have you out for a presentation that they can benefit from. If you give a presentation, multiple departmental heads may attend and you can introduce your company to several company contacts. Have candidates come into your office to learn about resume writing, interviewing techniques, etc. These types of goodwill marketing projects provide a service as well as enhance your image as an industry expert. Use this avenue to acquire more information and meet new people and pass out marketing materials about your company for future reference.

Remember, preparation is everything. Those that are prepared will be able to capture the most business and capitalize on the early recovery periods.

This article made an appearance in the May 2009 issue of staffdigest Magazine. www.staffdigest.com

Terri Roeslmeier is President of Automated Business Designs, Inc., software developer of Ultra-Staff staffing software for the staffing and direct hire industry. Ultra-Staff is a staffing software business solution with components for front office, back office and the web. Terri’s email address is TAR@abd.net or for more information on Ultra-Staff go to www.abd.net