Business Man Meeting Virtually with SBIR Grant Writer

SBIR Grant Writers

Did you know that 85% of SBIR applications are rejected (you can find a list of common SBIR application rejection causes here)?

SBIR grants are excellent for small businesses like yours, but you need to ensure your application is submitted error-free and with all of the necessary information to win the grant. And to do that, you’ll need an experienced (and vetted) SBIR grant writer.

Use our list of SBIR grant writers to find a skilled writer that will help ensure your application is accepted, and the funds are awarded.

SBIR Grant Writer Resources

Professional Writing SBIR GrantAfter a skilled STTR / SBIR grant writer expertly crafts your application, you’ll need an accounting team to finish the proposal requirements. We offer remote SBIR accounting services help guide you on your STTR / SBIR Phase I & II journey.

Get in touch today to learn  more about how Team 80 can help with your SBIR accounting needs. There’s money out there for you – it’s time to take advantage of it.


Sarah Sinicki Photo

Sarah Sinicki

Partner at Team 80 LLC

LinkedIn

Sarah Sinicki is a Partner and Director of Business Development with Team 80 in Colorado where she is able to apply her 20 years of experience to tailor an accounting solution for a business owner no matter what industry they might be in.


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TABA Explained: The Best Kept Secret in Startup Funding

You may be eligible for a whole lot of extra money that you didn’t even know about.

Illustration of Man holding large arrow

Every great product or service starts as an idea – or a dream. In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist with 3M, set out to create the world’s strongest adhesive. Eventually, the Post-It was born.

Dr. Silver had the backing and support of his employer to fund his research and bring the product to life (after years of R&D). We’ve simplified the journey from dream to iconic product, but your idea – your vision – is no different.

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you have a big idea that you’re passionate about bringing to market. But there’s also a good chance that you are missing out on a significant opportunity.

The government can fund your dream. Buckets of cash to help develop and launch innovative ideas are sitting unclaimed by dreamers like you.

Illustration of man and women carrying large arrow

We’re here to help your concept become a reality. You might already know about the SBIR and STTR award program, but do you know about TABA?

There are dollars available to you outside of the standard SBIR and STTR channels. But you need to know how to access those funds. That’s where TABA (and Team80) enter the scene.

Meet TABA, a resource that feels like one of the government’s best-kept secrets.

What is TABA?

Once referred to as Discretionary Technical Assistance (DTA) and Commercialization Assistance, TABA (the new term for this program) stands for the Technical and Business Assistance fund.

In simple terms, TABA helps you get additional funding over and above the SBIR/STTR grant budget cap so that you can pay for any commercialization and business costs not included with your SBIR/STTR proposal.

But you can only use SBIR award money for payroll, materials, supplies, and other business expenses or for the direct costs necessary to carry out your idea’s proposed research and development.

TABA is different. You cannot use TABA funds for research, development, and salaries, but you can use TABA funds for activities NOT covered under the SBIR grant, including (but not limited to):

  • Intellectual property
  • IP legal costs
  • Marketing
  • Market research
  • Customer discovery
  • Advisors and consultants for manufacturing plan development

Illustration of a man looking at budget

Here’s another excellent TABA perk: you can choose your preferred professional to provide services. Legislation passed in 2018, allowing you to select an alternative vendor to assist you with commercialization. Now you can use someone you trust instead of a federal agency-selected professional.

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Am I eligible for TABA?

If you have an active NIH, SBIR, or STTR Phase I award, or Phase I grant or contract within the last two years, then you could be eligible for TABA funds. However, you should know that if you’ve received multiple grant awards, they’ll only consider you for one project within the TABA program.

You’re also ineligible if you received TABA funds with your Phase I award. Still, you can consider requesting TABA in your Phase II application.

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How do I request or apply for TABA?

“Generally, you must include TABA and vendor requests with your SBIR/STTR Phase I or Phase II proposal submission,” says Jim Casart, Team 80 founder and CEO. “However, some agencies, such as NSF and NIH, have made TABA available to any business with an active award within the past two years. The granting agency may restrict vendor selection for post-proposal TABA.”

