Jennifer Schaus: Acclaimed Small Business Mentor
With almost two decades of helping small businesses and various organizations, Jennifer Schaus shares her advice in dealing with the GSA and in navigating the federal marketplace.
Jennifer Schaus is the principal owner of JSchaus & Associates, a specialized consulting firm providing services for government contractors in navigating the competitive and complex system for nearly two decades.
She also volunteers as a mentor on organizations including the Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Capitol Post, and Washington DC Economic Partnership.
ADVICE IN DEALING WITH THE GSA
The General Service Administration uses its website to help the government simplify the acquisition process for various products and services.
With this, vendors, such as yourself, can list all of your products and services on the website’s marketplace as well as highlight your capabilities.
This is also advantageous in doing research about your competitor and analyzing your pipeline so that it is targeting the right opportunities.
“The more specific you can be, the more effective I think you’ll be because it’s such a complex market to sell into, and it’s competitive.”
Apart from that, you should also understand that the GSA uses a schedule as a contract vehicle or vendor shortlist for the federal government. Because of this, you need to have a proposal as a response together with all the needed requirements.
This is where you will list your products and services that the schedule needs. And with the help of the website, you can freely do some comparison about your competitor’s average product rates.
After that, you will either get an email from the GSA asking for additional requirements or to ask for a negotiation.
ADVICE FOR BUSINESSES
Schaus encourages businesses to have a marketing and business development plan that strongly highlights your specific capabilities.
Then, this plan and strategies should also be implemented. You need to go out and do your job well enough that you can be known in the field.
“There are contractors that will lose contracts because they are not performing well. So you certainly don’t want that reputation.”
Also, she advises businesses to build relationships with buyers, influencers, end users, and decision makers.
“You really need to be in there networking and going to the conferences where the government people are speaking, where maybe a prime contractor is potentially influencing the purchase.”
With this, you should also communicate with these people and ask specific questions that can’t easily be found online. Be specific with your questions and target the opportunity and not the agency.
Most importantly, she believed in being proactive and learning to do things in an effective and efficient manner. This way, you continue to grow in the marketplace.
If you want to watch the full video of the interview with Jennifer Schaus as she shares her advice in dealing with the GSA and in navigating the federal marketplace, then be sure to click the link down below.
027: Jennifer Schaus -Principal of JSchaus & Associates