Friday, May 25, 2012

El Dorado, Short-cuts, and the Music Man

Several recent events have caused me to re-visit those who think they can find what no one else has found before: the ultimate short-cut to doing business with the government.   El Dorado- the lost city of gold sought by the Spanish Conquistadors is now sought by would-be government contractors who envision themselves in heavy armor finding the elusive city.

The myths of the successful short-cuts to government contracting persist because people want to believe them, in part because of phone scams from those selling the concept of a GSA Schedule as a panacea for gov-wealth, and in part because the government itself puts out some questionable information on federal small biz programs. A GSA Schedule can be part of your B2G strategy, but it is not a strategy itself.

Let me briefly address the latter issue first. The government, through recent proposed legislation, is once again making it seem as though there is money for the taking by small businesses. Increasing set-aside goals does not help small business. Putting teeth in the current rules would be better.  Political methane, not useful business ideas, is the major product of Washngton, DC, especially during an election year.

Now, let’s move on to El Dorado, figuratively speaking. Most of us have a tendency to believe, if only for a brief moment, that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Why else would so many people buy lottery tickets, especially when the jackpots go into the stratosphere? Many of us think we offer something truly unique with a value beyond the ability of mere mortals to determine.  Regardless of what I might tell them, the refrain to this chorus is “Yes, but we’re different…”

Regardless of the validity of that thought, the government rarely buys the truly “unique” product as it tends to be untried in the commercial world. If it were tried, it would no longer be “unique” as someone would replicate it if it proved of value.

And the phone scams seem to have replaced the travelling joke of a seminar which touted itself as the sole-source of instant wealth through government contracting. Yet people lined up and then complained when contract dollars did not occur.

The phone scam starts with a 5 second pause (the auto-dialer has to connect a human when a phone is answered), and then someone asks to speak with the “president or business owner” regarding the value of a GSA Schedule.  It seems it would not matter what you sell, the GSA Schedule is the answer.  This would be a good time to hang up. But don’t worry, like a whack-a-mole, they’ll call again.

Then we have the generic consultant syndrome, where someone who advises business owners on other unrelated matters says, when the topic arises, “Oh, government. Yeah, I can do that too.” One size does not fit all.

Al a Professor Harold Hill, it seems to me that anyone, anywhere, can pick up a little musical instrument and get a parade going to…..nowhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment