PETALUMA, Calif., Oct. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Small Business Administration (SBA) has proposed sweeping changes in federal small business size standards based on inflation that could force thousands of small business that depend on federal contracts to close their doors.
Critics of the new SBA policies believe the changes are actually a plan to dismantle federal small business programs after a plan by the Obama Administration to close the SBA by combining it with the Department of Commerce was exposed in the press.
The SBA is claiming small business size standards are being revised based on inflation. The American Small Business League (ASBL) is opposing the changes since small business size standards based on the number of employees are completely unrelated to inflation.
Proposed changes to SBA rules could cripple small biz value-added resellers
By Mark Hoover
Proposed changes to Small Business Administration rules could have a negative effect on Information Technology Value-Added Resellers, taking away an exemption that these businesses have and qualifying them as large businesses if they have more than $27.5 million in annual sales, according to FCW.
At its heart, VetLikeMe is an educational publication supported by blunt advocacy for SDVOSB. These YouTube videos are provided for continuing education.
VA is critical to medicine and vets
By Robert A. McDonald
“During preparation for my confirmation as secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), I was repeatedly asked, “Why doesn’t VA just hand out vouchers allowing veterans to get care wherever they want?” For a department recovering from serious issues involving health care access and scheduling of appointments, that was a legitimate question.
After nine weeks at VA, travel to 31 VA facilities in 15 cities, discussions with hundreds of veterans and VA clinicians, meetings with 75 Members of Congress, two hearings before the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs committees and dozens of meetings with Veterans Service Organizations and other stakeholders, I can answer that question.”
by David Wood
Footprints in the Sand
Fifty-one thousand American troops have come home from Iraq or Afghanistan diagnosed with brain injury. What’s become of them?
Many have worked with military or VA specialists to learn to overcome or compensate for deficits in memory, speech, organizational skills, reading, finger dexterity — everyday skills we take for granted. Tens of thousands of other Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans were never diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and may be struggling without knowing why. The VA’s shortage of therapists and difficulty reaching rural veterans means even those diagnosed may not get all the help they need.
SBA proposed rule to reduce or eliminate size standards
Comments can be submitted on the proposed rules on or before November 10, 2014 at www.regulations.gov, identified by the following RIN numbers: (RIN 3245-AG50 for Sector 31‑33) and (RIN 3245-AG51 for employee-based size standards for industries that are not part of Sector 31-33, Sector 42 or Sector 44-45). You may also mail comments to Khem R. Sharma, Chief, Office of Size Standards, 409 3rd St., SW, Mail Code 6530, Washington, DC 20416.
Veterans’ issues crack top 10 in political advertising
Susan Davis, USA TODAY 5:07 p.m. EDT October 10, 2014
WASHINGTON — The fallout from revelations about poor veterans’ health care has helped vault veterans’ issues into the top tier of political issue ads for the first time in an election year.
“There’s never been an opening like the VA scandal has provided for non-veterans to talk about veterans in their advertising before,” said Elizabeth Wilner with Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. “Voters are more sensitive to the needs of veterans this cycle than they have been in the past.”
Veterans’ care burst into the national debate this year when it was revealed that dozens of veterans’ hospitals were plagued with bureaucratic problems that prevented veterans from receiving timely care. As a result, Congress approved a $16.3 billion veterans’ care bill this summer to help ease those delays. The issue lingers on the campaign trail.
Five Great Ways to Create a Positive Support Network
by Michael I. Kaplan
In addition to the two primary motivators of human behavior – expectation of reward and fear of punishment – social acceptance would have to rank as one of the most important desires of the human condition. We are gregarious creatures by nature and social interaction serves many of our basic emotional needs.
We may be somewhat limited in our professional capacity to pick and choose with whom we interact, but in our personal lives we have absolute control of our associations. In short, people you associate with on a personal level have the ability to directly impact your probability of success.
