How to Relieve Allergies, Breathe Easy, Sleep Better, and Not Worry about Naegleria fowleri

Hi All –

I hope this post finds everyone healthy and happy.

Have you ever used a neti pot? Neti pots were used as an ayurvedic yoga tradition in ancient India for nasal irrigation, In the past few year neti pots gained popularity in the United States after they were featured on the Oprah Winfrey show by Dr. Oz as a natural and health alternative for allergy and nasal infection sufferers.

I was a firm believer in the benefits of using a neti pot and like millions of neti pot users, I used warm tap water.  it was easy to get a perfect water temperature using tap water and the neti pot was very effective at helping me breath freely by cleaning pollens and pollutants from my nasal passages. An added benefit was It helped me sleep better at night by reducing congestion and also snoring.  But then in 2011, the evening news reported that two people had died from using tap water contaminated by the “brain-eating” amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri.  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tap-water-in-neti-pots-behind-two-brain-eating-amoeba-deaths-in-2011-investigation-finds/

If this scared you like it did me, then it also ultimately resulted in not using a neti pot at all.  At first, I would either boil tap water or heat distilled water using my kitchen stove.  It was just too inconvenience to boil tap water or heat distilled water in the kitchen, transport it to the bathroom, let it cool down (sometime too long so the water became uncomfortably cool), and finally mixing it with neti pot salt. This was enough of an inconvenience that I stopped using my neti pot. Although not optimal, I once again began to using over-the-counter medicines which made my thinking foggy.  There had to be a better solution.

I came up with this prototype that warms distilled water to a perfect temperature right in the bathroom. I love it!  No more boiling tap water or heating distilled water in the kitchen.  I’m back to breathing easier and sleeping better thanks to a simple innovation.

FullSizeRender

As far as I know, this is the only neti pot designed to be used with a heating element.  The neti pot is ceramic and the water is heated to close to body temperature in 4 to 5 minutes.  It then keeps the water perfectly warm.

I’m asking for suggestion on what to name the device, suggested improvements, and colors.

I will be starting a Kick Starter campaign soon, and accepting pre-orders once I establish a sales price.  I would truly love to send you one of the first production models and hear your comments.

If you know anyone who suffers from allergies, nasal infections, snoring, or who like me stopped using a neti pot because of the inconvenience, then please let them know.

As I always say, take action every day and be grateful!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

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How to Certify your Veteran Owned Small Business

Hi All –

In lieu of providing my philosophy on business and life, I’ve decided it was time I kept my promise about providing information on certifying your Veteran-Owned Small Business to complete for Federal contracting dollars.

There are two methods for certification: 1) Self-certification and 2) Verification through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE).  This first method is the easiest as you can self-certify when registering in the System for Award Management (SAM).  You can find the detail in my previous blog posting “How to Compete for Federal Contracts” here:  http://wp.me/p4xkC1-Q

Almost all Federal agencies recognize self-certification; however, the VA has their own verification program and other agencies may require CVE verification too.  I will not go into details about the process as the VA lays out the process in their website located here: http://www.va.gov/osdbu/verification/instructions.asp 

Remember that the Service Disabled Veteran (SDV) must have complete control of the company and be the majority shareholder.  This could mean that the SDV owns more than 51 percent of the company’s shares (a super majority), so that no board members may counter the Veteran’s authority and control of the business.  Note:  Please speak to an attorney who specializes in SDVOSB prior to applying as there are some areas of how your company is structured which can trip up your application.

There are certain set-asides for Federal contracts included in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) for small businesses within subpart 19.5 – Set-Asides for Small Business: http://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart%2019_5.html#wp1086841 with the juicy part being that procurements over $3,000 but not exceeding $100,000 are reserved exclusively as total small business set-asides.

A good guide from the US Small Business Administration, “Veteran Owned Small Business Contracting Programs” can be found here: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/SDVOSB_workbook_0.pdf

As I’ve stated previously, you can self-certify as a SDVOSB as long as you have a disability rating from the VA…even if it is zero percent disability!  To be considered a Service Disabled Veteran you need a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or your discharge papers stating you have a service-connected disability rating ranging from 0% to 100% disability.  Of special interest to Service-disabled Veterans is Subpart 19.14.  I’ve included it below or you can go to the link: http://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart%2019_14.html#wp1093836

Subpart 19.14—Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Procurement Program

19.1401  General.

(a) The Veterans Benefit Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. 657f) created the procurement program for small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans (commonly referred to as the “Service-Disabled Veteran-owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Procurement Program”).

(b) The purpose of the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program is to provide Federal contracting assistance to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns.

19.1402  Applicability.

The procedures in this subpart apply to all Federal agencies that employ one or more contracting officers.

19.1403  Status as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern.

(a) Status as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern is determined in accordance with 13 CFR Parts 125.8 through 125.13; also see 19.307.

(b) At the time that a service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern submits its offer, it must represent to the contracting officer that it is a—

(1) Service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern; and

(2) Small business concern under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to the procurement.

(c) A joint venture may be considered a service-disabled veteran owned small business concern if—

(1) At least one member of the joint venture is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern, and makes the representations in paragraph (b) of this section;

(2) Each other concern is small under the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to the procurement;

(3) The joint venture meets the requirements of paragraph 7 of the explanation of Affiliates in 19.101; and

(4) The joint venture meets the requirements of 13 CFR 125.15(b).

(d) Any service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern (nonmanufacturer) must meet the requirements in 19.102(f) to receive a benefit under this program.

19.1404  Exclusions.

This subpart does not apply to—

(a) Requirements that can be satisfied through award to—

(1) Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (see Subpart 8.6);

(2) Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act participating non-profit agencies for the blind or severely disabled (see Subpart 8.7);

(b) Orders under indefinite delivery contracts (see Subpart 16.5);

(c) Orders against Federal Supply Schedules (see Subpart 8.4); or

(d) Requirements currently being performed by an 8(a) participant or requirements SBA has accepted for performance under the authority of the 8(a) Program, unless SBA has consented to release the requirements from the 8(a) Program.

19.1405  Service-disabled veteran-owned small business set-aside procedures.

(a) The contracting officer may set-aside acquisitions exceeding the micro-purchase threshold for competition restricted to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns when the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section can be satisfied. The contracting officer shall consider service-disabled veteran-owned small business set-asides before considering service-disabled veteran-owned small business sole source awards (see 19.1406).

(b) To set aside an acquisition for competition restricted to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns, the contracting officer must have a reasonable expectation that—

(1) Offers will be received from two or more service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns; and

(2) Award will be made at a fair market price.

(c) If the contracting officer receives only one acceptable offer from a service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern in response to a set-aside, the contracting officer should make an award to that concern. If the contracting officer receives no acceptable offers from service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns, the service-disabled veteran-owned set-aside shall be withdrawn and the requirement, if still valid, set aside for small business concerns, as appropriate (see Subpart 19.5).

(d) The procedures at 19.202-1 and, except for acquisitions not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, at 19.402 apply to this section. When the SBA intends to appeal a contracting officer’s decision to reject a recommendation of the SBA procurement center representative (or, if a procurement center representative is not assigned, see 19.402(a)) to set aside an acquisition for competition restricted to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns, the SBA procurement center representative shall notify the contracting officer, in writing, of its intent within 5 working days of receiving the contracting officer’s notice of rejection. Upon receipt of notice of SBA’s intent to appeal, the contracting officer shall suspend action on the acquisition unless the head of the contracting activity makes a written determination that urgent and compelling circumstances, which significantly affect the interests of the Government, exist. Within 15 working days of SBA’s notification to the contracting officer, SBA shall file its formal appeal with the head of the contracting activity, or that agency may consider the appeal withdrawn. The head of the contracting activity shall reply to SBA within 15 working days of receiving the appeal. The decision of the head of the contracting activity shall be final.

19.1406  Sole source awards to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns.

(a) A contracting officer may award contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns on a sole source basis (see 19.501(d) and 6.302-5), provided—

(1) Only one service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern can satisfy the requirement;

(2) The anticipated award price of the contract (including options) will not exceed—

(i) $5.5 million for a requirement within the NAICS codes for manufacturing; or

(ii) $3 million for a requirement within any other NAICS code;

(3) The service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern has been determined to be a responsible contractor with respect to performance; and

(4) Award can be made at a fair and reasonable price.

(b) The SBA has the right to appeal the contracting officer’s decision not to make a service-disabled veteran-owned small business sole source award.

19.1407  Contract clauses.

The contracting officer shall insert the clause 52.219-27, Notice of Total Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside, in solicitations and contracts for acquisitions under 19.1405 and 19.1406.

Now you have the resources to understand the two methods of certification, take action to live your dreams!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

Who Starts a Business?

The person reading this post does!

So what type of person takes the initiative and risk to start their own business?  There are several books and website that state the type of personality that is required – self motivated, disciplined, risk taker, expertise in a certain field, and etc.  According to these sources, if you do not have these essential qualities, you should stay in your job and let someone else take that role.  The real message is that you should allow someone else determine your future and value.  Do not believe it!

The simple truth is what one person can do anyone can do; the trick is to realize truth of the previous statement for each of us.  Each one of us is capable of achieving much more than we may be capable of realizing.  When you truly believe you have the potential to do anything, you see life differently and life begins to change. Self motivation and discipline automatically begin to replace inaction without a conscious effort.  You feel more alive because you are living in a world of possibilities versus a life of limits.  This is not about achieving outward facing success –  financial and material gains, but about your internal success – how you feel about yourself and life.  Life can be full of promise and excitement…and the possibility of achieving outward success.  All you need to do is start.  Take the first step and believe in yourself and wonderful things will follow.

