“Humility is essential if you want to take advantage of the trillion dollar marketplace.” Kizzy Parks
About Our Guest:
Kizzy Parks, PhD always knew she’d become an entrepreneur and earn an advanced degree in psychology. Her entrepreneurial spirit meshed well with her inquisitive nature as an adopted child who always wanted to, and then met, her birth family. Driven to be the successful business owner she always knew she would be, Kizzy went on to earn a Ph.D. and establish KPC, her flagship company over a decade ago. Kizzy owns and operates multiple businesses and has over $60 million in federal government contract awards. Through GovCon Winners™ Ultimate Edge, she helps service-based small business owners learn HOW to win profitable federal government contracts through our power system to grow their bottom line.
This episode is powered by the Move to Millions Method
If you want to make millions in your business, you’ll have to up-level your ideal client. And if you’re shifting your ideal client anyway, why not make the government your ideal client?! Government contracting gives you access to the best client in the world, as they spend BILLIONS of dollars buying products and services from business owners just like you! In this episode, I sit down with Kizzy Parks, PhD who has been awarded more than $60M in government contracts. Grab your pen and paper and get ready for a not-so-typical conversation about navigating doing business with the federal government.
Listen in to discover:
- What the government is buying and how you can compete
- How to find, bid and win your dream contract
- Why past performance is essential if you want to get big awards
- How to network and build relationships that could literally change your bank account overnight
- And much more
Powerful Kizzy quotes from the episode:
- “Client relations can make or break your time in this space.”
- “Knowing who you are and staying true to that is important at this stage.”
- “Building relationships helps to shorten the sales cycle”
Last Book Kizzy Read: Launch Jeff Walker
“Everything is possible.” Kizzy Parks
Tool Kizzy Swears By: Adobe Acrobat Pro
How to Connect with Kizzy:
- Website: kpcinc.com
- Instagram: @kizzymparks
- Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/Kizzy
- Twitter: @KizzyKPC
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DKP2007
Incredible One Enterprises, LLC is not responsible for the content and information delivered during the podcast interview by any guest. As always, we suggest that you conduct your own due diligence regarding any proclamations by podcast guests. Incredible One Enterprises, LLC is providing the podcast for informational purposes only.
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This episode is powered by the Move to Millions Quickstart Guide. If you’ve been wondering what it’s going to take to make the move to millions in your very own company, I’ve got exactly what you need. You can learn more and grab your guy now by visiting MoveToMillionsGuide.com. In this episode, I sit down with Dr. Kizzy Parks. She prefers to be called Kizzy. We got to talk all about government contracts.
This is not the typical conversation that we have here on the show but you are going to love it because it’s not a tactical do-this, been-that, then-that kind of interview. It’s more like the things they don’t tell you when it comes to government contracting that you need to know, understand, and be prepared to leverage inside of your own journey in the government marketplace.
Having the government as a client could be one of the best things that could ever happen to your business. It could solidify your move to millions, but there are some things you’re going to need to make sure that you do and don’t do in order to be able to make that happen. Kizzy and I get all up, in and through it. Yes, all of the prepositions.
Let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Kizzy. As a kid, Dr. Kizzy used to clean golf balls located in an alley behind her friend’s home and resell them through the fence to golfers. She would use that money in order to buy some of her favorite treats. She always knew she would be an entrepreneur and she went on to earn an advanced degree in Psychology. Her entrepreneurial spirit meshed well with her inquisitive nature as an adopted child who always wanted to meet her birth family. Driven to be successful as a business owner, she always knew that she would be. She went on to get a PhD and establish her company, KPC, over a decade ago.
Now, she owns and operates multiple businesses that have earned more than $50 million in government contract awards. Through GovCon Winners, she helps service-based small business owners learn how to win profitable Federal government contracts through the powerful CTC technique to grow their bottom line.
This conversation was filled with so much. I can’t even tell you about one thing that I loved because I loved all of it. The one theme that kept ringing true throughout our conversation was making sure that you understand your business structure. We got into a lot of the nuances and elements that can get you caught up in the government contracting process if you are not careful, if you don’t know who you are, and if you don’t know the company you run and what your goals and objectives are. Do yourself a favor, grab a pen and paper and let’s jump into my conversation with Dr. Kizzy Parks.
