Growing Your Business

4/25/22 1:31:34 PM — Drone imagery of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo by Shane Bevel

Growing Business Guide

PartnerTulsa welcomes you to the Growing Business Guide for the city of Tulsa. The following general information guide has been created to connect potential business owners or existing ones to their target market as well as financing for growth. 

A target market is the unique group of people you want to reach with your message. The more clearly you define your target market, the better you can understand how and where to reach your potential customer. The better you understand how your product helps make your customer’s life easier or better will also help focus in on your ideal market. PartnerTulsa has tools in place to help you find your customer, fast.

All growing things have to be fed – and that includes your business. Access to capital can come from many sources ranging from equity and grants to loans and financial incentives. PartnerTulsa can help connect capital to your business needs.

  • Business Services Research Center
  • Small Business Marketing Tools
  • Market Intelligence to Grow On
Business Services Research Center
Tulsa Central Library

The Tulsa City-County Library (TCCL) Business Center is located on the third floor of the downtown Tulsa Central Library and offers a robust suite of business research services for any market. These range from free access to online subscription-based databases to for-fee Research Wizard services – all available with your (free) library card. Here’s a sample:

  • Customer and Contact Research – Access databases for customer and contact prospecting. Find names of officers, locations, website links, phone numbers, sales, employee counts, credit ratings and more from businesses to non-profits to government.
  • Market and Industry Research – Access databases for competitor intelligence, market research and industry reviews with published market reports, industry surveys, and extensive demographic data systems for identifying best customers and targeting outreach in both business and consumer markets
  • Patent and Trademark Research – Is your concept patentable or eligible for trademark? Research existing patents and trademarks through tools available at the Library Business Center.
  • Research Wizard (for fee service) – this is business intelligence beyond the Internet that pulls from over 6,000 newswires, newspapers, magazines, trade journals and industry newsletters – both current and historical – to assess products, advertising, and growth activities of your competitors.
Small Business Marketing Tools

PartnerTulsa offers the LocalIntel online tool for small businesses. Users can research community profiles, demographic maps, and competitor information to determine potential commercial locations, identify customers, and link to City resources all from one location.

In addition, the LocalIntel tool provides Community Profile demographic research support. What are Tulsa’s major business markets by number of people employed? Do more people own or rent their home? Where are the largest concentrations of people over age 65? Trends over time as well as maps provide insight into the overall economy as well as your target market.

Wondering if the local market has enough supply chain to support development of your business model, or will you need to look further afield for the skilled workers to make your product? What is the average profit margin for other businesses like mine? LocalIntel provides Industry Insights into factors that can make your business more successful.



Market Intelligence to Grow On
Two people shake hands

Market research and analysis is critical for the success of any small business owner or entrepreneur.” Karen Mills, Administrator, US Small Business Administration.

Tulsa’s Future offers business intelligence for growing companies through their online SizeUp tool. SizeUp helps small businesses find out how they measure up to the rest of the competition in their industry. They can also see the locations of potential customers, suppliers, and competitors. It also helps answer the question, “Where should I advertise” by identifying customer geographies.


Marketing to the City of Tulsa and PartnerTulsa

The City of Tulsa and PartnerTulsa provide services ranging from water treatment plant operation to vacant lot maintenance. With this breadth of operations, you can be sure there’s a place to sell your product to the City of Tulsa or PartnerTulsa.

  • Selling Goods & Services to the City of Tulsa
  • City of Tulsa Home Repair Contracting
  • Engineering and Construction Prime Contracting Opportunities
  • Engineering and Construction Small Business Program
  • Selling to PartnerTulsa
Selling Goods & Services to the City of Tulsa
A man fills out paperwork at a desk

The City of Tulsa Purchasing Department  is responsible for buying all the products used in conducting City business – from workshop tools  to work boots, from piping to paper towels, and from IT services to 4WD trucks. Each year Purchasing completes about 3,000 requisitions for various City department with a total spend of over $60,000,000 annually. With 80% of these contracts being less than $25,000, Purchasing relies heavily on small local vendors to provide critical goods and services.

The first step in selling the to City is to register as a Vendor. Registering is as simple as completing a short online questionnaire and attaching your business’ W-9 form for tax reporting. Once registered, your business should start receiving information on current opportunities specific to your interests. Or you can check the City’s online bid listing to see all available opportunities.

