As you may have heard, 2019 marks Red Team Consulting’s 15-year anniversary. Since our anniversary is on March 10, we decided to take the entire month of March to celebrate this milestone. Earlier in the month, we published a Q&A with Carole Stoebe on how we got here. Today, Red Team’s President, Jeff Shen, shares his thoughts on our company’s future. Here’s what Jeff had to say.
This year we celebrate Red Team’s 15th Anniversary. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about that?
Probably equal parts disbelief and excitement. Time has flown by over the last 13 years that I’ve been with Red Team. I can still think back to the time when I first started with Red Team, when we were much smaller and doing whatever we could to support our clients while trying to grow ourselves. It was hard work those first few years! I remember volunteering for every single association, waking up at 5AM many days to set up registration for breakfasts, and going to every single evening event I could find. There was a lot of sacrifice that both Carole and I made during the earlier years of Red Team. I remember how difficult it was to scale Red Team. But when you’re building a company, you almost don’t think of it as a struggle. It was just something we did daily to help our clients grow in the federal market and keep our employees happy. Today, I am most happy for the team that we have built in our company, and for the clients that we’ve helped grow over the years. Without our fantastic staff and clients, we would not be where we are today.
Red Team has grown tremendously over the past 15 years. How will you continue to foster that growth into the future?
Our growth is truly dependent upon how well we continue to serve our clients. I want Red Team to continue prioritizing its clients, and to help them expand in their target markets and achieve whatever goal or objective they’ve established for themselves. We have noticed a direct correlation between Red Team’s growth and the wins and successes of our clients. While it’s nice to think big picture, what this all means is that we have to take care of each and every one of our clients – each proposal we support is equally important.
Another way we will continue to foster our growth is through investing in our staff and making sure we have an environment where people want to work. It is important that we prioritize our staff, both internal team members and consultants. This means investing in our culture, providing our staff with opportunities to learn, grow, and take leadership positions, and finding the right projects for our consultants. We only succeed when our staff and consultants are committed to our clients and Red Team’s growth.
What industry challenges do you foresee in the future and how will Red Team prepare?
There is certainly a lot of unpredictability in our market these days. Each month we are faced with changes in regulations, procurement delays, and budgetary issues. As it pertains to our business, we will continue to see federal procurement evolve. For example, changes are being made to small business regulations, such as the Small Business Runway Act, which would allow small businesses to calculate their size status based on a five-year running average as opposed to a three-year running average. Category Management will continue to impact how agencies make decisions in competing their requirements. While agencies such as DHS have stated that they will use “best in class” vehicles such as GSA Alliant and NIH CIO-SP3 as their IT vehicles of choice, there are other agencies, such as NOAA, that have taken the approach to compete their own vehicles. Red Team will stay on top of these changes and anticipate how they may impact our clients. Our value will be measured not just by our clients wins, but how we can help our clients compete and win in unpredictable times and avoid risk when at all possible.
What about Red Team’s future are you most excited for?
The market is wide open for Red Team Consulting. Although we have accomplished much in our 15 years, I feel as if we are just now beginning to see the fruition of our hard work. I am excited to see how we can continue to grow our relationships in both government and industry. We have many trusted relationships in numerous federal agencies who provide us procurement insights and come to Red Team for industry-based guidance and advice. We have dozens of long-term clients that rely on Red Team for their strategic growth initiatives every year. I am excited to see how we can grow this pool of trusted clients that rely on Red Team to help them grow in the federal market.
I am most excited to see how our team continues to flourish in the coming years. We have the best staff and consultants in our industry, hands down. I may sound biased, but every one of our staff truly drives the culture of our company. They make sure that our company successfully operates day-to-day. Our consultants are like family – they treat our clients with respect and do whatever it takes to make our clients successful. We’ve made some fantastic hires over the last two years including Meghan Quinn, Blake Harvey, Tris Carpenter, and Jeff Leitner, and I am excited to see how they will continue to contribute to Red Team’s success.
What industry trends do you see in the next 12-18 months?
We will likely see changes to small business regulations, agency procurement directives (i.e. compete their own vehicle versus using a best-in-class vehicle), and even more shifts as we face the 2020 elections. This will inevitably have an impact on budget formulation, agency priorities, and ultimately procurement competitions. I often tell companies – while you will need to pay attention to industry trends, do not forget the tenants of how to build and scale your company in the federal market. These tenants have not changed in over 15 years:
- Hire the right people. Even if you think you can build your company on your own, hiring the right people will accelerate your growth.
- Invest in your infrastructure. Do not take shortcuts when investing in human resources, accounting, internal certifications such as CMMI and ISO, and especially proposal and capture.
- Make smart decisions to find and pursue the right IDIQs and programs to spur your growth.
- Align yourself with partners that you trust and trust you. These don’t need to just be teaming partners but financial and business operations partners such as Deltek, banks, CPA firms, and law firms.
- Above all else, work your hardest. The competitive landscape is just getting more crowed every day. If you don’t work hard enough to grow your company, your competitors will outgrow you.