Kizzy, I am so excited to welcome you to the Move to Millions show. How are you?
I’m doing well. How are you doing?
I am excited to be having this conversation with you. Every day is a good day in my life. I don’t have bad days because I’ve made a decision that there are no bad days. Even the days that aren’t going the way that I want them to go are still going the way that I need them to go. Take a quick moment and tell everybody who you are in your own words.
I am Dr. Kizzy Parks. I go by Kizzy. I am an entrepreneur at heart who loves helping. I’m all about making lives easier. That’s my theme. I’ve won over $50 million in Federal government contracts. Now I’m on the path of helping other small businesses learn how to navigate and win profitable government contracts. At the core, I’m a person who loves to help. I’m an entrepreneur and psychologist.
This is going to make for a great conversation. I love your energy and I hope that everyone who’s going to read this episode immediately gets that infusion that you’re bringing to the table for all of us because it has given me life. It’s a little cloudy outside, so I’m getting perked up and getting excited about your energy. That is $50 million in government contracts. I’ve met so many people. Let me tell you a little bit about my background. You may or may not know this. I used to run a women’s business center here in the State of Delaware.
As a result of that role, I did some work with the SBDTC and their procurement office. I’m very familiar with government contracting. There was even a portion of the time when I was on the GSA. I might still be on there. I don’t know but I’m not focused on government contracting myself. I know that for a lot of people, it’s a big enigma. I’m excited that you’ve taken on this mantle to help other people to be able to get a piece of the success that you’ve been able to amass.
I love that. As a woman of color, you want to help more of us. What I love about government contracting, the government is the best vendor ever because they pay on time. They pay pretty well. It can shift the trajectory of your life and your business overnight once you do all of the steps to get awarded a contract. That’s what I’m excited about diving into for our readers and giving them some success clues of things that they need to do. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us, how did you get into government contracting?
I was a graduate student at the Florida Institute of Technology in glorious Melbourne, Florida. It was Patrick Air Force Base. Now they’re Patrick Space Force. I heard that at Patrick, there was this equal defense opportunity management institute that offered to pay real money to those in the PhD program and industrial organizational psychology at FIT. I thought, “This is real money. It’s not far. It’s a graduate research fellowship. I’m graduating soon.” Most importantly, many family members had served in the Military, Army, Marines or Navy. I thought, “Let me check this out and see what this is all about.”
I applied, then I ended up partnering with this researcher out of Tennessee. I was physically at Patrick Air Force Base at the time, providing data analytics. Basically, they allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do around human relations topics under this umbrella of graduate research fellow. I would get things ready to send to conferences, analyze data, and network with people because they only had a large quantity of data at that time that was available for research purposes.
Fast forward a few months, that December, the director of research came up to me, his name is Dr. McDonald. He said, “I heard you’re graduating soon. We would like to keep you on as a contractor.” At that time, I was praying not to get a job. I had a job offer. I was like, “Okay.” I didn’t know what that meant. I saw government contractors and what I knew was I was to take that blessing and springboard that into my company because I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was a little girl.
I said to him, “Yes, I’ll do this. However, I’m not going to be a butt on the seat that’s here 40 hours a week but you’re paying me as 1099.” He was like, “I don’t care. Whatever. You guys work it out. You’ll be subcontracted under this company.” I was like, “Okay.” That was my first subcontract. It was a little less than six figures and I took that.
Through my connections at Patrick, I ended up getting in touch with Army Reserves, National Guard, regular Army, and office personnel management. Through all these other agencies, I started picking up all this work, then I also brought on some other work that I’ll talk about later on here. That’s where I started. I leveraged that graduate research fellowship and ran with it.
It was building the relationship first for yourself. How did you get to $50 million contracts? For me, that number is not nearly as big as it used to be. As I’m growing my own company, we’re closing in on eight figures. Now it’s not as big but I know there are a lot of people who are going to read this and they’re like, “I’m sorry. Did you say 50?” How does that even happen? Talk a little bit about that.
