Episode 21 of the Public Sector Heroes Podcast feat. Jenny Clark
Written by Talia Semaan
YOU get a government contract, and YOU get a government contract, and YOU get a government contract! EVERYBODY gets a government contract… but only those who do their homework! It’s as if Oprah went from the world of popular culture to the world of complex government marketplaces. Oh wait, she did. Or at least, the “Oprah of Government Contracting,” as Jenny Clark affectionately likes to call herself. And we were pleased to have her on our most recent episode of The Public Sector Heroes podcast.
One of the biggest key takeaways you can expect after listening to Jenny Clark is that even though there is an abundance of government opportunities, the best strategy is to understand how to move through the process and stay consistent as you spread your resources. As she told host Frank McNally, “If you’re not focused, you’re not going to get what you want.” This Oprah is calling out small businesses who, even though they have the right intentions, are not going about the process in a strategic way. To further illustrate, you’re not going to hit that home run of a $10 million contract without first making some initial hits, and probably striking out a few times.
“It’s all about how you move through the process and how consistent you are.”
But don’t be discouraged, there’s good advice too. Jenny shares how to practically pursue contracts within the marketplace. First and foremost: do your homework. You will need to have a firm understanding of your market and target agencies because there is no shortcut to this process. You’ve got to know why you want to go into federal contracting and how your business is going to deliver value to public sector clients. You can leverage your company with a unique selling proposition, as long as you have a solid foundation in the market research.
And what is a lesson from the Oprah of Government Contracting without relationship advice? Think of government contracting like online dating and matchmaking. It’s as if you’re starting a new relationship, and a long way away from marriage. So just as the Oprah of government contracting would advise, you need to be prepared with their best look forward, dating around a little bit, maybe even swiping right here and there. “It’s about finding your team, your people who you connect with, and developing those relationships.” You’ll need to network and leverage relationships; asking others about possible prospects and keeping your options open. In other words, teaming with established primes can help you get the experience you need to succeed.
Once you do that homework, don’t be afraid to get into the game. Jenny and Frank have listed valuable places where businesses can connect as if it’s speed dating within the government marketplace. Consider the GovCon Summit as your first date. This is a perfect way for companies to be showcased, especially targeting small businesses and professionals in IT.
“What I’m really working on is creating a virtual accelerator network…the whole purpose is to connect government contracts with the resources and relationships so they can grow their revenue.”
Before the GovCon Summit in April, suppliers can head over to GovShop, a supplier intelligence platform, and ecosystem and to support public procurement. As Frank mentioned, it’s as if LinkedIn and Google merged together to form this platform specifically for the government marketplace.