Government Contracting Language
Knowledge is Power. – Sir Francis Bacon
Language is crucial to communication and it spans from cultural differences and localized lingo that can allow you to assimilate or stick out in any environment. When it comes to the B2G market, I can perceive all the complexities that make up this contracting world. I know it inside out. “Oui Oui, Si Si, Hai Hai, and Yes Yes, I comprehend this marketplace. However, for many of you entering this world, it’s like a foreign land, with idiosyncrasies unfamiliar to most entrepreneurs.
Imagine, a friend telling you that the Japanese market is thriving with billions of dollars in opportunities. If we were to cross the ocean and set up shop to sell our products or services in Japan, there are a few things we will have to put in place. Starting off, we will need an interpreter, translator, cultural ambassador, business chamber connection, monetary conversion from dollar to yen, and many other resources. It would be foolish to just fly over and invest our valuable time and money in setting up a business there without a plan. The government marketplace is the same way.
Ummm, now that I’ve mentioned it, I see that some of you have done exactly just that. You see the contract prizes and the potential of money if you win. What you missed is that you have to educate yourself first before you jump all in.
There are multiple ways to help you to get started. The big firms with an unlimited budget simply only need to hire a retired general and a retired contracting officer who have been in the government space for thirty plus years and have them take the lead. This can be $200,000 for each person to add instant knowledge and relationships to their companies. These big companies buy the experiences, connections, and the education of sixty years with money.
For many of you, $400,000 is not in your budget. So, how can you achieve this? It starts with you educating yourself and learning how to speak governese one word at a time and one relationship at a time. This is the secret, well not really, because it is so obvious. Since it is so obvious, many small businesses just jump all in, and completely miss this known secret step.
Fortunately, in this current era, you have access to knowledge at the click of a mouse. Here is an online 15 week capture training program with the Capture Management Institute. This is a great step-by-step training program to give you a comprehensive education. It teaches you the language, culture, marketing strategies, relationship techniques, and proposal methodologies.
You can learn more with this link: www.capturemanagement.org
Tips for Immersion
Here are some other useful tips for learning “Governese,” the language of the government market:
Consider joining multiple government contracting associations. These organizations will be great assets to guide you through the government market. They will also be great networking resources down the road. Here are a few options for you to consider:
Attend webinars and seminars on government contracting. Countless webinars on the government market are available, and finding local seminars should never be too difficult. An ongoing education is vital.
Attend a PTAC/APEX training in your area. PTAC stands for “Procurement Technical Assistance Center”. These organizations are extremely helpful and hold a wealth of contracting knowledge. They recently went through a name change and are now called APEX Accelerators. You can find an APEX or PTAC near you at www.aptac-us.org
D. Keep Up To Date
Read government contracting news articles, websites, publications, etc. Like any new language, the more you immerse yourself, the faster you’ll learn. So, read up with some of these resources:
E. Regulations and Laws
Get familiar with contracting regulations and laws. There’s a lot of red-tape to avoid with matters involving the government, so make sure you know your stuff. Reading up on laws and regulations such as the F.A.R, D.F.A.R.S., and U.C.C. is a good start. Some resources are here for you to get familiar with
F. Enroll in Coursework
While you may be well versed in the culture of the private sector, the government market is a whole new ball game. So, before you try to land contracts, it’s very important to educate yourself. I recommend taking some classes and attending some events with some of these organizations.
G. Social Community
Also, I recommend joining LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups with a focus on government contracting. The best way to speak the language is to hang out with folks that speak the language.
The time and commitment you make to educating yourself will allow you to Immerse yourself in the community of government contracting. Become fluent in governese and let it open up the doors for your business for success.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abraham Xiong
Mr. Xiong is a small business advocate, social entrepreneur, executive trainer, blockchain ambassador, technology enthusiast, business coach, and community leader. He is the Founder of GovGenie.com, which is a marketing automation platform to assist government contractors in scaling their companies in the B2G marketplace. GovGenie is offering readers of this article a free trial access: www.GovGenie.com