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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

PRACTICAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FOR SMALL BUSINESS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS


INTRODUCTION

We have previously discussed Intellectual Property (IP) and Proprietary Data (PD) protection for small business:


The above posts discuss rights in technical data and software assertions, non-disclosure and teaming agreements as well as proprietary data protection involving the government and industry partners.

This article expands those discussions by offering practical operations guidelines involving IP protection for small business government contractors.

DEFINITIONS

The World Intellectual Property Organization defines IP as:

“….creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.

Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs.    Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.”


OWNERSHIP ENCOUNTERS AND CONTROLS

Bringing IP into existence requires that the tangible property as a result come under control.  For small business this is usually brought about by a series of encounters with IP.  They are discussed below in the relative order in which a small business encounters them.


Company Founding Personnel

A small business usually encounters IP and PD concerns when it is formed.  The operating agreement between the founders must address these matters from the perspective of who brings property to the venture and who owns it as well as the rights to the property developed thereafter. A typical operating agreement may be downloaded from the Box Net “References” cube in the right margin of this site.  Please examine it as a framework and add those elements that are unique to your enterprise.

Employees and Contractors

The next encounter usually entails employees or contractors who apply for work.  It is wise to inquire as a standard practice, and as part of an employment agreement or contract, whether or not an individual has signed a non-compete or proprietary data agreement with prior employers.  If they have, acquire a copy of the agreement and assess whether or not the employment of these personnel poses a risk of IP violations in terms of another company's property or their claim to ownership of what the candidate may develop on your behalf while in your employ. 

Make it clear in your agreements of hire and contracts that IP and PD that employees may participate in developing are the exclusive property of the company, that they will not own it and that they are expected to protect it, even when they leave your firm.

Industry Partners

Declare in your non-disclosure, teaming, and contract agreements the precise definition of the IP and PD ownership brought to the table and the exact share of ownership in subsequent development items.  Most firms use the efforts of their employees (labor records) as a basis to make these distinctions, but further specificity may be necessary on complex projects. 
 
Government Agencies and Prime Contractors

Ensure your policies and practices utilize assertions to document the ownership of IP and sound job cost accounting records for any IP developed at company expense, either in the past or during the course of a contract. The link below discusses the following major rights assertions in detail:

Unlimited Rights
Government Purpose Rights (GPR)
Limited Rights
Restricted Rights
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Data Rights
Specifically Negotiated License Rights
Prior Government Rights
Commercial License Rights

CONCLUSION

Intellectual property and proprietary data protection should be tailored to your organization, its industry relationships, people and practices.  It must grow as the company grows, adapt to changing conditions and be ever-sensitive to risk.

The best intellectual property protections are well understood, practical, teaming relationships among partners, employees, industry and government.  All sides in such relationships lose if disclosure or violations occur. 

Establish sound operations practices and train to insure these practices meet the objectives discussed herein to protect your organization IP. 






Tuesday, July 9, 2019

SMALL BUSINESS GOVERNMENT CONTRACT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Image: Slideshare D. Miller


For small businesses involved in development and manufacturing efforts under government contracts, or those who are pursing research and development involving large scale systems, the government property topic often arises.

In general, government contractors are required to provide all that is necessary to fulfill the scope of work on a government contract. However, under time and materials and cost plus contracts where the acquiring agency has made substantial investment in manufacturing aids, special test equipment or apparatus, title to such items will fall to the government.

Title falls to the contractor on firm, fixed price contracts where the cost is base lined at contract award and is assumed to include all that is required to produce the end item when it was bid.

Government property must be stored separately from contractor property when not in use, identified in the facility inventory system as government owned and have government property tags.

Rent – Free Use of government property accountable under one contract must be requested on a non-interference basis from the owning contracting officer before use on another contact and the using contract must reference the approval.

The government may elect to charge rent for use of government property under commercial or foreign contracts. The process for calculating and paying rent is specified in FAR 52.245-9.

The principal FAR Clauses for government Property are 52.245-1 and 52.245-2. If you are undertaking a contract involving government property please read these FAR Clauses. Within these clauses are requirements for inventory, disposal and disposition of government property.

FAR - Government Property Clauses

Government property may be furnished by the acquiring agency with a contract award and may be placed in the care of the contractor. In those cases accountability for the items, together with associated maintenance may be assigned to the contract and reassignment of the property must occur before the contract can be closed out at completion.

Monday, July 8, 2019

PRICING SMALL BUSINESS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE CONTRACTS

Integrate Long-term Company Strategy
 With Short Term Proposal Pricing Objectives 
For Success





