Building Bridges to
Win Government Contracts

Photo of golden gate bridge

The world of government contracts can seem mystical and faraway – like a fertile island protected by both motes and iron gates. Sometimes it feels like only a few, select contenders are able to penetrate the walls of this opulent land.

Would you like to be a participant in the lucrative GovCon world? 

Maybe you know you have a great service – or product – to sell, and you’re confident in your ability to succeed once you’re in . . . but perhaps the motes appear wide and the gates locked?

If you haven’t been checking your federal calendar, the government’s buying season started July 1 and runs until September 30. This is the time of year when government entities must spend their budget before the end of their fiscal year – and the fiscal year is wrapping up soon! 

So, it’s not too early to see what’s out there for you – or to plan for next year. Like all things worthwhile, getting across the mote and through the locked gate takes planning. We know someone who holds the keys to the gates!

The Bridger: GovCon Academy

We’ve been writing recently about the power of connections and building bridges. And we’re genuinely happy to introduce you to other professionals who can help you achieve success in Federal contracts (and beyond).

This month, we spotlight Karla Williams – Karla is the founder of GovCon Academy, an organization she spearheads. Fueled by a sincere desire to show small-business owners how to cut through the bureaucracy and win contracts, Karla hosts webinars, publishes thought leadership articles, and facilitates on-demand training.

She also provides coaching and training that is personalized to each client’s needs.

Karla is passionate about helping small business owners get access to industry experts; find contracting opportunities; and network with others to get inside the walls of GovCon. And right now is the opportune time to reach out to her if you want to position your business for Federal contracting wins!

We asked Karla to share a few secrets to help you not just win Federal business – but keep it too. Here’s what she had to say:

First: Know the Landscape

Federal contracting, Karla keenly observes, is like a puzzle. A really complex, challenging puzzle. She says it’s profitable but frustrating; intriguing yet confusing; satisfying although regimented.

Knowing what to expect will alleviate a lot of stress and reduce your risks.

And working with Karla provides you a map that guides you through the messy parts of GovCon. She helps identify and arrange the puzzle pieces so you can see the big picture and understand how you and your business fit into the landscape seamlessly.

Second: Use Your Network

One of the coolest parts of working with Karla is that she acts as a guide along the journey to winning (and keeping) Federal contracts. The process is comprised of three phases, which include coaching for strategy; cohering a network; and developing proposals.

One of the most important steps, Karla reminds us, is leveraging a network! The old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is especially applicable to government contracts – and Karla is adept at building bridges for her clients, encouraging them to master the art of the soft sell.

Third: Master the Art of Subcontracting

And speaking of mastering the art – Karla says one of the most important things to do before taking the leap into GovCon is to trust in the power of subcontracting.

What is subcontracting?

Unlike prime contractors, subcontractors do not work directly with the government, but instead work for other contractors. And according to Karla, becoming a subcontractor first – think of it as a stepping stone rather than crossing the entire bridge – might just be the smartest way to break into the GovCon world! In fact, she says that accepting a role as “a sub” is a viable business plan for small-business owners.

Partnering with other like-minded people is beneficial in almost every scenario. Sharing collective knowledge, Karla admonishes, “helps clients and keeps all of us professionally fresh.”

Look Toward the Horizon

One final tip – remember to be a lookout for your business and recognize opportunities from afar. Part of smart government contracting is “capture.”

Capture planning, in fact, is foundational for any contract award. To improve your win rate, Karla helps uncover the need your business fulfills and the contract outcome that potential customers need. Then she helps assess the likely acquisition strategy so that teaming alliances can be formed early and competition can be identified.

You bid less and win more.

What’s on Karla’s horizon? She’s unveiling another way for you to land on the shores of the GovCon world through GovCon Academy training subscriptions and Master class offerings! And be on the lookout for the return of GovCon Women – a focused group that supports small, woman-owned businesses with the resources and knowledge to break into federal contracts.

If you’re interested in learning more about how, together, Karla and Theme can help you grow opportunities through their partnership, schedule a joint meeting with Karla and Michele Neyers, Theme’s Client Success Manager. Together, we can help you reach new horizons!