Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Randy Wimmer, Founder of Government Contracting Academy, located in McLean, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My current business is Government Contracting Academy LLC. We provide 100% actionable training to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who are pursuing business with the US Federal Government, the world's largest customer. With zero formal education, such as MBA Programs that focus on government contracting, and no comprehensive training programs tailored to aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners, Government Contracting Academy provides a 12-month GovCon Training Program that is similar in scope to an executive MBA at a fraction of the cost. We also help small businesses obtain corporate credentials, such as ISO 9001 Quality Management System and ISO 27001 Information Security Management System Certifications, to tremendously improve the competitiveness of bidding on government contracts.
Tell us about yourself
In 2003, I launched my first company in the government contracting industry and struggled for nearly eight years before winning my first prime contract. I struggled because of the total lack of relevant education and training programs that focus on doing business with the Federal Government. Although there were numerous free government-provided resources, these programs were facilitated from the perspective of the government customer and provided negligible insights regarding how to launch, lead, and grow a successful "Government Contracting Company."
After years of making completely avoidable mistakes, I finally learned how to be successful in this industry and ultimately won over $350 Million in prime contracts before selling my first company in 2016. In 2019, I sold two additional companies government contracting companies that I co-owned. At that point, I learned that I was "lousy" at retiring and committed to giving back to the industry that changed my life. I launched Government Contracting Academy as a "social impact" company to provide the critical resources and training that I lacked as a first-time entrepreneur and small business owner in this industry.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My first company was honored as an INC 500 Fastest Growing Company and Washington Technology Fast 50 Company on multiple occasions. As a CEO, I have been selected to Mindshare, a consortium of CEOs leading the most promising tech companies in the Mid-Atlantic area. I have also been invited as a CEO Member of MissionLink, a consortium of National Security leaders, to address the most challenging security problems faced by our country. Our family-owned and operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, RobotsNOW, was awarded our nation's most prestigious award for volunteerism and service, the President George H.W. Bush Points of Light Award for providing after-school STEM programs and summer robotics camps to thousands of underserved students.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As the Founder/CEO of a startup, you must do everything! Your hands are controlling every lever in your company. However, as you start to grow, you must gradually peel your white-knuckled fingers from these levers and allow other people to control them. You know that it's necessary to delegate critical functions to your team in order to grow, but this is your baby... :-)
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Accept failure as being a very efficient part of the process of becoming successful. You will learn 10 times more and 10 times faster by failing than you will by trying to "over-prepare" in an attempt to prevent failure.
- If you can't identify AT LEAST five successful CEOs in the industry that you're pursuing who are exactly where you want to be in five years, then you are trying to learn from the wrong people. Books written by and about celebrity billionaires, Navy SEALS, and motivational gurus who have never actually started a company can be helpful, but you need to have REAL mentors.
- DO NOT WAIT. You will never know enough to launch a company, so why wait? You have to first launch the company before it teaches you how to be successful.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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