Understanding this fact imposes upon you the responsibility of picking your acquaintances wisely. Only those who respect your self-esteem, encourage you to be successful and enhance your quality of life should be allowed within the protected inner circle of your personal space.
In the words of the Greek philosopher Plato, “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person, or they can stunt your growth and cause you to wilt and die.”
Conduct a quick mental inventory of those people you currently associate with regularly, both in person and online. After 30 minutes of conversation do you feel energized and uplifted, or do you feel drained and agitated?
Those who fall into the latter category are toxic personalities – I refer to them as “psychic vampires” – and serve no useful purpose in your life.
If that sounds harsh and judgmental on my part, consider what hangs in the balance on the other side of that equation: your success.
I’m not suggesting you need to find perfect friends; there’s no such thing. Nor am I suggesting you need to have friends that share your particular vision and agree with everything you believe. What I am suggesting is those who actively oppose you at every turn need to be removed.
Once you have made the decision to surgically remove the cancerous personalities from your circle, employ the 5 strategies below to reconstruct your network with positive people who support you.
1. Project your unbridled optimism. You’ve heard the sayings: “like attracts like” and “water seeks its own level.” They’re true. When you outwardly project optimism, like-minded positive people are attracted to you like a moth to a flame. As a bonus, pessimists hate optimists and they’ll avoid you like the plague.
2. Create a litmus test. Set a standard for those people you will befriend. Are they emotionally grounded and optimistic? Are they goal-oriented and committed to personal and professional growth? Are they there for you when you need them? This isn’t being judgmental; it’s demonstrating discernment.
3. Join local professional groups. Find local organizations with members who share your professional interests, even if they only meet once a month. There’s a good chance that if they took the time to get off the computer and out of the house, they’ll be the type of people with whom you’ll want to interact.
4. Utilize online focus groups. Social media such as LinkedIn can give you immediate access to unlimited numbers of people who share your goals. Utilize the genius of market segmentation and maximize the utility of social media.
5. Incorporate “Peer Review.” Once you develop a support network of positive thinkers, a pessimist might sneak through the fence once in a while. If your group feels uncomfortable with a new arrival, trust their judgment enough to investigate … and act accordingly if they prove to be correct.
The choice to surround yourself with optimistic people who share your positive vision is a conscious act. These will be the people who never doubt your abilities, encourage your success and will be there for you when it matters most.
Misery loves company. But then again … so does success.
Michael Kaplan is a military veteran, serial entrepreneur and published author. If you enjoyed this article, check out his most recent book: The Prior-Service Entrepreneur: Providing Military Veterans with the Competitive Skills to Start a Successful Business. It has earned a 5-star rating on Amazon and is currently used by military and academic institutions as a course textbook for numerous business and entrepreneurship training programs throughout the United States. You are invited to connect with Michael on Twitter and Facebook as well.
Fraud Exposed Oct 30 2014
Dear Mr. Brown/Green/Black/White:
You were at the L.I. maritime academy site walk for the sewer projects which is set aside for Disabled Veterans. So we are clear here, I asked you if you knew it was set aside for our Nations servicemen/women who are service Disabled Veterans. You said “yes I know.” So I asked you if you were a Veteran and you said “no but I owned the company “XXXXX” and gave me your card. I asked you “are you bidding this job” and you said yes but “…through the ‘other company I own “XXXX”. You then said you have a “…veteran or I mean and disabled veteran who is ‘part’ of the company”. As you know, I than stated you can’t do that as it is committing fraud. You made it clear you were still bidding the job through the companies you own and a “veteran is in the loop”.
We did some digging and you and “your companies’” seem to be bidding, winning, gaining awards and listed as Disabled Veteran Owned Company’s on all kinds of work like your efforts on the pump project in WV VAMC. So we dug a little further and find you have had a contract which I consider fraudulent and stealing from those who earned the right to compete after sacrificing all but everything while serving our country. So why are you stealing from Veterans? Do you need the money that badly? If so please call me and I’ll call a group of Vets to scrape together some cash to help you get through the tough time you must be dealing with.
