If you work for a company with a potential solution or technology for government, yet believe the government doesn’t have the sophistication to value your capabilities, I suggest you think again. Having been a supplier to government as the founder of a strategy consulting firm for almost 15 years, I can tell you there are customers in government who are looking for innovative solutions and they will do anything to get to the best solutions out there. Yes, it can take some effort but then again, it isn’t easy to sell into any market, is it?
First of all, before you ignore the government, think about the scope and size. Governments across the US, federal/state/local, spend nearly $2 trillion to purchase anything from office supplies to weapon systems to healthcare services. Often, the needs they are addressing are enormous in sheer size and complexity. And the impact is felt directly by our fellow citizens. I’m sure you’re all aware of Katrina disaster relief or Healthcare.gov. Besides those well-known examples, on a smaller scale, governments provide critical services that affect citizens lives on a daily basis. One jurisdiction in California, for instance, created an application to help citizens get the food they need quickly through the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
Becoming a supplier to government can take some effort but there are ways to speed the learning curve and take advantage of the procurement innovations taking place. When I formed my consulting firm, Censeo, I wanted to deliver management consulting services that delivered tangible results while solving complex organizational problems. I didn’t want to just respond to standard RFPs, check the box and win some work. I wanted to make sure we were solving real problems.
How Censeo became a well-recognized brand in the federal market took some hard work and knowing the ropes. Like any business, we worked closely with clients to understand their critical needs, challenged them by bringing innovative thinking to the table, then delivered real results once we started working with them. There were some customers we walked away from when we felt it wasn’t a good fit. We had to work hard to figure out the ins and outs of government procurement. After 14 years, I can truly say it was worth it both in terms of the performance of the company and the problems we helped (and are helping) solve. Our work led to Censeo getting recognized in many national publications, including Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.
What I learned and what I tell others is that THERE ARE customers in government who need and want cutting edge solutions. And the reward, in terms of the impact you can have, is substantial.
Today, more than ever, we need more companies and professionals to bring their innovative thinking and solutions to government so we can work together to address our biggest challenges. Today, it is time for you to step up.
Go get started, download Public Spend Forum’s Supplier Resource Guide through which you can learn some basics and find where to locate opportunities within government. If you want to know even more, just reach out to me so we can figure things out together. During the week of July 4th, it is important that we get all our citizens and companies involved in helping us build a better future. I hope you will join us.
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