It’s well over 50. How it happened was it’s about how you have your business structured. Meaning, whether you sell to the Federal government, Amazon or neither, it’s about how you are making money. What is it that you’re selling? Here’s what I mean. Initially, we started out and it was selling training or speaking engagements. When you do something like that or you sell, “Here’s my all-in-one service,” then that’s it. That’s one transaction.
How do you have continuous revenue? You either have a subscription or you get more people to buy or you upsell them. Whatever it is but you have got to have higher numbers. I learned in Federal government space that they have these contracts that are multiple years, usually anywhere from 1 to 5. Every now and again, there might be a tenure one. These contracts will have people, full-time equivalents attached to them, where you’re receiving ongoing revenue.
You have to understand what the government is looking for in the opportunity so you can determine whether it is not only a good fit but also profitable.
I was told by many people that I connected with in Central Florida that this is the way to make money in Federal contracting. You want long-term revenues as opposed to these one-offs. I gave you the service. I gave you the product and now I got to get a hundred more of you. What we ended up doing was we pivoted and started bidding on those kinds of opportunities.
We’ve had multiple $10 million contracts, $20 million, $23 million, $1 million, $500,000, $1,000. The reason that several of them have a high dollar value is because it’s for often five years. You have that dollar value spread out over five years and/or you can grow the work and maybe you use up all the money in a year or two, then you get another contract with them.
What are you selling? In these contracts, are they all training and development? For you specifically, what are you selling to the government to get this $10 million multi-year contract?
It varies. Some of them are training. Some of them have to deal with the inspection. Some of them are related to acquisition training because we’re certified by Defense Acquisition University to provide acquisition training. Some of them are exercise physiologists. We have religious positions. We have a Catholic Parish team member in Hawaii.
It sounds like anything. No matter what anybody now does, the government buys it. That’s what I’m hearing you say.
That is making a lot of people excited about that. That’s something that I’ve always understood, that the government is the best contractor or the best person to pay you, whatever that person is called. I can’t think of it now. No matter what it is that you sell, there is some contract or some RFP out there that could end up allowing you to do that on a government level. How do we find out about the opportunities that exist and put ourselves in the running to win them?
I wish I could say it was simple. There are two things here. It’s like things that we make easy. It’s like, “You just workout and you eat well and you look like J.Lo or Beyoncé.” It doesn’t work like that. That’s like a government contract. You can go to SAM.gov and you can take a look at the opportunities that are there. The platform is interesting. It’s going to take a minute to learn how to use it because it is not Google, but they are on SAM. Is that the only place? Of course not. Not at all.
They’re also not publicly out there. Sometimes agencies don’t put them out there. Taking a step back, you can go to SAM.gov and at least take a look because there’s a lot that goes into how to find, how to bid and how to win. The basics are to eat good, eat well and exercise. That’s that equivalent. If you go to SAM.gov, you can take a look. Be careful because when you go in there, it’s going to list some by relevancy.
You’re going to see stuff from 2017 and you’re going to think, “This Kizzy lady is lying.” I promise you, I’m not. You’re going to need to change it from relevancy to frequency or date or something like that. You’re going to get the most recent ones at the top, so you can at least take a look. What makes it challenging is many people in this space will say, “You find out what an agency bought in the past and that’s going to help you figure out if they buy what you offer.” That’s all lies. It’s not like that.
It’s no different from us. Just because you bought a cell phone, do you need another cellphone? I don’t know. Maybe or maybe not. Maybe you only need a new cellphone because iPhone came out with a new one or Galaxy came out with a new one or your kid wants a new one or maybe you want another one because you want another phone number. Who knows? Just because you bought a cellphone doesn’t mean you’re going to buy more cellphones.
It’s like the Federal government. Just because the Federal government bought janitorial services or training or cyber security, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to necessarily buy it again. You don’t know what that contract entails. My point is you wanted to get an idea of what’s out there. Not so much focused on, “I heard the Army or the Navy got money.” Put that aside and focus on SAM.gov. Focus on going to the gym and eating better. That’s the basics. That’s what you want to do, then you have an idea of what’s out there.
There’s a whole other piece of understanding what they mean and what they’re looking for. There’s a lot that goes into it because people make it seem like, “You just bid. If you’re a woman or minority, you go and get all this money.” It doesn’t work like that. If that were the case, then everybody would run around on Instagram with the money phone and say they got it from government contracting. That’s not what happens to my knowledge unless I’m not on the right pages.
