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How Small Businesses Can Get a Piece of the Corporate Pie

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Just because you're a small business doesn't mean you can't get a piece of a much larger pie. Government contracts aren't the only game in town. All over America, big corporations are giving work to small businesses in every category imaginable.

How can you get a shot at those contracts? The secret is in knowing how to give them what they need. Ron Tate, sourcing executive at Bank of America, which spends more than $4 billion a year with small, medium and minority suppliers, offers small business owners three tips on how to get on board.

  • Highlight your relevant experience. Show your familiarity with either with other firms of similar size or within a particular industry. For instance, one woman-owned small business in North Carolina provides accounting services to companies during periods of peak demand. Many of those accountants have significant experience with the Big Four firms and provide an excellent alternative to permanent hires. As a result, they have seen significant growth with Bank of America and other clients in recent years.
  • Emphasize your flexibility. Prove your nimbleness compared with larger suppliers that have more structure and processes in place. The smaller overhead of most small businesses also means lower overall costs, which is turn could be attractive to large firms.
  • Look for opportunities to connect. Find ways to link up with large firms in more efficient ways. Bank of America recently joined a new initiative, Supplier Connection, which is a portal that connects corporations such as IBM, Bank of America, Pfizer, AT&T and UPS with small- and medium-size businesses. Through this effort, small businesses can connect with multiple corporations, minimizing the time spent on researching and preparing many different bids. Small businesses owners can also go to Bank of America's supplier site for more information.