Setting the foundation for success in the government-contracting world

Growing up, we are always told how important school is, and that we should get a college degree. After 12 years, there’s still more to come. Why must we become so educated, especially when most of us do not become lawyers, doctors or engineers?

I mention those degrees because those are the ones in which we study specific topics for the career that we have chosen, where the skills learned must be used. But most of us end up getting a marketing degree or something vague like an education or English degree, even though we will not become an educator, and the only English is the language that we speak.

We get this degree normally for one reason—to create opportunities or ultimately make money. So, we have these badges of honor or certificates that open doors and hopefully allow us to make money and live the American dream. Well, folks, the same needs to happen with your business. When positioning your business to work with the government, in most cases, you must have these so-called badges of honor and certificates to succeed.

As an individual, we need a résumé that documents our education, experience and references. As a business, we need the same, but it’s called a capabilities statement. This is a business résumé that is used for government opportunities. This document has your registrations, certificates and schedules. It also has your bio, core competencies and differentiators.

As individuals, we get that all mighty degree, because at times we need it to even get the interview. Then while interviewing, we want to stand out, so the more certifications or badges of honor, the more attractive we hope to appear for our new career opportunity. When a business enters the government contracting world, it works the same way. Having certifications and honors is sometimes how you get a prime business or government contracting officer to even look at you, let alone chose you for a contract.

As an individual, we go through elementary, junior high, high school and college. And, hopefully, the more educated we become; the more opportunities will present themselves.

Well, the elementary of the government contract world is registering with the System for Award Management or even the Dynamic Small Business Search.

Middle school, as some call it, or junior high school is registering with your city, county or state. When moving into your high school equivalent, you hopefully would qualify for a socioeconomic status such as a woman, minority, veteran or HUBZone owned business. Then to your college master’s degree, the General Services Administration schedule. Having a GSA schedule is what all in the contracting world aspire to achieve.

So, as we climbed the educational ladder through high school into college, we hoped for opportunities and wealth. Well, as your business takes those same steps, you hope for the same. Even though some with only a high school degree have accomplished great things and made millions, and others with the master’s degree did not attain such achievements. The education, certifications or badges of honor only open the door or present the opportunity. The real key is what you do with the opportunity once it arises.

Because up to this point, we have only talked about the foundation, or, as I like to call it, positioning. Either as an individual, we position ourselves for a career opportunity, or as a business, we become viable or eligible because of the prior time and effort that has been applied. But to this point, we have only positioned ourselves for these opportunities.

But the important point is, it all starts with positioning. Because when you have taken these steps and you have the certifications or badges of honor, you are now ready to enter this environment and have a great chance for success.

So, understand that the foundation must be laid, and becoming successful as an individual or as a business does not happen overnight. And those taking the long road and putting in the effort normally do see results, whether they’re a high school graduate, or have a master’s degree. ♦

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