If you’ve worked in business development, you know how hard it can be to find the right small business partner. Can social networking help ease that pain? Tom Skypek at GovBizConnect thinks it can.
If you’ve worked in business development, you know how hard it can be to find the right small business partner.
Tom Skypek, co-founder of GovBizConnect, remembers how difficult it was to find teaming partners back in his Booz Allen Hamilton days.
“It boiled down to your individual professional network. Maybe a company has an in-house business development database, but that was not the case from what I saw,” Skypek said.
You could always try to take small business partners that you already have and repurpose them, but Skypek said that almost never worked.
Sometimes, he added, in times of severe desperation, he was left at the mercy of a Google search.
“I’m always looking for ways to improve processes, so I started doing some poking around and I was pretty surprised that there wasn’t anything out there [to help with this issue],” Skypek said.
That was just after he moved back to Connecticut and reconnected with an old friend. The two of them got to talking, and GovBizConnect was born.
“What we’re really trying to do is innovate,” Skypek said, who draws some inspiration from the business social networking website LinkedIn.
“LinkedIn has provided a glimpse into what business-to-business networking can really bring to the table, but even LinkedIn has only scratched the surface,” he said. Skypek sees LinkedIn as being more of a person-to-person network as opposed to a business-to-business one. “Our vision, what we’ve built and continue to refine, is true a business-to-business online professional network.”
Through GovBizConnect, users will be able to build tailored profiles to help identify teaming partners and subcontracting opportunities. The service will also allow government employees to search for qualified small businesses.
There are three profile types, Skypek said—small business, large business, and government employee. Each profile is free to set up, and each contains a variety of different data fields into which users can put information on small business designations, staffing and past performance, for example.
“Those key dimensions can really help determine whether or not this organization would be a good partner,” Skypek said.
Skypek and his partner launched the service in early August . Since then, the two have been offering the service to early adopters through email, picking their brains for feedback.
“Right now, the service is free, and for the foreseeable future, it will be free,” Skypek said, but he noted the possibility of setting up a tiered pricing model, following in the footsteps of LinkedIn, where users get additional features after subscribing.
But for now, Skypek said it is all about gathering feedback and making improvements to wrap into GovBizConnect 2.0.
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