You have to also understand what they are looking for in the opportunity so you can determine not only if it is a good fit. Is it going to be profitable? Most importantly, do you want to work with that agency? I’ll put this out there. I would love to fill religious positions, especially Catholic. They have many opportunities for Catholic priests all over the world. The government wants Catholic priests. My main company KPC, we don’t bid on priests. It’s a rule. Why? It’s because I don’t know if that priest has done something bad or not. How would I know? Just because Father John is available. I don’t know father John and I’m not going to put Father John on a contract and find out something bad.
My point is, for us, we don’t bid on priests. Maybe you’re like, “I want to do that.” Maybe you’re like, “Let’s do it. I want to bid on some priests.” That’s an opportunity for you. You don’t have to be a religious organization. You don’t have to have past performance in it. You just need to be able to find priests for these different positions. That may be a fit for you. For us, it’s not a fit. The beauty is you get to figure out where you want to spend your time and where you want to focus.
The government doesn’t pay out until all of the deliverables have been approved.
There’s a lot you said there. I want to unpack that a little bit to dial it back for the people that are reading. I agree with you that a lot of people think that it’s as simple as, “I’m going to get a government contract and I’m going to make it rain.” It does not work that way. You said a lot. You said there are basically three layers. That’s what I heard. How to find the opportunities, how to bid on the opportunities, and how to win the opportunities.
It tells me right away that each of them is a loaded area. You talked a little bit about finding them at SAM.gov, which you can go and see. The tip there was to make sure you change the way that the opportunities are showing to you so that you move it from relevance to whatever is going to be appropriate based on what’s there so that you see the most recent ones.
You also need to understand what your make codes are. Do I need to know what my code is to even find opportunities that are based on my code or do I look at everything that’s there and sift my way through? You’re going to have some clarity. That is basically what I’m trying to get to as it pertains to what Kizzy said. You need some clarity about what you bring to the table, what opportunities you want, and do you even want to work with that particular agency.
Sometimes you may have that information, which is why it’s good to have someone like Kizzy who has extensive experience working in government contracts. They can prevent you from making mistakes. You could get yourself locked into an agency that you don’t want to work with for a period of time because you happen to have won a contract that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
A big part of this is making sure that you get some guidance. Don’t go out there on your own. Are there specific things that you have to do to be able to access and bid opportunities in SAM? Is there anything or can I off the street go to SAM.gov, see something I like, decided I want to respond to an RFP, and that’s the end of it? Do I need some other credentialing or process to take place to make that possible for me?
To bid on your own, you need to be registered, which takes time. However, if you find another company that’s already in SAM, you could partner with them and ask them to bid on it together.
That would make you a subcontractor.
You can do that. It takes a little bit of time to get registered in SAM. Sometimes it may not be the best approach because there are many people who make a very nice living as a subcontractor or 1099 to companies who have active Federal contracts, then they use those who aren’t in SAM. We do it through KPC all of the time.
The other thing you said that is important to note here is you have to make sure it’s something you want to do. Just like all money isn’t good money, having the government as your client could not be the best thing for your business. It depends on the work you want to do and how you have it set up. I used to be and I might still be registered for SAM and all of that stuff. I used to actively get and won a couple of contracts back in the day, but I decided that it wasn’t the work I wanted to do.
I’m going back to what you said earlier. You said, “What’s your business’s structure? How is your business set up? How is your business making money?” Understanding that variable is going to help you to determine if you should even approach government contracting because it can be very lucrative.
You can instantly become a million-dollar company depending upon the stipulations of that particular award and the number of FTEs you have and all of those types of things. It could be extremely lucrative, but you have to make sure that it’s the work that you want to do. Otherwise, you’ve created for yourself a good-paying job that has a boss that has the ability to take you out if they want.
It’s very true. I’ll say somebody I came across who ended up getting some work. It seemed good on the surface. It’s probably in totality with their different task orders. It’s probably easily $1 million. You’re like, “$1 million. That sounds great.” The thing is, it doesn’t pay out until all of the deliverables have been approved. For this particular person, this type of work is outside of what they usually do. They’ve run into some problems, so they haven’t been paid. I don’t know if they’re ever going to be paid.