We do not need to live a life scripted by others, even if those other people, such as family and friends, love us. No one truly feels your pain or joy more than yourself. No one truly knows what you need from life more than yourself.  No one can know you more than yourself and no one can live your life for you except you.  Living for yourself changes everything.  More energy, joy, and a deeper sense of self materialize along with a sense of purpose and that purpose is ultimately you. Never ever undervalue yourself.  You have everything you already need to live the life you want.

Do you feel that there is something missing, maybe a vague dissatisfaction with life or perhaps you find yourself complaining about virtually everything?  These are indicators that you have taken on the role of victim and living based on someone else’s concepts.  You do not have to feel desperately unhappy to start living for yourself. Whenever you create — be it art, a garden, or a business — you live a fuller more meaningful life.  It’s a life long pursuit and it starts with you.

Starting a business, developing an product, or idea are some ways, but not the only ways, of living by your own set of principles and beliefs.  By taking responsibility for the potential of your future, it opens you up to you.

Here’s to taking action and showing gratitude everyday!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

How to Join a Team without Selling Your Soul to the Devil (Subcontracting to a Prime)

As a new launched business as a Federal Contractor (I’m assuming you’ve set up your company and and are registered in SAM and have a DUNS number; see my previous blog: http://wp.me/p4xkC1-Q), your primary tasks as a company are three fold: 1) generate revenue, 2) earn a profit, and 3) develop past performance.  These task are derived from winning work.  As I have written in the past, there are two ways to work as a federal contractor — as a Prime contractor or a subcontractor.

A excellent path to finding a prime is to join the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Council (https://sdvosb-council.org/)  The council provides an avenue to network with Prime contractors for potential teaming opportunities. It also host networking events with larger primes looking to team with small businesses.  Remember that many federal contracts have set-aside contracting goals.  This is a huge benefit to 8a, SDVOSB, SDB, WOSB, and other set-aside categories.

Make sure you have developed your core capabilities statement; the capabilities statement is your written “elevator speech.”  Potential prime contractors and US Government entities review core capability statements when looking for small businesses.

Below is an example of of core capability statement used by Whetstone Security Group, Inc. (www.whetstonesecurity.com)

wsg corporate capabilities 201312040-0001

Prime contractors are looking for set-aside partners they can depend upon.  Make sure as you market your company you always deliver on promises and conduct your business with integrity.  At the end of the day, everything whether in business or personal life is about relationships.  Make sure that you and your business’ reputation is stellar and become know for doing what you say.

Once you have joined a team you will most likely be provided  a Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and teaming agreement (TA) to sign.  See my previous blog and TA’s, NDA’s, and SubK’s. (http://wp.me/p4xkC1-4m).  Review the TA closely to ensure your company is signing up for a mutually beneficial agreement.  It might be a good idea to engage a Contract Specialist to help you navigate the NDA, TA, and Subcontract process.  The primary take away is to ask for guaranteed work share.  Work share is usually provide in percentages, such as have 20 percent work share.  This means that your company will have 20 percent of the available work on an awarded contract.

Be transparent, operate with integrity, and demonstrate how your company will add value as a prime contractor’s teammate.  You have to put yourself out there and engage with other people, associations, and prime contractors to be known.  Remember, hundreds of people before you have done the same thing — you can do this!

As always, take action each and everyday to drive your business forward and grow as an individual.

With Love and Respect,

Gary

First Things First

Hi All –

As is usual for all of us, finding a balance between self, family, and my pursuits has been a struggle.  The realization I’ve made is that the balance between choices that provide depth and meaning to my life and necessary daily tasks is more like a seesaw than a balanced scale.  Depending on the hour or week or month, I tend to pay more attention to one aspect of my life than the other…and it’s ok.

I believe that intuitively (when our lives are focused on our self actualization), we will place our attention where it needs to be — self, family, work.  It doesn’t need to be an equal balance; we make choices on what is important and those weighted factors tip the seesaw one way or the other…and sways from one area to the other in constant realignment.

What should drive everything we do is our focus on what brings us the most satisfaction, joy, and peace regardless of where we tend to be focusing our attention on at the moment.  If we are not feeling satisfied, joyful or peaceful, then it doesn’t matter what we are focusing and spending time on.

So as we pursue our business interests there may be times when we are distracted or believe we are not in balance with ourselves or our friends and family, but this is not an excuse not to push forward as soon as you can.  My mantra remains:  “Take Action Every Day!”

The other thing to keep in mind is that we will not do everything we want to do. Period.  We simply need to focus on those things which ultimately brings us satisfaction, joy, and peace in our work and private lives.  Because at the end of the day,  it’s all part of the same thing.

With Love and Respect,

Gary