This is a recap I gave earlier to a group of aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners, and owner-operators on the topic of government contracting.

In the spirit of Kelly Clark, tell us what you’re gonna tell us, tell us, then tell us what you told us:

The U.S. federal government is the largest buyer of any goods on the planet. Unlike other countries, in the United States all public contracts must meet small business goals broken down by several categories, including Woman-Owned, Small Business, HUBZone, Veteran-owned, and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. This year mark my 10-years in the federal government space with a multitude of awards as either a prime, subcontractor or supplier.

Why? Opportunities to scale and serve your country and community. How is it done? Points below.

Post-award conference. Nothing matters until you’re sitting at the table across from the contracting officers in the, “any final questions before we begin the contract?” This is not to say everything before is unimportant, it’s to say getting here is step 1. There’s a lot packed in before the post-award conference, from bidding the job, documentation flow, trade partner/ supplier quotes, bond letter, and your estimate/ takeoff final tweaks. But until you’re at your post-award conference, race to get here.

Margins. Prior to launching your business, and definitely prior to the end of your project, the company should evaluate the profit & loss by jobs to analyze which divisions, which projects are the most profitable and which are the most stressful. I shared with the group how in the past I was not only losing my hair but my vitals were through the roof. It’s both unhealthy, unwise and irresponsible to continue to trek down this path when the numbers (margins) can be better elsewhere and you get to keep your hair. Pivot. Simplify your business. Use an accounting software, a great bookkeeper and CPA to advise accordingly.

Network. Your network is your net worth. After a few post-award conferences under your belt, evaluations and re-evaluations of your margins with your advisors and team, continue and double down on your network. What got you to this point will only slow you down as you scale, your network must evolve.

Few places I mentioned: PTAC, Govology, and

An entrepreneur, strategist, and former Army Captain, David Molina owns Molinas, a government contracting firm specializing in equipment and material procurement for U.S. federal agencies in support of mission critical requirements.