Now that I have your attention please note the photos everyone was taking and I hear some guys were recording on their phones what was said on your part but I could be wrong. I am wondering why you would claim to be a SDVOSB? More importantly were your direct and bold statements about “owning the company’s and bidding the set asides”. I will be asking some media outlets…maybe a Veteran’s outlet to print our findings about you via your public records, contract, and business dealings under the SDVOSB and see if you can explain why you are taking jobs from those who need it most. You must be so proud of your companies and that very nice life style…most of us Veterans survive on very little and just battle to get through the day.
Yes, I am the guy who asked you why you were trying to steal work set-aside for Disabled Veterans and I bet you thought I would go away. Well you made the radar of a nation of cripples who will fight for our next generation of fellow Disabled Veterans regardless of the costs to us. Feel free to sue me now because I will expose you as the FRAUD you are. Worst of all was the Disabled Veteran who left the site walk saying “I can’t compete with this guy” and he was meaning you. Another told me later “there is no way to win a job when the pump company controls the total price on the street and installs with his employees”.
NOTE: one of the men copied here has a purple heart among many other metals for protecting our country and fellow servicemen…he is NO COWARD but you ARE.
Have a nice day and remember: 22 veterans a day commit suicide and you are stealing the limited hope they have…enjoy the freedoms we have provided.
Teaneck woman sentenced to home confinement for claiming company was owned by disabled veteran
By Thomas Zambito | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com The Star-Ledger
NEWARK — A Teaneck woman was sentenced to eight months home confinement today for pretending her business was owned by a disabled veteran so she could score $1.2 million in federal contracts.
CVE FOIA Policy Allows Public Shaming of Denied Companies
by Sarah Schauerte
If you’ve been denied verification to the VA’s Veterans First Contracting Program (aka VetBiz), ever wonder who will know it? Well, according to recent guidance issued by the Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), it turns out this information will be disclosed in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Yesterday, I received an email from the Vendor Information Pages. (presumably, this went out to all representatives and verified companies, but I’m not so sure about businesses that were denied verification). This email, titled “Update on Requirements for VA to Release Verification Information in Response to FOIA Requests,” included a memorandum that gave the quick and dirty on what information about (or provided by) VetBiz applicants will be released via FOIA requests.
Notably, the guidance stated that as it relates to firms found not eligible for the Veterans First Contracting Program, the following information will be released: the business name, DUNS number, address, business email addresses that do not identify an individual, VOSB or SDVOSB status, bonding level, and number of employees.
Under the letter of the law, any information maintained by the VA as a federal agency may be requested by any person pursuant to a FOIA request. Some exemptions apply, such as restrictions on disclosing commercially sensitive or proprietary information, and technically this information doesn’t seem to fall into an exemption. But from a practical perspective, this feels like disclosure of sensitive information. After all, a VOSB or SDVOSB that is competing for non-VA set-asides doesn’t want its competitors to know it was denied for the Veterans First Contracting Program.
And it’s not like these businesses are all pass-throughs or otherwise truly ineligible for the Program. Any business reading this (especially multi-member or owner) knows that the VetBiz verification process is hard. A business can be truly eligible but be denied, but a FOIA request does not disclose the reason for the denial – whether the business was found affiliated with a big company or whether it simply didn’t provide proper paperwork.
In practicality, unless one business is checking up on another, this FOIA policy likely won’t really impact a business. But still. Knowing that your denial can be disclosed is still disconcerting.
