Do You Understand Risk??
When my dad, Mike Levin, was 23, he wrote the rules for the two player game of risk. He is very competitive by nature and when he kept losing to my Uncle Mark he decided something was wrong with the rules. My dad realized that whoever went first in the two player game won. He sent his revised rules into Parker Brothers and they company paid him for the change. My dad’s name was even on the box until 1983! Anyway, growing up everyone played my dad at risk, from our babysitters to my boyfriends when I was young. Even now you should see him in action. From his whip like role of the dice to the quick way he maneuvers the army pieces on and off of the board as if they are all his. I can’t escape that many profound life philosophies can be drawn from Risk. From learning to assess the other players to thinking about one’s longterm plan, and anyone who has played risk knows that these games can be quite long, the lessons learned from Risk have real life application in the government bidding process. Like in the game Risk, a strategy and plan are needed to be successful in government contracting.
Goals are Essential
Like playing Risk, when moving forward as a government contractor, understanding the goals of the project is essential to success. As a professional voiceover actor, whether I am taking the lead as a prime or whether I have a role as a subcontractor, my role is typically straight forward. There is either a voiceover component to a project or there is not. Within my small business FlaminGlow, I can also cast a broader net as a contractor because I can use my industry connections to work with all sorts of professionals from other voiceover talents to video production teams to instructional designers. Thus, having a clear vision of my goals step by step from the beginning is essential to my bid.
Staying the Course
A Risk lesson that is extremely applicable in the government contracting world is that you need to maintain the strategy and not deviate even when there are unexpected challenges and things don’t go your way. Government contracts can be quite long and involved and typically involve coordinating with other service providers as well. For example, in a contract for a media buy for the VA, I would have to work with radio stations and producers at a minimum.I am relying on a lot of other people to do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it. As a woman owned small business owner, I have learned that even with the best of intentions, things can go wrong. If the plan is maintained and the goals are kept in view everything typically works out in the end.
Follow the Rules
Just as the rules in risk are complicated, so are the regulations in the government world and you need an individual who understand the red tape. When I am first evaluating whether or not to bid on a project, I go to the list at the end with all of the regulatory requirements. Sometimes there are only a few. Sometimes the list is quite long. Far this and Far that can take hours to digest, but violating one of these laws would be career-ending. I come from a family of lawyers (which also makes playing Risk brutal) and I then typically consult legal counsel as I know that as a small business owner, a professional voiceover talent often needs a second glance. I am accustomed to dealing with the legalese and the red tape of the government bidding process. It is so important that any contractor in the supply chain have this level of savvy, because a kink in the chain can be disastrous.
Put on Your Running Shoes
Have you ever had a Risk game span several days and come back to it night after night? Well, a government contract can also be quite long and you want someone who is in the marathon not the sprint. As a woman owned small business, I have spent years meticulously building relationships with my clients and personally meeting their needs is the cornerstone of my business plan. Such attention to detail is essential in the government contracting world. Unlike typical voiceover jobs that can be assigned and delivered in a 6 hour period, Government bids can go on for months or years, so knowing that you can team with a devoted small business owner who will get the job down is a must.
There is No Crying in Risk or in Government Contracting
My family is extremely close and we all have a special bond, but game time is different than let’s say time spent at the beach or having dinner out. I don’t know what it is like when other families play games, but in my family it is extremely intense. There is innuendo, taunting, verbal darts, trash talking, and a lot of extremely competitive, type A people all trying to conquer the world. Last night when we were playing I looked at my son who was somehow still smiling and laughing. For me, while I love spending bonding time with my dad which does not involve games or races, the government bidding process is less stressful and more enjoyable than a game of Risk with my father. Hmmmm…..