There are three ways the City may purchase goods and services:

  1. Under $2,500 – P-Cards: City staff use a “p-card” (a City-administered credit card) to purchase low price, over-the-counter goods. These purchases could range from flats of flowers for the Parks Department to paper goods for a community outreach event.
  2. . Between $2,500 and $24,999 – Informal Competitive Process: In this range, Purchasing Department buyers collect at least four price quotes by email from registered Vendors for the given product or service using a request for quote (RFQ). Generally, whoever has the lowest quote wins the bid.
  3. $25,000 or Above – Formal Competitive Process. Purchasing publishes a solicitation to registered Vendors – either an Invitation for Bid (IFB), Competitive Sealed Proposal (CSP), or Request for Proposal (RFP) – with specifications and scope of work detailing the project’s needs and who bids or proposals will be evaluated. Prospective vendors respond to these business opportunities by submitting hard-copy bids detailing how their product or services addresses the City’s needs. Typically, the bid award goes to the “lowest secure value”: the lowest cost that meets the department’s needs. Training on “How to Respond to Requests for Bid” and “How to Respond to Requests for Proposal” is available online.

For more information about selling goods and services to the City of Tulsa, check out their website.

City of Tulsa Home Repair Contracting
dog on a neighbohood street at sunset.

The City of Tulsa’s Working in Neighborhoods (WIN) Department carries out federal grants to help homeowners keep up with maintenance. In this role, WIN contracts to provide services to assist homeowners with emergency housing repairs. Those repairs are carried out by local businesses, like general contractors, roofers, electricians, mechanical contractors and plumbers. Eligible contractors will meet the following criteria:

  • Insurance
    • General Liability Insurance: Contractors should have general liability insurance that insures $500,000 for each occurrence and $1,000,000 aggregate.
    • Workers Compensation: Contractors should carry workers compensation insurance in accordance with the laws of the State of Oklahoma. WIN Housing will not accept exempt status for the Housing Assistance Programs.
    • Vehicle: Contractors should carry comprehensive automobile insurance.
  • HUD eligible. HUD has a list of debarred contractors. Your company cannot be on this list.
  • Licensed/Registered according to trade: Electricians, Plumbers, Mechanical, Roofers, Lead Base Paint.

To find out how to be a WIN Home Repair Contractor, check out their website for more information. WIN has prepared a 15-minute training video on the types of Housing Repair Contracting performed by their department. In addition, WIN also has a training video on their Nuisance  Abatement Contracting.

Engineering and Construction Prime Contracting Opportunities
4/27/22 11:32:32 AM — Drone photos of Mother Road Market, NOMA and Adams Apartments. TAEO images of midtown and downtown Tulsa. Photo by Shane Bevel

The City of Tulsa’s Engineering Services Department is responsible for contracting engineering, architecture, geotechnical, environmental, surveying, right-of-way, traffic control, and general construction services for road, water, and sanitary sewer systems. With the range of professional and construction services contracted by the Engineering Department, opportunities for local contracting abound.

Interesting in being a contractor for Professional Services or Construction?

Construction Projects for the City of Tulsa are advertised publicly through the Tulsa World every Friday for six business days unless specified otherwise and through the Oklahoma Eagle. Bid opportunities are also posted online through the City of Tulsa’s website.

The Tulsa Engineering Services Department has prepared a short 15-minute online training video on the application process for Engineering and Construction Prime opportunities for interested vendors.

Engineering and Construction Small Business Program
A person lays cement at a construction site.

Did you know that the City of Tulsa dedicates 10% of its engineering and construction contracts to local small businesses? The Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program is a great opportunity for local business to develop partnerships with general contractors and contract with the City of Tulsa. The eligibility requirements are listed below:

  1. Be operational for at least one year prior to your application.
  2. Have total gross receipts (total returns on cash and property without adjusting for losses) equal less than $3 million or $5 million for construction companies.
  3. Be a for-profit business, independently owned with a physical address in one of the following counties: Tulsa, Osage, Rogers, Pawnee, Wagoner, Creek, or Okmulgee.
  4. Have all licenses and permits available to operate your business.
Selling to PartnerTulsa
9/24/20 11:32:47 AM — Historic neon signs along Route 66 near downtown Tulsa. Photo by Shane Bevel

As PartnerTulsa and the Tulsa Development Authority seek to transform Tulsa’s landscape for equitable opportunities through the development and management of land and assets, we welcome the opportunity to work with developers and organizations in making a difference in Tulsa’s local neighborhoods.

We regularly issue purchase orders and contracts for services ranging from training support to land planning to site redevelopment. If you see a project on our website and would like to be considered for future opportunities, check our Requests for Proposal or get to know our staff.