“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ” Helen Keller
Entrepreneurs are characterized by their willingness to take risks. As I mulled over the risk I took to get onto the GSA Schedule, I looked back at the risks I have taken that brought me to this time and place.
I risked going to a small college instead of taking a scholarship to a large state university. I met my husband, married at 20, and completed my senior year with my baby in tow, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum Laude. So everything turned out all right.
I risked moving alone with my one-year-old daughter from the … Read the rest
“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead and . . . if the future road looms ominous or unpromising . . . then we need to gather our resolve and . . . step off . . . into another direction.” Maya Angelou
There is good that has come out of this ill-fated and completely avoidable misadventure.
- The process and requirements forced me to focus and articulate my areas of expertise
- I had to give serious thought to what differentiates my services from others who work in similar areas.
- I learned about the importance of identifying my company as a certified woman-owned business. That is not something that I have played
“PRESENT, n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope.” Ambrose Bierce
My company has been on the GSA MOBIS Schedule for nine months, with absolutely no success.
Why? The answer is very simple and I am glad to share it with you, in the hope that my sad tale saves someone else from this costly and time-consuming misery.
This is what I have learned:
If you want to provide soft skills training or curriculum development services to the federal government, you need to have:
(1) a large company with many trainers and support staff;
(2) offices in the Washington, D.C. area;
(3) offices on the west coast;
(4) provided similar program services to … Read the rest
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself. ” Peter Drucker
Once my company, Laurel and Associates, Ltd., was finally on the GSA MOBIS Schedule, the next step was marketing.
First, we needed a mailing list. The marketing company I hired gave me a list of 100’s of government contracts to sift through to identify: (1) the contracts relevant to my services, (2) the government agencies that purchased those services; and (3) the names and phone numbers of the purchasing agents for those agencies.
My next task was to create a marketing letter that introduced my company. It was addressed to Buyers and Contracting Officials. The … Read the rest
“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. ” John Steinbeck
I needed invoices that supported each program that I wanted to have on the GSA price list. These invoices had to be from programs facilitated in the past 5 years.
The problem was that, due to the economy and my less than competent marketing acumen, my business had suffered greatly for several years. Although I had an extensive roster of training programs that I had presented over the years, only a few had been of client interest during that time period. This was one of the compelling reasons why I wanted to get onto the GSA Schedule.
Since I didn’t … Read the rest
“I have no magic formula. The only way I know to win is through hard work.” Don Shula
How could I resist? It sounded so good: just get onto the Government Services Administration (GSA) schedule and federal agencies would directly contract with my company. There would be no need for me to respond to Requests for Proposals.
The GSA website proudly states that “The GSA Schedules program is the premier acquisition vehicle in government, with approximately $50 billion a year in spending or 10 percent of overall federal procurement spending. GSA Schedules are fast, easy, and effective contracting vehicles for both customers and vendors.”
The prospect was sweetened by the fact that there are specific set-asides for small businesses … Read the rest