The TABA application process is complicated since it varies among the participating agencies, but you shouldn’t worry. We’ll make the process easy so you can stay focused on realizing your dream.

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What Agencies Participate in the TABA Program?

There are nine agencies currently participating in the TABA program. Here’s a list of participating agencies and available funds:

AGENCY

  1. DOE
  2. DOD
  3. DOT
  4. DHS
  5. NASA
  6. NSF
  7. NIST
  8. NIH
  9. USDA

PHASE I

$6,500
$6,500
$5,000
$6,500
N/A
N/A
$6,500
$6,500
$6,500

PHASE II

$50,000
$50,000
$13,000
$50,000
$10,000
$50,000
$6,500
$50,000
$50,000

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Why Use Team 80 For Your TABA Accounting?

You have a dream, a big idea. And you have the opportunity not only to bring that dream to life but also to take care of your family, for generations in some instances.

Still, without an experienced partner to guide you through the SBIR, STTR, and TABA awards process, your big idea could wind up on the cutting room floor. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Carpe diem – It’s time to seize the day.

Through our participation in the GovCon Alliance, we can help you locate best-in-class assistance and coordinate the TABA section of your proposal submission.

We understand the confusing nuances of government accounting and have over 20 years of extensive experience working with agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR programs.

And we’re also familiar with the different submission and solicitation processes among the participating agencies. We can quickly provide what you need, along with submission instructions.

Our TABA services include:

  • Market studies
  • Installation of government-compliant accounting systems
  • Establishing required policies and procedures for government contractors
  • Intellectual property strategy and implementation
  • Planning for Phase II follow-up proposals, including budgeting and commercialization components

Our mission is bigger than helping you access free government money. We have the opportunity to change your life and the lives of customers who can benefit from your innovative product or service. All you have to do is get in touch.

Illustration of a group of people talking at a desk

Stop wasting time mired in applications and paperwork and stay focused on your BIG idea. Let Team 80 take the wheel!

Sarah Sinicki Photo

Sarah Sinicki

Partner at Team 80 LLC

LinkedIn

Sarah Sinicki is a Partner and Director of Business Development with Team 80 in Colorado where she is able to apply her 20 years of experience to tailor an accounting solution for a business owner no matter what industry they might be in.


Business Woman With A Headset On Speaking With A Remote Team Member

Leveraging Internal Resources Through Subcontracting

Outsourced resources help your top employees do what they do best.

Key Points:

  • Outsourced remote partners minimize business risks.
  • On-shore outsourcing saves money.
  • Outsourcing can help your business grow.
  • Subcontracting lets you focus on running your business.

Most companies have at least a few valuable long-term employees with expertise gained from on-the-job experience.

These tenured workers go above and beyond, performing tasks outside their designated roles. And everyone in the company taps them on the shoulder because of their knowledge, experience, and willingness to help.

They’re quiet leaders. And smart companies value and retain them.

Intelligent businesses see the value of quiet leaders and support and foster their growth. Smart companies also recognize these long-term employees’ loyalty because they seek opportunities to grow inside the company instead of looking elsewhere.

Their loyalty, knowledge, and experience create a win-win business opportunity. Because the quiet leader and the business have a shared goal: to take on more challenges and grow.

But quiet leaders need time during the day to focus on tasks that help them grow. This often means abandoning the work they were hired to do (work they’ve mastered) and taking on duties and projects that align to higher business functions.

How does a company allow its quiet leaders to grow?

Companies usually promote their quiet leaders and hire replacements. But that’s not always the best approach.

Why? Here are two reasons:

  • Quiet leaders are born and not made. If one out of ten new hires is as capable and motivated as your quiet leaders, you’re doing well. And in small companies, who usually have little (or no) process for recruiting, hiring, and retaining top-notch personnel, their odds of employing a team of quiet leaders are slimmer. Playing the lottery isn’t usually a sound business strategy.
  • Your quiet leaders aren’t always interested in supervising and training subordinates. And if the goal is allowing the leader to expand her capabilities (and unburden other leaders), it won’t be achieved.

