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ChallengeHER Rewind: Five Tips to Successful Federal Contracting

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

You never know what you will learn if you just ask. In October 2019, I moderated a panel of successful women business owners at ChallengeHER event in Washington, D.C.



The panelists were all experienced federal contractors:

  • Rebecca Askew, CEO and General Counsel of Circuit Media
  • LaShonda Bracey, CEO & President of Health-Works and ASAP Training and Course Development
  • Denita Conway, CEO & President of PROVEN Management, LLC
  • Anjali Ramakumaran, CEO of Ampcus Inc.

Below are five points they raised that bear repeating:


1. Hearing “no” is a challenge – not a deterrent.

We discussed this in the context of finding capital to start/grow the federal business. These women heard “no” from banks, investors, friends, and family. But they kept trying and pieced together the necessary capital to succeed.


2. To succeed requires a single focus.

The panel agreed that their laser beam focus played a big part in their success. They told stories of disappointments and complications with federal contracts, but their focus kept them on the road to success.


3. It only takes one person to open a door so keep knocking.

These panelists established relationships with buyers in a number of ways. Doors were opened by colleague referrals, connections though organizations, industry days and friends not necessarily by requesting meetings. These women did not prejudge whether a person may be able to help – they assumed everyone could help.


4. Pay attention to the smallest details – paperwork can trip you up.

They learned the hard way – dot every “i” and cross every “t” in RFP responses. Respond to everything the government requests. Anything less will result in disqualification.


5. Expanding within an agency is an essential part of a growth strategy.

This group is not content to rest with one agency contract. They see a contract as an opening to expand their presence in sub-agencies or a pathway to a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA).  



Tags:  ChallengeHER 

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