Dr. Cassandra Bradford has spent her professional life helping independent business people like you and me navigate red tape and becoming minority/women-owned businesses that benefit from government contracts.
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Navigating Through Red Tape With Dr. Cassandra Bradford
This is Charla Anderson, host of the Charla Anderson Show, collector and connector of fascinating people, and everyone is fascinating, especially YOU. I am so grateful that you would take the time to join us and be a part of this encouragement, this overcoming, this hope that we’re trying to get out into the world with the WinWinWin platform and the streaming services and with Podetize. There are so many places that we’re going to be out and about. I cannot wait to introduce you to my guest, one of my longest-time Fort Worth friends, Dr. Cassandra Bradford.
First, we are going to do our little 22-second mini vacation. We’re going to take a deep breath. We’re going to breathe in calm, we’re going to hold it for 4 seconds, and then we’re going to breathe out gratitude for 11 seconds. That helps us get started, get grounded, and settle in here. Let’s take a seven-second breath in with calm. Hold, release, and breathe out gratitude. Thank you for joining me and calming down. It helps me get centered. It should help you. It’s a small mini vacation. Multiple times a day we might need that with all the techie devices and things we’ve got going. I just encourage us to do that. Every so often, throughout our day, get grounded.
I’m super excited to get to share one of my dearest friends from many years ago. We met in 2006 or 2007 when I was just starting to learn about networking. We connected and became fast friends. We’ve done all kinds of things together. We hadn’t seen each other in a long time. You got my LLC put together back in the day. Dr. Cassandra is this amazing woman and minority-owned business extraordinaire. That’s what you are. What I’m going to ask you to do is introduce yourself who you are in this world and then we’ll talk about what you do.
I am Dr. Cassandra Bradford. I am a woman of God, a daughter, a mother, and a friend. I have been blessed to have a vision to start a business, which I started years ago, which is how I met you, Charla. I’m forever grateful that God sought fit so that I could fulfill a vision. It’s been years that I’ve had my business and run conference that I have. It’s all about entrepreneurship and growing small businesses globally and exponentially. I am honored to be on your show.
I’m so grateful that you took the time out of your crazy busy life. I know you’re always traveling. Who would’ve thought? Here we are, little one-man shows back in that day. You’ve got a whole staff. You travel. You’re making a difference in that community. It’s a niche that is so needed. What does that look like daily for you?
It’s fun. I love what I do. I can get up and do this every single day and forget that I’m in business because I can talk about all the opportunities that are available to minorities and women. If you had told me that I was going to be doing this many years ago working with women, I would’ve told you that you got the wrong girl. I can’t do that. I’m in a male-dominated industry, and it will never happen. Here I am.
I remember I got a pastor who told me that she had a prophecy for me, and it was a confirmation. This was back in 1995 or 1994. She told me all about how I was going to be speaking to women on a large stage and I would be working with women and small businesses. I’m like, “I’m just trying to get promoted at work.” The prophecy or confirmation came true because God had already spoken to me. I put it on the shelf. Here I am and I love what I do. I pray that God sees fit that I’m doing a good job and that this is never taken from me.
You’re serving. You become an expert. It’s a complicated field. It is complicated to do anything with the government. Let’s be straight.
It’s a lot of paper. I’m safe to say that the government doesn’t like trees because there’s a lot of paperwork when it comes to certifications and getting contracts with the government. There’s a lot of reading involved, a lot of contractual language. I love it. It’s a niche for me, and I’ve grown into it. I’ve become a lobbyist for it and I was a chamber president for it. I’m a delegate for the state of Texas.
That’s amazing. We have the M/WBE, so what does it mean, and who needs it? Where do we start with that?
There’s a lot of alphabet. In Texas and North Carolina, we have five certifications. Most states only have 3 or 4. Minority-owned business enterprise, woman business enterprise, small business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and historically underutilized business are five certifications that we have in Texas and North Carolina. What it does is it puts us in a position where we can bid on contracts and win.Most states only have three or four minority/women-owned businesses, which puts them in a better position to bid on government contracts and win. Click To Tweet
Back in 1981, President Reagan signed an executive order for veterans who have come back from service overseas or have matriculated through the military. They’re exiting with their DD214 and can find opportunities if they start their own business. The executive order said that the government has to set aside 40% of all of its business with veterans.