Hiring a quiet leader’s replacement often creates new problems because it keeps them mired in an inefficient cycle of hiring, training, and losing subordinates.

Pareto’s Principle at work.

Companies should outsource as many routine tasks as possible. It’s Pareto’s Principle at work. Pareto’s Principle says that 80% of results come from 20% of activity.

Here’s what we mean:

Success for most businesses hinges on a few primary activities (the 20%). The remaining tasks (the 80%) are essential but don’t add much value alone.

It’s easy to identify the kinds of tasks that fall into the 20% category, like sales, product/service delivery, solving customer challenges, and leading the teams that perform these functions. 20% activities inspire passion, excellence, and a commitment to giving customers a unique experience.

80% activities aren’t as exciting. They’re operational tasks necessary for any business. But both the 20% and 80% activities are critical to business success.

Unfortunately, the 80% activities are draining and take your quiet leader’s focus away from passion and innovation.

Remote partners are the answer – they minimize risks, save money, and help businesses grow.

Remote partners can tackle your 80% tasks – and they’ll do it with the same gusto your employees have for their 20% tasks.

Why not outsource your standard business tasks to people who geek-out on routine activities?

Team 80 is your outsourced resource.
We’ve seen too many small businesses fail for mundane reasons.

Here’s why: Small businesses have a lot of moving parts.

Large companies can throw money and resources at every moving part. But small businesses are strapped for time and cash. They aren’t always aware of the small, but necessary, details that are critical for success.

We’ve mastered small business back-office functions. It’s that simple.

Our systems mirror those of large businesses, like 24/7 global cloud-based data access and robust financial management software for accounting, payroll, and accounts receivable – and we have the expertise to run each system.

But Team 80’s Back Office Specialists are the core of our services. They’re on a mission to end small business failures. Our Back Office Specialists are committed to our customer’s success – and, by extension, your customer’s success – and they can adapt our systems to your unique business needs.

Give your leaders time to focus on business innovation.

If any of the activities listed below are distracting your quiet leaders, it’s time to make a change. Give your quiet leader a promotion.

  • General ledger maintenance
  • Cash flow tracking
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Credit card data entry
  • Managing accounts payable
  • Customer invoicing
  • Managing accounts receivable
  • Payroll
  • Employee benefits management (health insurance, 401(k) plans, etc.)
  • Adding new employees/deleting old employees from the system
  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Interfacing with external tax return preparers

Team 80 is your solution. Get in touch with us today.

Sarah Sinicki Photo

Sarah Sinicki

Partner at Team 80 LLC

LinkedIn

Sarah Sinicki is a Partner and Director of Business Development with Team 80 in Colorado where she is able to apply her 20 years of experience to tailor an accounting solution for a business owner no matter what industry they might be in.


Two creative millennial small business owners working on social media strategy using a digital tablet while sitting in staircase

12 Useful Tips When Starting Your Own Successful Business

If you are in the process of starting a small business, chances are you are in need of some highly effective advice and tips.

You are discovering there is more to owning/running a business than simply opening the doors and building a website.

When it comes to starting an enterprise, you need good management. You may already be pretty good at that. But your business also needs leadership. That means spending some time in the future.

Let’s look at the process of envisioning a great company and beginning to behave like one from the very earliest stages. (Good advice from Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM.)