They’ve paid out people who’ve worked on it. While on the surface it seems great, a million-dollar contract, a new client, and cool work. In reality, you paid out. You had to take a line of credit to support it. The government doesn’t like working with you, and then it’s like, “Oh my gosh,” because that’s a different business model too. It’s a deliverable-based model.
It’s almost like, “I’m going to make you a custom piece of furniture but you’re not going to pay me until I deliver you the furniture.” It’s like that. You got to wait a year, two years, maybe three years to be paid out. How many companies can cover that gap? That’s something else to think about because we think, “The government. You’re going to get your money.” There was one client that paid us in 24 hours.
You have to ask yourself, are you looking to provide the services, or are you looking to take the entrepreneurial route and build a business?
There are those where you’re paid out upon deliverable. That’s also important. It’s not just with the Federal government but also with any other client. You need to know your account receivable time. Is it 90 days? Is it in hours? Is it in weeks? Is it in years? What is that account receivable because you need to know about your cashflow.
I want to stop you right there because I know you could keep going. You said so many important things that business owners who desire to be CEOs of a million-dollar company need to be thinking about. To make sure that you guys caught it. Kizzy was explaining a story of something that happened to someone she knew who technically got an award but still wasn’t being paid for the award. They started performing the work and getting the things in place and they don’t know when they’re getting paid. That’s the problem.
As the CEO of your own company, you need to understand your sales cycle. You need to know your revenue cycle. You need to understand how long you can go. Even when the government is your client, I wouldn’t be working for the government without money. I’m not working for anybody without money because that’s foolish. It’s all of those variables. You need to be clear on them and not get caught up in the excitement of, “I got a government contract that is going to make me millions,” because it could be a long time before that happens.
That’s one of the reasons why I stopped working with the government. I didn’t like their payment schedule. I didn’t like that. I sometimes had to wait 180 days to get paid for the work that I did. That didn’t feel good to me. I would never have been an employer working at any company and they came to me and said, “We can’t pay you for six months. Is that okay?” I would have never been okay with that. I was like, “This isn’t going to work.”
It has the potential to be huge if I’m willing to wait and that means that as a business owner, I would have to have cash reserves. I would have to know what it takes to run my company for however many months. I would have to have cash enough or other opportunities where money is coming in consistently to be able to front-load what I was doing now until the money came in.
That’s a lot of stress that I personally didn’t want. More importantly, as business owners, many of you don’t understand that about your own company. You need to understand that if you desire to have a business that generates millions, whether your client is the government or your client are regular corporations or individual consumers, you need to understand how your revenue and sales cycles work, and when the money is coming in to validate that you can continue to run your business.
If you don’t know that, trying to go after a SAM government contract is not going to save you because in almost every case, there’s a wait time. There’s an onboarding period before you receive the payout. If you’re not prepared to sustain during that time, your business could go under even though you technically have this million-dollar award. That was the problem.
When it comes to the payment from the government, it varies and you can sometimes propose things. For instance, some of our contracts are called firm fixed. What we do is we have the sum and it’s divided by the number of months. There was another contract we had with the Department of Transportation, where initially, we had four milestone payments. They came back and said, “Can we do three?” We’re like, “Okay.” It was three payments. That’s fine. There’s other work we have where it’s deliverable based. Upon their approval of a deliverable, the invoice is submitted.
The thing is, we made accommodations for all of the different kinds of contracts. The difficulty is when a person doesn’t know or doesn’t realize that you can make an offer and say, “I get that you are saying this is deliverable-based but how about we have three payments or four payments or bi-monthly payments?” The worst that they can say is no.
They think because it’s the government, they have to take what they say. I tell my clients all the time, even with corporate contracts, “You don’t let anyone else dictate how you get paid for the services you render. I don’t care who they are.” I love that you talked about them wanting to change the award from 4 to 3, which is in your favor, but here is how this could go awry.