Right after that, in 1989, the law changed to include women and then minorities. We’re grateful that we have those opportunities. As you know, being a woman in a male-dominated industry or being a woman in the United States wasn’t the same or isn’t the same as it was back in the 1960s, 1970s, or even 1980s. You look at where we are now, and people think that women have arrived on this magic carpet, but it’s not. Although women are starting more businesses than men, and even women of color are starting the most, we still are not paid the same pay as our male counterparts. That hasn’t changed.
We still have the opportunity to bid on opportunities with the largest customer in the world, which is the United States government, and grow our business. When I say the government, I have to include public transportation. I have to include Fortune 500 companies like Pepsi, Walmart, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and anything Warren Buffett owns and BNSF Railway. I could keep going on. Now, we have so many companies that are mandated to do business and reach that 40% threshold that it’s marvelous now for women, minorities, and veterans to gain traction in the economy. It’s a good place.
Who are you looking for? Obviously, women, minorities, and veterans, but in what capacity? Am I eligible? What does that look like?
You were born a woman, and we can prove it with your birth certificate. You’re born a minority and you can prove it with your birth certificate or a US resident card. You operate the business at least 51% or more of the time, and you own at least 51% or more. Those are your first qualifiers. Everything else is just proof of documentation. The government buys everything. There’s nothing that you’re selling that the government is not buying. They buy ice, ink pens, and a lot of T-shirts. The kids have to look alike when they go on field trips. The basketball team and the hockey team all got to have on the same t-shirt and the same uniform.
DJs are hot now. The world is back open and there’s music under the stars, in the park, Art Day, Mayday, and Kids Day. If you are a DJ, I’m telling you, DJs are hot. When I got ready to do my conference, my DJ had a 3 or 2-week contract over in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Nigeria. I’m thinking, “I’m so mad. I love you so much.” I’m so excited for him. He is a veteran and he’s a DJ. He has this great opportunity to travel the world and get paid to do it. He did it. I followed him all over social media because I’m proud of him. He’s a client.
They buy everything. They buy courses, legal services, attorney services, insurance, and books, and they buy them in bulk. Whatever you think that you’re doing that is such a niche that the government will not buy, think again because they buy everything. I was looking for a contract for a client, and I saw a two-year contract for a cheerleading coach. I was so excited. I put it all over social media. I better bid on this. This is hot. I’ve never seen one. They also buy dental services and oil changes. Every city is self-insured up to a certain amount. They got police cars and fire trucks. If you could do servicing and all changes, that’s out now.
Every school district in the state of Texas and other states replace their roofs every three years if you’re in roofing. There are opportunities for everything. Also, event planners. I was just looking at something where they’re looking to do someone to organize the parade for the Martin Luther King holiday. We have Kaboom Town in Addison. That’s out for bid now. It’s a lot out. Being certified is your bus pass or your meal ticket into the room of opportunities. That’s what it is. You lead with that. “I’m a certified minority-owned, woman-owned, disadvantaged business. I am here to provide DJ services and sound.” They’ll say, “What’s your name?” “That’s not important, but it’s Cassandra.” They buy everything.By being certified by the government, minority/women-owned businesses give you a bus pass into a room of many opportunities. Click To Tweet
Do they buy encouragement? That’s what I sell.
They might. The Bureau of Prisons buys everything. We sleep at the Bureau of Prisons, but I love them. We have a women’s prison in the Bureau of Prisons, which is federal. We have county jails that buy courses and classes where when they get out, they can change their life. They can either start their own business or they can learn a trade where they can get a good job so they can take care of their family and not go back into a life of crime if that’s what they were incarcerated for.
Let’s say that they were struggling with dependency on drugs or alcohol. If you wrote a self-help book with some religious overtones or undertones, the Bureau of Prisons Job Corps will buy that book in bulk if it’s going to help someone transition away from drugs or alcohol and lead a healthier, happier life. It’s about selling it to them. They’re looking for it.
How do you find all these opportunities? Is there a website that has millions of opportunities?
