Tapping into Opportunity: Getting “In”

Caron photo

Contributed by

Caron Hawco,

Caron Hawco Group


In this issue, I offer practical advice on how to access opportunities in the oil and gas sector. Most of this could also apply to the mining sector.

Do your homework.

Knowledge is power when you are developing a business development/access strategy. Know your target audience or target client. What do they need? Is there a problem you can help solve? Who are your competitors? How are you different or better?

Understand how you fit into the supply chain.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, 97.5 percent of businesses are small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Too many times I’ve seen businesses, particularly (SMEs), targeting the wrong client, such as global oil and gas companies. These large corporate bodies generally have complicated procurement procedures that are often too onerous for small companies. Below, Oil & Gas Project Supply is an image that categorizes much of the local (downstream) oil and gas supply chain. So take the time to determine which area of the supply chain is your access point or target. Generally, local major contractors and subcontractors do most of the local spending and may be a better fit your company.


Oil & Gas Project Suppliers

Determine who are the decision makers or procurement contacts.

Connect with them and ask questions. Most professionals do not mind this and see it as part of their job.

Build your industry knowledge.

Learn about the industry and how you fit in. Consider joining Noia, the province’s oil and gas industry association. It offers daily industry news, lists major procurement opportunities, and hosts several networking and educational events throughout the year.

Get connected.

The industry is relationship based, so continuously build your network. Attend industry events. Leverage connections and ask for referrals whenever possible. Sometimes it only takes one referral to open a door.

Know your limitations.

Unfortunately, this is an industry where size does often matter. Can you actually meet the client’s demands? If not, is there a potential partner that could work with you so you can meet the demands?

Know your product and service.

Ensure you can communicate clearly about your product so you are seen as a possible source and solution. I have frequently witnessed entrepreneurs struggling to describe their business offerings. It’s important to work on this. Simplicity of language and confidence in your product will help busy decision makers see your value.

Deliver and meet (if not, exceed) expectations.

The industry is demanding, so delivery and quality are critical. Industry expects high-quality goods and services. Be prepared to offer cost savings, competitive pricing, customer service, innovative business solutions, and an excellent safety record.

The oil and gas industry has very high expectations. Ultimately, if you want to work in an international industry, you have to be able to deliver like an international company.

Specializing in offshore oil and gas and natural resources, Caron Hawco owns and operates the Caron Hawco Group, a consultancy supporting local, national, and international companies interested in pursuing opportunities and managing their business in Atlantic Canada. With over 20+ years industry experience, as an employee (Statoil), an industry consultant (oil and gas, mining, supply chain, industry associations) and an industry leader (former Chair of noia), Caron has a well established network. She offers expertise in stakeholder management, business development, communications, industrial benefits/regulatory affairs, negotiation, public engagement, public affairs, government relations and facilitation. Caron Hawco is available to answer NLOWE members if they have questions relating to the industry. She can be reached via email at chawco@nlowe.org.

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