At Team 80, we understand it can be daunting when it comes to starting your own successful, smoothly working business. Here are twelve things successful businesses do:

Tips For Starting A Successful Business

 

  1. Have a Detailed Vision in Sight: This is the first tip as it will be the very foundation that your business is built on. Envision your fully operational company five years into the future (including an exit event.) Choose a Core Purpose and the Core Values that will define your organization and let this vivid vision guide you on your journey.
  2. Write Out an Execution Plan for This Vision: This will be the outline for your entire business. Consider this execution plan for achieving your 5-year vision to be your how-to-manual for your business. It is the tool that you will use to review your milestones, budgets, tasks, and your 3-year, 1-year, and quarterly goals. Make it quantitative: what will sales be, gross margins, headcount?
  3. Choose The Right Legal Structure: A legal structure well attuned to your planned day-to-day operations (including exit) will impact everything from your taxes to your reporting obligations to your personal liabilities. You will choose between being a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S corporation, or Limited Liability Company. Most small businesses will opt for an LLC, possibly accompanied by an election to be taxed as an S corporation.
  4. Create a Functional Organization Chart: An organizational chart designed around your finished business can help visualize the flow of leadership from ideas all the way through to delivering your product or service to your customers. This is a functional organization chart. That means you don’t initially drop names into the boxes, but, instead, use a shorthand description of what needs to happen within the boxes. Lately, we’ve been recommending adding a separate box labeled “The Future”, to encourage businesses to remember everything changes and to build in the continuous adaptation process needed for sustained success.
  5. Detail The Functions of Each Position: For each of the boxes you created for your functional organization chart, create a Position Agreement which describes what needs to happen within that box, including what outcomes are produced. List up to 5 major roles for each function. Describe how the function supports the Core Purpose of the business and which other functions it supports or relies on for support of its own activities.
  6. Devise a Hiring Plan: Once you have assessed your specific needs using a functional organization chart and Position Agreements, you will need to create a step-by-step hiring process for identifying and attracting the right people. You are looking for 3 specific traits in each position: (1) people who clearly understand the job, (2) people who are passionate about doing the job (share the Core Purpose and Values), and (3) people with the capabilities needed for the job.
  7. Create an Active External Advisory Board: Let’s face it, you are going to be very busy working “in” your business. Setting up an advisory board that meets quarterly helps ensure you set aside some time for working “on” your business. Having advisors who are from outside your business keeps you in touch with the world where your customers and competitors live. A good advisory board is not a place to get your questions answered: its where you go to get your answers questioned.
  8. Develop a Target Market Analysis: A written out analysis of your target market will help your company allocate funds effectively as well as help identify the audience that will most likely use your product or services. Create a marketing persona that embodies your customer or audience. What emotions do you want to stir in your customers? What pain are you addressing? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
  9. Create a Marketing Plan to Address Your Marketing Target: Now that you have identified who your audience is, it is time to develop a written plan for penetrating your target market. Find the channels and mediums where your audience is, and create useful, relevant, attention-grabbing content/advertisements that are geared specifically towards them.
  10. Establish Process for Business Activities: Well thought out business processes will make it easy for your employees to understand and identify day-to-day business activities from making coffee to customer fulfillment. If it is not in writing, it does not exist. Good systems lead to great businesses. Use some of the time your systems save to continually improve your systems, Spend the rest of the time with your customers (or family).
  11. Set an Annual Operating Budget: Take the Quantitative Execution Plan you developed early in your planning and before the start of each year, create a budget that represents that year’s annual slice of your execution plan. Don’t just take the current year results and project them into the following year. Make your budget strategic by having it reflect the “big rocks” in your plan to improve your results. What will you stop doing next year? What will you start doing? What will you do more of? If you have more than 3-5 big rock initiatives, they aren’t big rocks.
  12. Lead Your People/Manage Your Business: It is a reality of business that there is never enough time. You must make time to pause often and think of two things:
    What can I do to help my people?
    How are my numbers?
    We know that sounds a bit unusual. But good business leaders know how to inspire their teams, while at the same time holding themselves and their teams accountable for results. Know your key performance indicators (KPI’s) and make sure your team knows them as well.
    12.5. (Bakers Dozen?) DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!


Sarah Sinicki Photo

Sarah Sinicki

Partner at Team 80 LLC

LinkedIn

Sarah Sinicki is a Partner and Director of Business Development with Team 80 in Colorado where she is able to apply her 20 years of experience to tailor an accounting solution for a business owner no matter what industry they might be in.