There are millions of websites, but I’ll tell you the biggest one is SAM.gov. When you get your Dun & Bradstreet number you have to get there first. If you’re in business, you want to get on there because you want to increase your PAYDEX Score. Our score is not TransUnion. It’s PAYDEX. That’s how we build our business credit. You definitely want to be on SAM.gov. Another caveat is that you get access to their large contracts. Let me be clear, they’re not the little small bite-sized contracts that we bid on maybe a $1,000, $50,000, or $100,000 with a three-year contract. These are normally larger contracts, and they’re normally issued by federal entities.
They could be small, but they’re issued by federal entities. You’d first have to have your Dun & Bradstreet and your CAGE Code number, and you get that from Dun & Bradstreet. Don’t forget about public transportation. If you want to look and see, “Will the government, Fortune 500 companies, or school districts, can they buy what I’m selling?” That is a good place to cash a net just to see. Now you see those are huge. Those are $10 million, which means I’m going to need a lot of employees. Maybe I need to look at the little stuff, maybe under $100,000 with something I can manage.
I like low-hanging fruit, anything under $25,000 because we’re in Texas. We’re in the largest state in the union. I look at it this way. There are 26 counties in North Texas where we live. If I went to 26 county offices and asked for a $25,000 contract, that’s $650,000 and I never had to bid. Opportunities are endless. Now, we’re coming up at the end of 2023. They’re looking for accountants or bookkeepers to issue out 1099 to all their subcontractors. You think, “How many subcontractors can the city of Fort Worth have?” Tens of thousands.
I don’t understand how they have any continuity, but that’s another story. To get those particular numbers, Dun & Bradstreet, all those kinds of things, is it straightforward?
Anybody can go on DNB.com and apply for your Dun & Bradstreet. You have to have a business because they’re going to ask for your EIN number. We don’t use Social Security numbers in business. We use EIN numbers. Once you get your Dun & Bradstreet, your next registration is on SAM.gov. If you can’t figure out SAM.gov because they’ve changed since the pandemic, we have agencies that we use that we will refer you to because I don’t even like to do it.
When it was called CCR, that’s how long ago. That was back in the ‘99, but it’s called SAM.gov now. Even if you move, you have to make changes. That’s hard. If I’m thinking it’s hard and I’ve been in this game for a long time, it’s hard. There are services out there that can help you with that. You wanted your Dun & Bradstreet number because that’s how you build business credit. You want to be on SAM.gov because now you’re emailed bid opportunities. You don’t have to look for them. They’ll email them to you based on your NAICS code. You’re just a number with a government. It’s your job description codes.
If I’m a consultant, there’s a number for that. If I do legal prep, there’s a code for that. I am a speaker and a facilitator so there is a code for that. I have 21 of them. They will filter those opportunities based on your NAICS code and they will email them to you. Now you have a whole inbox full of opportunities and it’s up to you to decide. 1) Do you have time to read them? They’re about 200 to 300 pages long. 2) Do you have the capacity to bid? You make it do the scope of work, but it’s the capacity, which means the scope of work plus requirements equal capacity.
It sounds too big for me. Is that what you do?
Think of it like this. The government is a customer. That’s all they are with the ability to pay your invoice. Don’t think of it as government. I got a graphic artist to create this little person. It looks like a lizard. It’s ugly. I’m like, “What if you can do business with her?” I even gave her a Facebook profile. I’m like, “Does your customers have to be cute or handsome or can they be ugly and stinky?” They go, “As long as they can pay me, I don’t care.” “I have somebody. Her name is Govet. Can you do business with her?” I put up this picture and they go, “She’s ugly.” “She has money to pay your invoice.”
You chop the government into bite-sized pieces. Cities can be small. You say, “I want a small contract with the city,” and you deal with the city. The easier contracts are school districts. I wouldn’t go city, I would go school district. You go, “I want a small contract with a school district.” Even if it’s too big for you, then our team, not partner because partner is when you’re coming together to start a business, but you team with somebody else.