Access the new guidance:
*Did you find this article informative? If so, sign up for Sarah Schauerte’s legal blog on veterans issues at http://www.legalmeetspractical.com
How and why you should help VetLikeMe
By David Coakley
Nearly two years ago I discovered VetLikeMe through my work as the publisher of GovCon (The GovCon Network). Although I am not a veteran I had been supporting disabled veterans through Able Veterans, a Website I launched almost 10 years ago as a way to repay those men and women who enlisted after 9/11 and were coming home with injuries. My cousin and his wife (Kenneth and Jennifer Lewis) were flight attendants on Flight #77 which was flown by terrorists into the Pentagon and I felt a strong obligation to do something for those who stepped forward to serve up some justice. Another factor behind my desire to do something was a week long stay at Walter Reed when I was 14 to have a small tumor removed from my hand. It was in 1973 and I will never forget the men in the ward with me nor the pain I heard and witnessed in the ICU after my surgery.
When I discovered VetLikeMe I immediately called Hardy Stone, our publisher, to explore ways in which I could help him (and perhaps other SDVOSB) out. When I learned that he was sending VetLikeMe out to thousands of subscribers 100 at a time because that is the max Gmail allows you to send at a time…, I got to work!
I quickly created a Website for him, moved his subscriber list to MailChimp so he could send out as many as he needed in one fell swoop and began treating the publication with the attention it deserved.
Since then Hardy and I have invested countless hours doing what we do. Unfortunately, selling apparently isn’t one of those things either of us has much interest in doing! Hence this post.
Like each of you we have bills to pay and while we do this because we enjoy doing so its time we ask for some support. We aren’t looking for a handout, but we’d rather ask you, our subscribers, to advertise and sponsor VetLikeMe for a small monthly amount than to pretend either of us is going to start selling to the “big guys” that will hopefully approach VetLikeMe one day and offer their support of the SDVOSB community.
The good news is our Web traffic and readership has grown dramatically over the past year so we’re far better able to give our supporters great exposure to this elite group of businessmen and women.
Website traffic numbers via Google Analytics:
- Unique visitors to VetLikeMe.org was 1,089 in the last 30 days
- These visitors visited 1,472 times in during that same period
- They viewed over 2,700 pages
VetLikeMe subscription numbers via MailChimp:
- There are 5,050 incredibly bright and talented business men and women who subscribe to VetLikeMe to receive SDVOSB news and information each week via email.
- VetLikeMe is also published in other publications including Veterans Today which is visited by over 583,000 readers each month! (via Google Analytics)
- The click through rate has average about 4% and recently exceed 5%, which is higher than industry average and indicates our subscribers are interested in what we publish.
Demographics information via Google Analytics:
- 78% of our readers are men and 22% are women.
- 55% of our readers are over 54 years of age, which may help to explain why some of the comments you will find on VetLikeMe are so colorful. No more holding back!
- 45-54 represent 27% / 35-44 represent 13% / 25-34 represent just under 10%.
If you’ll invest a small amount in VetLikeMe each month we will do the following for your business or organization:
$500/month : If you represent a large company and this figure doesn’t make you cringe then please email me to get a proposal tailored just for your company or organization that will include an all out marketing blitz leveraging every asset VetLikeMe and the GovCon Network has at its disposal. (Note: GovCon serves the government contracting community and its traffic is also very strong.)
$200/month : If your firm or organization considers the veteran demographic a prime target this package is for you. Package includes banner ads on the homepage and all other pages of the Website AND at least monthly in the newsletter. Your logo will also be featured on the homepage and sponsors page. We will also write a post about your company or organization with links to your homepage and other internal pages you want to drive visitors to.
$100/month : If you represent an SDVOSB that would like to support VetLikeMe and gain exposure for your business this is your best value. We will do everything we do for the $200 level.
$50/month : For those of you that want to help us continue to grow VetLikeMe we will recognize you, your business, or your organization in a post, in our newsletter, and your logo and company will be listed on a Sponsors page linked to your Website.
We prefer a 3-month commitment although there is no contract to sign.
In addition to what we offer outlined above we will use our social media accounts and other Web properties to lend support for your your business or organization to return the favor.
Please complete the short form below so we can get started! Thank you very much.
Hardy Stone is the editor/publisher of VetLikeMe, the nation’s only publication devoted to service disabled veteran owned business.