You don’t have things set up in your business that all of that large chunk of change comes in, and you know how to appropriate the funds so that it can carry you because if they’re giving you three payments and let’s say it’s a twelve-month contract. That means you’re getting paid every three months. Whatever they give you in that first chunk needs to last you the entire three months until the next chunk comes, especially if you don’t have any other revenue coming in.
You got to make sure you understand your business. You got someone looking at your financial management to make sure that your company can continue on and the money is going to stretch enough for you to do everything you need to do. The things you need to do aren’t just paying the people that are working the contracts. There are way more things that go into running a company.
I’m so glad you’re talking about this because people get that pie in the sky like, “I’m about to get paid,” without realizing, “You might get paid but it also might be delayed.” If it is delayed, how is your business going to continue to run while you’re waiting for that payment? I love that you said that they could negotiate because far too many people think they have to take what was told to them because it’s the government. I think that is such powerful information. For those of you who are reading now, I know you are taking copious notes. You’re getting some great nuggets that will help you to begin to navigate this process.
I know there are some other tactical things that people can do, Kizzy. When you think tactically, let’s say I’m not going to go to SAM.gov and look for opportunities. I’m going to take the time and I’m going to get clear about my business model. I’m going to get clear about what I have to sell and verify that the government buys it. I’m going to select the agencies of the government that I think are the best for my particular service. Those are the first three things that I’m going to do. What do I do next? Do I now go and get myself registered or should I have registered myself before I figured out all of that other stuff because it could take time?
Everything is possible because I firmly believe it.
There are two things. One, you want to see on SAM and/or through connections on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, whatever you like to use socially, what are people doing? Here’s what I mean. I came across a woman whose whole focus was accounting. She would provide some type of accounting services to government contractors. She was dipping her toe into government contracting.
While she was doing that, she ended up getting a contract out of Texas. Basically, she provides staffing for different positions. They’re not all accounting. We were talking and I said to her, “If you want to pursue government work, it’s going to be very similar to what you’re doing in Texas. You’re going to end up providing some sort of staffing because the Federal government is not going to hire you to provide accounting services.”
That goes for those of you who are reading because many people come to me, “I’m in accounting, I do PR, I do websites, I sell a product or I provide training.” That’s all amazing but the thing is the government may not buy that exact thing. Maybe you provide leadership training but maybe they want team building. Maybe you provide website development but they want a full-time equivalent onsite to help with websites and graphic designs.
The point is you have to ask yourself. Are you looking to provide the services or are you looking to take the entrepreneurial route and build a business? Your answer is going to dictate. If your answer is, “I like doing this stuff,” then you don’t even need to register in SAM. You can try and find another company that’s looking for somebody like you. You could be an FTE for them. You could be 1099. You could be a subcontractor.
If your answer is, “I want to build a business. I want to be the next IBM,” that opens you up to a whole wide range of opportunities because IBM does a lot more than provide IT. They do a lot more than that. That’s the thing that you have to do. The way to get to that is by connecting with people online and maybe asking them, “I saw you got a government contract or I see something about the government in your profile. I would love to talk to you to learn more.” You want to know what these people are doing to see if it’s of interest to you, in addition to checking out SAM.gov to see if it works. You may find that it’s not what you thought it was or maybe it is. You’re like, “This is awesome. It’s a perfect fit.”
The bottom line is doing your due diligence and doing your research because you want to make sure that if you’re going to make this commitment to the process. You are clear that this is the process you want to undergo. It’s not going to be as simple as seeing the opportunity, bidding on the opportunity, and winning the opportunity. There are a lot of steps and a lot of things that are in place that have the potential to either fast-track it or toward it. You’ve got to be prepared for both.
I’m going to say this probably for the third time for those of you who are reading. The biggest thing is knowing your business and knowing what your business that can sustain as to whether or not now is the time for you to even consider this as an opportunity for you. It is so important to do that because many people are like, “I have an opportunity to get government contracting.” They do pay well, but are you willing to do all of the things that need to be done?
Are you prepared? Do you have the capacity? That’s another issue. If there is a requirement inside of your award that you’re not prepared for and you don’t have FTEs to fulfill it, that means you’re going to have to do it. Any time you’re spending in your business, you’re not spending it working on your business. We have to be cognizant of that as well, which is important in this process. This is so good.
