Robb Wong: Former Associate Administrator of SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development
Learn the BEST tips in winning government contracts straight from former SBA Associate Administrator, Robb Wong!
Robb Wong started his career in the US Small Business Administration (SBA) as attorney advisor at the Office of General Counsel.
He, then, became a Special Assistant US Attorney at the SBA Houston District Office and later as the Acting District Director at the Lubbock, Texas District Office.
Meanwhile, after a year as Acting District Director, he left SBA to manage several small businesses that successfully use SPS products and programs to enhance their growth.
Then, in 2017, Robb was appointed by the White House as the Associate Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Government Contracting and Business Development.
During his service, he advocated for small businesses and represented them on behalf of the President of the United States.
Currently, he is the CEO of Fedsolve LLC where he provides consulting services for small government contractors.
“I didn’t want to do something just so I could wave my flag and leave and get a better job or something like that. But I wanted to do something that was meaningful… I’m not here for myself. I’m here because this agency in this industry has provided me with a pathway and a goal, and it’s given me a purpose. And I just wanted to try to do something that was efficient and effective. That helps everybody.”
BEING IN THE SERVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
With over 10 years of service in the SBA, Robb Wong found certain lapses in the small business certifications such as the HUBZone program.
HUBZone is a perfect program for economically disadvantaged areas, but it also had some rules that penalized small businesses for being successful. So, they made some changes to help both small businesses and the economically distressed areas.
However, even with this, there are still government actions that continue to penalize small businesses.
For instance, when he met someone who was running the 809 panel, that person said that the panel is making recommendations based on who could do all of the work better than anyone else.
“So I met the gentleman that was running the (809) panel… he said that hitting goals for goals sake is a noble idea, but it is not necessarily an efficient idea. He says, in general, he says… huge government contract companies could do all of the work better than anyone else. We would make a recommendation that they go with them. I said, okay. And he says, this is not personal. They’re asking us what is the fastest way to get there? And this is it.”
Still, Wong continues to hope that contracting officers and officials would make some improvement to these inefficiencies in the certifications and other related to small businesses.
“I would say (to) the government contract officer, ‘Look, we’ve made them better, stronger, faster to fit your needs. You take a look at us again for the first time.’”
ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
1. Treat your business as a business.
The industry will put everybody on the same path, but at the end of the day, the real secret is that you treat your business as a business that needs the necessary help to reach your goals.
Look at it the same way you look at your kids who have a flu. If your kids have this, you would go everywhere and you won’t quit just to find the cure.
That’s the same way in handling your business. For most businesses, business development is an afterthought, when in fact, this is necessary.
“Try something. You’re either going to succeed or you’re going to learn… The only people that— it’s a failure if you quit.”
2. Understand what your client needs.
When you talk to your client, it should not only be about them. Of course, you will have your elevator pitch, but it should be as short as possible because the highlight of your conversation is their problem and how you could help them with it.
After your 15-second elevator pitch, go directly with your, “But that’s enough about me. What are the problems that keep you up at night? I’m a problem solver. Let me try to help you. I don’t know if I can do it myself, but I’ll try and find somebody,” because that’s how you start a conversation.
3. Be personal with your approach.
All the contracts that you have comes from ordinary people. They have problems to solve and hang ups in life, so why not just have a little personal touch to your approach?
If you have 10 clients, respect them enough to remember their names, remember to call when you say you’re going to call, and show up because they’re taking their time.
“Your government contracting officers, all they hear is people barking at them with orders. It’s very impersonal. But if you reach out and ask them something personal, try to make a personal connection with them. They’ll remember. They’ll always remember.”
If you want to learn the BEST tips in winning government contracts straight from former SBA Associate Administrator, Robb Wong, then be sure to click the resources below. You can also visit the GovCon Giant website or the new GovCon Edu where you learn everything about government contracting!
080: Robb Wong – Best tips and advice from the Former Associate Administrator, Govt. Contracting & Business Development
80: The ABSOLUTE Best Tips From Former Associate Administrator!