Congratulations to Streamline Government Contracts for being a finalist this year for the 25th Anniversary of the Loudoun Small Business Awards! View the full list of finalists here. These awards will be held on November 8, 2019 at The National Conference Center. Register Here!
Streamline Government Contracts is a finalist for Virtual Business of the Year. Post submitted by Owner Karen Long.
1. Tell us your story of how your business evolved into what it is today.
I started my career at Vantage Human Resource Services, a Government Contractor, as a Contracts Coordinator. At my interview, I was told that most people stay in the position about two years and then leave for other opportunities. Five promotions and seven years later, I resigned to complete my MBA, in which I was fast approaching a deadline.
After receiving my M.S. in Management/Contract and Procurement Management and MBA, I worked for small and mid-size Government Contractors. After gaining more experience, I decided I could help more companies if I provided contract management consulting services to businesses who need assistance, but not a full-time employee. In 2012, I launched Streamline Government Contracts, LLC. (Streamline).
Since 2012, Streamline’s team has grown both in sophistication of tools and number of Consultants. We share documents and templates by using Network Access Storage (NAS). Based on demographics, most of our clients are on Linked In as opposed to other social media. Our LinkedIn presence is a work-in-progress as we try to increase our visibility and number of followers. We currently have three Consultants and are looking for a fourth Consultant who is a Federal Government Contracts Subject Matter Expert (SME).
Since launching Streamline, some accomplishments we have achieved:
- In 2013, we received a Certificate of Appreciation for filling in during two consecutive maternity leaves (7 months). Since then, Streamline has provided support during surge periods, vacations, and an employee’s surgery and recovery.
- Assisted two different companies who needed to submit a proposal for sole source cybersecurity contracts.
- We are the Points of Contact and have met with many Contracting Officers.
Most of all, we have ongoing relationships with many of our clients that last multiple years. One very positive data point is that we project revenue to increase by 46% from 2018 to 2019.
2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?
Friends and Family close to me were nervous about the risk involved when I went from a W-2 to an Entrepreneur and started Streamline. Winning a small business award from Loudoun County Chamber would be an enormous validation of Streamline’s past, present and hopefully future success.
3. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?
The smallest thing that has made the largest impact is to continue to network and meet fellow business owners. Regardless of whether he/she is in an entirely different industry, the same industry in a complementary role, or competitors, there is almost always something that can be learned, shared or both. Even with a rival, one can often be helpful without sacrificing a competitive advantage. In some instances, one can team up with his/her rival to offer a better solution to the client.
4. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
Both my Mother and Grandmother taught me the importance of education, being independent (financially and otherwise), and taking calculated risks. I started Streamline Government Contracts, a Woman-Owned Small Business, in 2012. Without having such strong female role models, I most likely would not have had the courage to leave the security of a W-2 position and become an entrepreneur. I have found an incredible amount of satisfaction owning a company that assists small businesses.
5. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?
One, I have never felt alone. In other parts of the country, it seems like being an entrepreneur is unusual. However, it seems like in Loudoun the majority of people have their own business—either as their full-time job or on the side. Two, whether it is cause or effect, there are so many resources to take advantage of from the Chamber, Leadshare, and Mason Enterprise Center. And so many people willing to help you be successful by sharing their experiences, giving advice, or however they can.
6. How do you see your business evolving in the next 10 years?
In the next ten years, I expect/hope to expand my team of Consultants/Employees who support small and mid-size Government Contractors. My vision is to have experienced Contracts Managers who enjoy what they do and keep up to date with their knowledge by participating in continuing education. Meanwhile, I expect to do the same.
7. If you’re not in the office where can we find you/what is another passion you have?
I enjoy watching the NFL and the NCAA Basketball tournaments.
8. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I earned my Bachelors degree, was certified in Elementary Education and worked with children for a few years after college including teaching in a private school for a year. After burning out and learning some office skills, I interviewed for a Training Coordinator position for a Government Contractor who provided training to Government Employees. I was offered a position—not as a Training Coordinator, but as a Contracts Coordinator in the Corporate Office. That was my start of career in Government Contracting.
9. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?
If I had 24 hours off, I would hang out with friends—perhaps walking/hiking, exploring something new (kayaking?), or just drinking coffee and catching up.
10. What is one book that you would recommend everyone read?
The one book I would recommend is A Passion to Lead: Seven Leadership Secrets for Success in Business, Sports, and Life by Jim Calhoun with Richard Ernsberger Jr. There are so many life lessons in playing and coaching college sports. (Jim Calhoun is University of Connecticut’s former Men’s Basketball Head Coach).