We could probably talk all day about all of the nuances that go into government contracting, but as we start to round up our time together, I want to know if there are any other important things that they need to know at this stage of the game and decide if they want to leverage the power of government contracts to make their businesses move to millions? What else would we need to share with them at this point as they’re trying to make that decision?
The big thing is to realize the importance of client relations. When I first started out, I was directly out of graduate school. I interned at Lockheed Martin for three months and have had a lot of jobs since I was fifteen. I spent a lot of time throughout the lovely State of Florida and other places learning from the small business administration and other government contractors as far as different tips and tricks.
One thing that they never mentioned was client relations. They talked about pricing, proposals, and capability briefs, but they never talked about client relations. What I mean is this, the government has a lot of options. For the most part, they’re spending taxpayer dollars. Companies focus on the sale. It’s no different than maybe where you are now, “I want that sale. I want that money. This is awesome,” but then there’s what happens after.
In government contracting, often, you’re dealing with people. It’s people behind the helicopters or people behind the cyber security. It’s always people that the Federal government is paying for. You want to make sure that the people who are on your contracts are taken care of, as well as your client is taken care of. Too often, a company will win the work. They have somebody in position and they’re off to the next one.
What happens is if the agency loves the person providing the services and they could care less who has to contract, then you have no value. Why? What value are you bringing? We love Brenda. Brenda has been doing the work. I don’t know you or maybe Brenda is not doing the job or maybe the agency needs other additional services but because you don’t even engage with them, you won’t even know what they need or you don’t even ask them.
That right there is a big opportunity in this space and it’s very important because the more you overlook and you’re like, “I won,” and you move on, then you’re taking away from what that could turn into. It’s very important in the government space the client relations once you win the work. It’s not to get the work. It’s not necessarily to get more but for you to keep the work, and for them to want to continue working with you.
That’s something to think about. If that’s not your forte, then you have to find somebody who does it. I have a Lori Davis. She does it for me because I’m at a different point now where my company is. Lori is amazing. They love Lori. She makes life easier. We’re all about that. There’s nothing wrong with an entrepreneur, even if it’s just you having somebody else who maybe is the client relations person. You can figure out a way how to structure that financially, but please don’t overlook the client relations piece.
Have that humility, have fun and get ready for an amazing journey if you go on that government path.
I think that’s so important because that’s one of those hidden gems that nobody tells you about until it’s too late. To be getting this information up front, know that even if it’s existing inside of your business or you don’t have someone who’s focused on client care, you need to make sure that if this is the route you’re taking, you bring somebody in, even if it starts out part-time with the ability to become full-time as you win awards. You’re thinking about that.
That’s one of those little gems that could make a difference in someone’s process. I love what you said, “Not before you get the award and not to even warrant the next one, but to keep the one you get.” What I’m hearing is that it’s possible that you could be awarded then they could snatch that bad boy right back from you.
It’s no different than if you sell something on Amazon and somebody asks for a refund. You sell a service to a private client and they’re like, “This is great but we want our money back or we want a discount.” It’s no different. You have to have those client relations. Maybe not to the level of Zappos. They have amazing client relations but you have to have something. You have to have something because they don’t have to work with you because there are other companies who do what you do.
They probably do it better, especially if they have that customer relation. I love it. It sounds like the more we talk, Kizzy, we’re going all the way back to your business structure. The foundational element before you go for government contracting is being clear about the who, what, when, where, how and why of your company. Have all of that dialed in, completely clear, knowing what it is that you desire, making sure you have either the right people already in place.
I believe in preparing your business for rain. It’s not going to rain dollars and cents until you’ve got all of the people in place. It’s not going to happen. Make sure that you hire before you need them so that you’re ready and in position or, at least at minimum, make sure that you’re partnering with an organization that is already getting contracts, that you can be a subcontractor and you can watch behind the veil. You can see the things that are happening behind the scenes so that you know how to emulate that inside of your own organization if you desire to become a prime contractor as a part of the process as well.