Charla, back in the old days when we were networking in Fort Worth, they had an access television channel through an organization called MLCC. Let’s say they don’t have the contract out, but we want to pitch to them that they should do that again because it brought a lot of traction as to what was going on in Fort Worth. We would submit a proposal called an RFI or Request For Information. We would tell them all about what we’re going to do and how much is it going to cost them. We will leave where we are certified women-owned businesses. We’re going to help you meet your participation requirement, and you should do it.
If they say yes, we have to figure out who’s going to do what because that’s big. You do the broadcast and I’ll do the marketing. I have a marketing company. I don’t, just for this example, and you do the broadcasting. You said, “I can do that all day.” I do marketing every day. Build those relationships. Now we talk about what your company and my company can do. Those are when you team together to get an opportunity.
I feel like when you first were doing all of this, there was something about socks. Wasn’t there a contract that you’re like, “They’re paying this much for socks or something like that?”
The Bureau of Prisons was looking for someone to sell them white socks. You have a good memory.
It was one of those, “Huh?”
They were buying socks. I’m telling you, that is not what God told me to do. I was trying to sell these socks. I’m like, “This is not what I’m supposed to do.” They buy socks and toe separators. They buy eyeglasses. They buy everything.
Did you say toe separators like at a pedicure place?
Yes. They teach cosmetology in prison. They buy all kinds of stuff. They buy a lot of automotive parts. They buy even things like ice. Also, every sport participates but NASCAR has the longest tailgating. Tailgate starts on Wednesday. One of the things they run out of is ice. I don’t drink beer, but who wants hot beer?
Amazing. If you use it, they use it in a way. It is interesting to revisit this with you. We get busy. We do our own thing. We get focused on our little stuff and recognize that this is a huge opportunity. How does somebody do that with you? Tell us who you are. Tell us your company. What if somebody is like, “I need to get more information about that.” How do they do that?
The company is Genesis Preferred Solutions. Our website is www.GenesisPreferred.com. We do all of the auditing of your documents for you. We do everything. All you have to do is send us documents. You have to prove that you were born a woman or a minority, if you’re a resident of that state, and you’re in business. There are some other documents to prove that you’re the owner of the company. Remember that 51% or more. We have to look at all your corporate documents and your tax returns as well as your personal. They’re not going to report you to the IRS. They just want to make sure that you’re a good tax-paying citizen. You obey the laws of the land.
Once we get all that, you complete your application. We prepare it for you, you sign it, and then we create your portal with the government. We upload everything to them, and then we talk to them for you. You don’t have to do anything else. You let us do everything. Once you get your certifications, we’ll send them to you. We’ll tell you, “Now you need to get listed so you can receive email and bid solicitation.” Like I’m telling you to go on SAM, every city office, county, state, school district, college, and university has its own registration portal.
That’s where things get a little quirky because that’s a lot of work. It is not the certification part. It’s the getting registered. Even if the city of Fort Worth or anybody had an opportunity and I said, “Charla, I printed this out for you and you should look at it,” if you’re not a registered vendor with them, you can’t even bid. One of the things we offer, which is step two, is to get you registered with those entities and Fortune 500 companies so you can receive your own bid solicitations.
You can now bid if that’s what you want to do, or go in and talk to them about the low-hanging fruit under $25,000. We can bid for some of our clients. That’s only on professional services. That’s how we do it. We’ve been very successful. We have a few people that white label our services because we’re nationwide. We’re not just here in Texas. We love it. It’s reading paperwork all day, Charla. It’s not pretty. It’s reading words on paper all day long.
Who’s your competition? Who else does what you do?
There are a couple of people who do minority and women-owned business certifications, but they don’t do all of them because there are different agencies that do different certifications. In Texas, we have our state certifying agencies, which are five in the state of Texas. We have the Department of Transportation. Here or in any state, it’s your Department of Transportation. That’s for disadvantaged businesses. We have Hub, which is the Texas comptroller.
Normally, my competitors only do one agency because that’s all they know to do. We can do all of them. We want you to find opportunities. Hub is for county offices, school districts, colleges, and universities, which are the easiest opportunities. We’re going to make sure you have that Hub. Disadvantaged business in any state is statewide, but those are larger contracts long term. We’ll do that one too. Our minority and woman-owned businesses are with your state certifying agencies. We do those too.
Normally, 3 or 4 different agencies are involved with 3 or 4 different applications. Because we’ve been doing this for so long, we’re just going to ask you to send the documents. How many do you want? I want them all. If you say you can’t afford all of them, how many do you want? Also, we know which documents go to which agency.
There’s a fee for each registration or how does the fee structure work?
It’s a fee for each certification that you want. We don’t do one. We’re going to either do two or all. Those are your choices with us. It doesn’t make sense, it’s too much paperwork just to do one. I just want woman on why you are missing out on all this other stuff. We charge to register your business. We’ll register you with 60 entities so you can receive email bids and solicitations. We’ll do 60 at a time. Your first 60, you’re good. We charge a fee for that because that one is very time-consuming. It’s a three-step process.
It’s a lot. You come a long way too. You were teaching and you taught me a lot back in the day.
That business basics one-on-one workshop, I have had a contract to do that same workshop since 2006. It’s the same PowerPoint. I tell the same jokes. It is so funny. When I change one slide in PowerPoint, they go, “Something’s missing.” You’re like, “Are you kidding?” Every first Saturday in the year, you’ll see me. I’m already booked for the entire month of January. I’m doing that workshop six times because I have contracts with the cities. I’m doing that same workshop almost every Saturday in the month of January and a couple of times during the week on a Tuesday night. I still do that one, same jokes and examples.
You want something that people remember. Do people still connect you to loving cake?
I love cake. I went to California and brought back 24 poppers. I eat cake every day. I’m going to be honest, I take one fork full and I’m done. I’ll save it and put my name on it. I still eat cake every day. People know me from cake and I do love cake.
It was almost like a little marketing.
It still is.
It’s like me wearing this little guy. I always have one of these on because it is so convenient. It’s almost like a trademark in a way. It’s not registered or anything like that, but people remember.
You always have your sunglasses through that hoop. Same thing with cake. People know I love cake. Cake causes world peace. I went home for lunch and I got two little cake poppers left from Los Angeles, and I said, “I’m going to wait until I come home tonight.”
This is great. It’s very interesting and a little complicated. Unless I just wanted to go out and start doing it, it would be like, “Where do you start?” You are offering a great service, a great convenience, and possibly a great reward on the side of that. They find you at www.GenesisPreferred.com and Cassandra@GenesisPreferred.com if they need an email.
Our phone number is (800)-718-2425.
It’s Dr. Cassandra Bradford. We’ve got a doctorate here. What do we have a doctor of?
It’s in relationship counseling. It’s in psychology. I don’t do relationship counseling, but being in business is building relationships. The Southern part of the United States is a relational state. California, New York, and Chicago are transactional states. You have to know where you are. Here we have the freedom to talk about things that we love, our spiritual self that collides with our personal self, our mission and our vision, and everything else we have going on for ourselves. We are unapologetic about it.
When I travel to states like New York, California, Chicago, or Virginia, those are transactional states. They don’t mix business and religion. Again, I’m older. I think I have my pass. I’ll be in the 60 Club in 2024. I will have my pass to say, “It’s just who I am. It came out. I love God. Here it is.” We build relationships here and we do business based on those relationships. We don’t have consumer rights here. It has to be built on relationships because we have no protective agencies.
Those other transactional states do. They have consumer Advocacy groups and organizations that you can report a company to if they didn’t do right for you. California has the Bureau of Automotive Repair that helps women who have been taken advantage of by automotive shops and body shops. You look at that stuff and you’re like, “You guys haven’t made. No one’s ever going to take advantage of you.” We don’t have those things in the South, so we have to go by our gut feeling. When we are meeting people to do business or to transact, we are using our gut feeling to say, “I pray they do what they say they’re going to do,” because we don’t have consumer rights here.
I believe in a win-win. If we just do the right thing with integrity and love people, and the harder they are to love, the more they need it, if we can just remember that we can go home and go to sleep at night, if we’re not taking advantage and trying to find an edge or an agenda, that’s my message.
I wish that we could live in that world, but there are two sides to every fence.
I get it.
