CCS News

Courtney Consulting Solutions has been in the news lately. We have had great success in helping businesses learn how to do business with the Federal Government. Read some of the articles below that have have featured CCS or our Federal Government Consulting Team.

Florida Small Business Success Story

“I often refer people in the small business community to the SBDC. They too often get asked the questions, “Where do I start?” and as an entrepreneur with a grand idea, they can assuredly guide you in the right direction. If a small business owner approaches me wanting to know about government, I refer them to the PTACs. It is unusual to bump into other veteran business owners but if I do, I let them know about the VBOC if they are struggling with basic business skills like accounting, capital, strategy etc. There is something special about veteran communities and a sense of trust you do not find many places. I appreciate the VBOC because anything that is in place to help those who served should be backed to the fullest. ”

After serving in the U.S. Army in various roles, I decided to obtain an Executive MBA at Florida International University to assist my transition to the civilian world. I enjoyed my experience and learned a great deal about how the commercial business marketplace operates. I worked corporate for over a year as their Senior Contracting Officer and set them up for success in all areas pertaining to government.

I had another venture centered around rainforest conservation through the sale of carbon credits while providing ancillary benefits like biodiversity conservation, economic development and empowerment. Our business plan was revolutionary and over a year’s span, we won national and international technical and socially responsible business plan competitions. Oprah Magazine and The White House Project chose our socially responsible business model as one that could make a difference and chose me as one of the 80 women nationwide that had the leadership background to change the world.

Most recently, I was appointed to the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women representing more than 677,625 woman in the greater Jacksonville area focused on educating, advocating and celebrating women. I learned how to pitch and I perfected the art of business plan writing. My MBA gave me the groundwork but the actually doing is where you ‘pay your tuition’.

That continued and I kept being brought back into the government marketplace world, and it was all coming together. I bought from thousands of vendors in the Army so I knew what worked and what didn’t. I could write business plans, I could quantify social/environmental attributes into a Social Return on Investment and I understood business aspects like marketing, accounting, strategy etc. The need was there. So I began researching what the market looked like for government business development consultants. I found a void and I knew how to fill it.

Other firms offer about 40% of what I could do to truly set up a client for success. They could register clients in certain systems and position them in the pre approved vendor space (GSA) but then it stops. A company can have a few tools in place but if they do not have the know how to use them, what a waste. I knew I had to open my own consulting firm. I named it LLC Propitious (I love the meaning) but it was hard to pronounce, so I had to use the industry standard—my name, Courtney Consulting Solutions, LLC.

Most ‘consultants’ out there have no experience with real buyers in the government, and we train them from start to finish on the right and wrong ways on approaching this marketplace. They will have a contract specific business plan in place which will give them direction and a sense of the market. They will know which agencies to target and the people. They will have simple marketing tools in place and know how to pitch, quickly, to a federal buyer. If the company offers products or services with environmental/social attributes, we will define and quantify them for a powerful statement. Most government agencies have a buy green first policy and our clients know how to maintain what they have so they do not fall out of compliance. Because of my varied background, all the elements came together quite nicely and my clients are set.

The whole process takes about 10 months so my services are not for companies with short-term mentalities. If they are experienced and looking to grow their business in a whole new direction, then they are my clients. With government spending at an all time high, not considering this marketplace is perhaps not the smartest thing to do.

The business began in September 2008, and the selling point was my experience. I contacted the Veterans Business Outreach Center for advice and they were so helpful. If they could not answer my questions they would find the answer out and they always follow up. Over time, they still contact me—just check in. My approach was different and the SBDC and VBOC understood and they enlightened me about the benefits of being a small, woman, and service disabled veteran business. If I needed help with local contacts, they provided them. If I needed assistance with planning or benefits, they advised me. It was great to have them there—a free service set up to ensure small business have a chance at success and they are the lifeblood of our economy. Over time, I have referred many companies that need my help but are not quite ready for government sales to the SBDC, PTAC or SBA. They always provide good, basic advice on small business issues as well as initial things a company can do for government sales. I have sent clients to seminars in the local Jacksonville and Miami area. Some being match making or training classes on government contracting.

In our first year, we grossed over $100,000 and revenue has increased every year. As the Owner I know that to be successful, clients come first. We don’t just ‘advise’ like most consultants, we actually do! We develop, draft, design and educate. Systems must be in place and we must always keep an eye on the market. And finally, we must always be learning and growing. It is no fun if the only one learning is the client!

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