A Major Challenge and Change Leads to Growth for Design to Delivery Inc.
In 2013 the federal government spent nearly $3.5 trillion. So you can imagine how doing business with the government can mean big business and how many companies are competing for these federal dollars. Molly Gimmel, whose business Design To Delivery Inc. (D2DInc) successfully competes in this sector, says that winning a bid most often comes down to two things: better relationships and a better proposal.
“There are a ton of businesses that do what we do,” Molly says. “What I love most about it is knowing we are helping federal agencies to wisely spend taxpayer money. There are so many stories about unwise spending, and I hope our work is contributing to the positive stories.”
Molly launched her business with partner Diana Kurcfeld in September 2001. The two had worked together at a consulting firm’s government division and got to talking about how there was a great need for a consulting firm that could help small businesses compete for government contracts.
During the first eight to nine years of the business, with the help of anywhere from 10-15 employees, they did just that—helped small companies with proposals, marketing and getting on GSA schedules for government agencies. Then came a major challenge that resulted in a major change.
One of D2DInc’s largest customers went bankrupt, leaving the company with unpaid invoices. “We had to make some major changes or the same thing would have happened to us,” shares Molly. “It gave us the opportunity to re-evaluate what we were doing and where we wanted to go, and that’s when we decided to make a pivot and start doing government contracting ourselves.”
Today, D2DInc has 52 employees spread out throughout the United States who serve federal government agencies, include the U.S. Department of Interior and Navy, with a specialty in procurement. “We put people in procurement offices to help them manage the process they go through,” Molly explains. “Government agencies cannot just go out and purchase X, Y and Z. Paperwork needs to be created, forms filled out, approvals received—all sorts of things have to happen as they go through the process.”
It hasn’t always been easy, but the change and resulting growth has been well worth it. D2DInc has had to strengthen from the inside. For example, they put processes in place to effectively manage and communicate with its large number of employees spread out throughout the country. They also recently hired a human resources associate to work on new processes and employee benefits. To grow, D2DInc is working to create even better relationships and better proposals to position itself as the best choice to help federal agencies to solve their problems and achieve their mission.
NAWBO has also played a key role in Molly and the company’s success. Molly has been a member of the NAWBO-Greater D.C. chapter since 2002. She served on the local board and as chapter president from 2007-2008. She also became involved in NAWBO National as chair of the President’s Assembly. She had to scale back her involvement in the past few years as she made major changes to her business, but she is now ready and excited to rejoin the National Board this summer.
“Education is a key benefit,” Molly shares. “Many chapters offer really valuable programming that teaches you how to be a better business owner. A lot of people start their businesses because they’re good at something—for example, engineering. But just because you’re a great engineer, that doesn’t mean you know how to run a business. NAWBO gives women business owners this education.”
“Also, the relationships are key,” she adds. “I’ve met some of my best friends, mentors and business advisors through NAWBO. No one else knows what you are going through besides another woman business owner. Your friends and family can be there to support you, but they don’t truly understand. Having that community to turn to for advice and information is invaluable.”
In the spirit of NAWBO’s focus on powering “the whole professional woman”—in her business, in her lifestyle and in her community, Molly has this advice for other women:
“I am a huge reader of Seth Godin, so the best thing I have taken from his books that has impacted me career-wise is that good enough is better than perfection. If you try to make something perfect, you’ll never finish it.”
“I always make my weekends my personal time for doing things I enjoy with friends and family. You can work seven days a week if you want, but I think it’s important to take a break so that you can come back on Monday at your best and most productive.”
“I consider NAWBO community because it’s a community of businesses. I’ve gotten so much out of NAWBO, most of all through the relationships I have formed. I also think community is charity work. People should be selective, pick a group that is important to them and stick with it. I spend most of my time on the American Red Cross. I am a regular blood donor, help with local fundraising and serve on a committee to help with other fundraising.”
Molly and D2DInc were recently honored as 2014 Enterprising Women of the Year winners in the “More than $2 million and up to $5 million in annual sales revenues” category. The annual awards program from NAWBO media partner Enterprising Women magazine recognizes the finest women entrepreneurs in North America and beyond.