I’m with you. When I met you, and I loved that tube of lipstick, and you say that it’s cruelty-free, animal-free, and it’s going to make your lips look beautiful, I’m like, “I want it.” I then get it home. It’s got all kinds of animal fat and everything in it. We were talking about our glasses. We put on our glasses, and we’re like, “This tastes like bacon.”
That’s the other food group in my world, just saying.
I love bacon, I’m in the South. That’s not what you wanted. What do we do? We just spent $20 or $30 and a tube of lipstick.
Do the right thing. My mama said, “Leave the world a better place.” She did. I believe that if love people exactly who and where they are, love them through these unsteady times, and know that the harder they are to love, the more they need it, we can shield ourselves from being upset all the time. Upset draws upset.
This has been amazing here. Our time goes so fast. We will have to call it a day. Find Dr. Cassandra at www.GenesisPreferred.com.
My email address is Cassandra@GenesisPreferred.com. The number is (800)-718-2425, and our website is www.GenesisPreferred.com. I’m on all social media platforms. We would love to be able to explain this whole program and process to you. We’ve been doing it for a long time and we love it. We can get opportunities.
You make it sound simpler than it probably is.
It sounds fun. Government is boring. We’re afraid of the government.
It’s so big. It’s so encompassing. It’s almost like, “Who’s doing what?” They don’t seem to know what right-hand is doing.
That’s the only time the computers talk to each other unless they’re snitching on you. The government’s scary, especially when certain alphabets sit together like the FBI, IRS, DEA, or CIA. When those alphabets sit together, we get worried, but this part of the government wants to do business with you. If somebody’s got to do the work, it should be us.
I love that small businesses have an opportunity to move forward with all that. I would be grateful if you were here at any time in the future. We’ll be out all over the place. Please continue to read the Charla Anderson Show, collector and connector of fascinating people, and everyone is fascinating. We’ll be here every Wednesday live at 1:00 PM Central Time on www.WinWinWomen.TV. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for paying attention. Thank you for reading. I am always so honored and humbled and grateful for anyone who does. Thank you so much, Dr. Cassandra, for taking your time and joining me here. As I always say, I appreciate you so much coming, and don’t forget to choose joy.
About Dr. Cassandra Bradford
Dr. Cassandra Bradford is Managing Partner of Genesis Preferred Solutions a niche small business consulting firm specializing in Minority/Woman-owned Business Certifications and Federal/State Mandated opportunities specifically designed for M/WBE’s for Multi-Million dollar contracts from the government and Fortune 500 companies. Dr. Cassandra is a mother, a friend, consultant, business owner, author, and national public speaker. Winning numerous awards including NAACP-Woman-owned business of the Year and International Business owner, Dr. Cass is a substantial mentor and requested expert in her industry. Knowing Dr. Cass is to ensure laughter, vision-execution, and your wanting to go further, think bigger, and adapt to her philosophy of Relational Currency.
I’m Charla Anderson, host of The Charla Anderson Show, Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) on live TV, streaming and podcasts. As a Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainer, a retired award-winning flight attendant, Olympic Torch bearer, personal development junkie, Inspired Speaker, Published Author and Your Courageous Coach, I want to share my passion of living life full-out, saying YES to intriguing opportunities, and encouraging YOU to do the same. Let’s jump on a discovery call and get to know each other. Find all things Charla at CharlaAnderson.com/links.On The Charla Anderson Show, We discuss Mindset, How much Your WORDS matter, Princess to Queen energy, mantras, HOPE, Faith, Miracles, Overcoming, and much, much more, including learning from amazing guests.Everything Charla: https://CharlaAnderson.com/links/Live show every Wed at 1 pm CT.https://WinWinWomen.tv/show/the-charla-anderson-show The WATCH Button turns green at 12:58 to join the live show. Also streamed on Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV.All replays are on my website, https://CharlaAnderson.com/tv-shows/Become YOUR OWN Show Host: https://WinWinWomen.com/ref/CharlaBuild your own website with amazing support: https://CoursePlatformAcademy.com/cpacharla/Nutrition, Energy, Health, Vitality, Focus, Collagen, Brain Health: https://www.Zurvita.com/charla/en/us/CBD: https://www.ZBlendsHemp.com/charla/en/us/Charla@CharlaAnderson.com