Survival tips for federal entrepreneurs

What has enabled the Technology Information Center to thrive for two decades? Susan Keen, who was formerly in charge of the center, and Ellen Sanchez, its current leader, offer these tips:

Get the right mix of skills and talents. "Ellen and I are a great team," Keen said. "I'm the one who's got all the ideas and 'Let's go do this' [attitude], and Ellen is the detail person, and she figures out exactly how we're going to do it."

Find out from your customers what they want and then provide it. "We kind of followed where [IT users] were leading," Sanchez said. "We just keep taking on tasks, and I guess that's kind of the motto of why we're still here."

Get the word out. The center's staff publishes a newsletter, and Keen made presentations to Denver-area government agencies. They have also been holding federal computer fairs since 1986.

Take on work that you enjoy. "One of the reasons we were so successful, especially in the beginning, is that we just really had fun," Keen said. "I really liked coming to work."

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