This has been so juicy and meaty. I know that people are going to love it. We’re going to make sure that we share all of your information because I’m sure people are going to want to reach out to you and talk to you more. I know you have an entire company in service that works with small business owners that have a desire to get into government contracting, to serve and support them through the entire process. We’ll make sure that they get your contact information so that they can reach out to you about all of that. Before I let you go, I have my final closing questions that I always like to ask whenever we’re having these conversations. The first one is, what is the last book you read?
I have books on Audible. I love audible because there’s no excuse. I always have multiple books that I am listening to at once. Now, I’m in the middle of finishing up Launch by Jeff Walker, which talks a lot about selling products and different things online. That’s one of my favorites and I am relistening to Pre-Suasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini. That book is so good. He has two books. Those are a couple that I love either listening to again or in the middle of listening to with the Launch. It’s great.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is my own quote. I always say, “Everything is possible,” because I firmly believe it. When I look back at my life and my life’s trajectory, just going from birth mom, being the secret of my family to being adopted to all that I am right now. It’s like, “If I got this damn far, whoo.” Seriously, everything possible, given where my life started out. I say a lot, “Everything is possible.” I use it as a hashtag often and I believe it. I know it. There’s evidence across the world about the amazingness of God and us as human beings. It’s just everything is possible.
Last, what is one tool you swear by that has been essential on your own move to millions?
I already know that. It’s Adobe Acrobat Pro. That bad boy and the things you can do in Adobe Pro. It has been helpful to win contracts. That’s how it’s connected to the millions for those wondering. How is this piece of software connected to money? It’s because of what you can do with contracts, proposals and things. Adobe Acrobat Pro is amazing, hands down. Everybody needs it.
Anything you want to share with our readers in closing?
The thing is, in this space, especially in the government space, this is not about you ever. It’s never about you. It’s about the agency, its mission, and the sacrifices that the government employees, the possible military members, and other different people and organizations that are there to support the missions, and that most of the dollars are taxpayer dollars. Humility is very vital. It’s so important.
If you go into this space, we all know we’re bosses. We all know we’re amazing. We all know nobody does it like us. I got it but you also have to have that level of humility or nobody is going to want to work with you. You don’t want that because being an entrepreneur is the greatest gift. We feel the economy. The ones who make up the businesses across America are small businesses. The things that we can do through generosity are amazing. Have that humility, have fun, and get ready for an amazing journey if you go on that government path.
There you have it, folks, fresh from Dr. Kizzy Parks. We want to thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you. I know this interview is going to be read over and over again. I love all of the nuggets you gave that are beneath the process. All of the things that no one is talking about. I was purposeful not to make this a tactical do-this, do-this, but instead be able to glean from your years of experience and millions of dollars you’ve won through in this process. I’m excited for everyone. I know that they’ll continue to come back to this, and this will be a source of inspiration and clarity for them for years to come. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you very much.
Thank you so much. It’s my pleasure and it’s an honor to be here.
I told you that would be good. There were so many things that I loved. After we stopped recording, Dr. Kizzy dropped probably what was the biggest gem of our entire conversation. She talked about the need to get clear and be humble, and not focus on your skill sets and what you bring to the table if you want your clients to be the government. There are so many amazing nuggets that came out of this conversation, like the importance of client relations and making sure that before you go for an award, you have the right people in place to be able to maximize the opportunity before you.
We talked a lot about that business structure and making sure that your business is set up to support you in every possible way so that you don’t miss an opportunity to make the government your client. Because this wasn’t our typical conversation, I want you to make sure that you go to the show notes if you enjoy what we talked about and connect with Dr. Kizzy.
Learn more about how she’s helping small business owners like you leverage the power of government contracting to make the move to millions. I promise you, connecting with her could be the best thing you ever did if you desire to make the government your client. It’s going to be powerful. You’ll be able to get into some of that tactical, how to find, how to bid, and how to win those government contracts. Learn more about SAM.gov, the RFP process, and how to get everything set up to be able to leverage your expertise and sell your services to the government.
I love that one of the nuggets that she shared towards the end is being clear about what you’re looking for and identifying the agency that’s going to best support the goals and objectives that you have. Make sure that before you do anything else, you get clear about your company, your goals and your objectives, how you earn money, and what it’s going to take for you to have a business that not only impacts millions but generates millions at the same time. I’ll see you next time. Take care.