INTRODUCTION
Small businesses entering or growing into federal contacting often struggle with developing a pricing approach. They must design a pricing structure to pass an audit and win competitively. A winning strategy for federal services contracting must involve a view of the horizon as well as the instant bid on the table.
If you are a small enterprise selling off-the-shelf commercial items under FAR Part 12 or marketing commercial products on a GSA schedule, you may be initially challenged by the government contracting venue. With persistence you will establish selling relationships through agencies and prime contractors. Your pricing challenge is minimal. A service contractor faces a far greater challenge in understanding the nature of government contact pricing and winning at it.
Strategic thinking must therefore be applied to structuring a government service contracting cost center in your company. It must involve long term planning and designing a business system as well as establishing rates and factors to bid new work.
LONG TERM COMPANY STRATEGY
Build a Business System With Pricing in Mind:
We have previously discussed the basics of small business government contracting business system design: Job Cost Accounting Basics
The structure or your pricing approach from the cost element level through burdens must use the same template as your job cost accounting and billing. The parallel mapping provides the consistency required to pass audits or get your billings approved on a service contract.
Please read the above article and its related references. Then design your processes recognizing the guidance there and applying it to your company organization, and the way you produce your supplies and services:
Sculpt the DCAA Auditor
As you begin submitting government contracting proposals you will encounter your local DCAA audit office. They learn about your company by auditing your cost proposal rates, job cost processes and systems, billings and contract closeouts.
Keep in mind that you are shaping opinions in these encounters on the part of these government personnel that will influence your future and be passed on in reports to contracting officers. Your unique company business system structure must be carefully explained to them against what they know best; their DCAA Audit manual and FAR Cost Accounting Standards:
Protect Rate Information
Your fully loaded rates will appear on your GSA schedule in the public domain, in subcontracts from prime contractors and in data acquired under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by competitors.
It is generally recognized by all industries participating in federal government contracting that internal overhead and G&A rates and the data that support them are proprietary data. The reason for the proprietary nature of rate data between companies is that in government work firms are teaming with each other exclusively on one project and competing against each other on additional contracts or projects at the same time.
Companies do not disclose the details of their rates to other companies and they do not expect to see another company’s proprietary rate information. So companies view each others rate information on a fully loaded basis, meaning the total of the base cost, any proprietary indirect cost and an agreed upon profit percent.
If a prime contractor requests that subcontractor proprietary rate information be supplied with a proposal the detail should be double wrapped and the package stamped, ‘Government Eyes Only’. The prime will then hand the package off to DCAA without opening it and receive only the fully loaded result of the burdened rate pricing.
For further information on intellectual property protection and protective markings on government contract proposals please see the following article:
Recognize Overhead and General and Administrative Expense Rates Are Critical
Assuming your competition pays a generally similar labor rate to their employees as you do and that fringe costs about the same for everyone, then overhead and general administrative expense are what wins and loses contracts.
Please read the following articles carefully with regard to long range planning and setting your overhead and general  administrative  rates:
Keep in mind that if you are performing work inside a government facility the government will expect to be charged a lower overhead rate than if you were paying the space and occupancy costs and the light bill. This is normally achieved by establishing a separate cost center for “On site” (Internal to government quarters) work with lower overhead expenses applied to project direct labor dollars in that cost center.
Price Set Aside Contracts the Same as Full and Open Competitions
If you are a small business lucky enough to receive a sole source set aside contract under an 8(a) or Hub Zone award, or if you are participating in limited competition under a small business set aside designation, use the same sharp pencil you use on the full and open market. Your goal is to compete for the long haul and inflating estimates on particular jobs due to limited competition has an inflationary effect on your business as a whole.
Your company past performance is being constantly evaluated by the government and prime contractor community. Consistency attains and retains new business. You will eventually grow to the point where set asides and sole sourcing will no longer be available; prepare early.
Know the True Value of Your Proposal
Develop risk thresholds (ceiling and floor) for your bids. The ceiling is the price for which you can bid a job, perform to meet specifications and win. A floor is the lowest possible price for which you can accept a contract and survive.
Do not bid or be negotiated out of these thresholds. “Buying In” does not work and sacrificing the future of your company by “Low Balling” cost proposals and hoping to get well on scope changes later is dangerous.
In government contracting the only worse scenario than losing a contract is winning it, performing poorly (cost, schedule or technical) and getting a black eye on your company past performance record that takes a long time to go away.
Understand a Proposal is the Opening Chapter a Baseline for Your Contract
Your proposal represents an initial offer to a government agency or a prime contractor. Please read the following articles on how this baseline is initially set and controlled through the negotiation process and ultimately through careful contract management.
SHORT TERM PROPOSAL OBJECTIVES
Make Bid/No Bid Decisions Wisely
Conduct your bid/no bid decisions effectively. Please see the bid/no bid analysis process at the beginning of the following article:
Be Conservative in Rough Order of Magnitude Pricing
A common government planning technique in the early phases of marketing is to ask questions and review and approve a concept paper by a company then informally request for “Planning Purposes”, a rough order of magnitude cost estimate (ROM).
If you provide a ROM be very careful. It tends to get cast in concrete in the customer’s mind, even though it is not the final, formal proposal. Make it conservative in cost content and schedule duration, then plan to beat it with your formal proposal.
Make sure you caveat the ROM if you are asked for it with the statement in your cover letter that it is for planning purposes only and is not a commitment on the part of your company. State that you will be happy to make a full formal proposal/commitment upon receipt of a formal RFP from an authorized contracting officer. Keep in mind that contracting officers are the only people who can commit the government:
The government usually goes forward with the concept paper and the ROM for approval of the funding necessary for the job. The “Agency Higher Ups” either give the project personnel the approval to do a set aside or they require a competitive procurement.
You may want to read the following article on Statements of Work:
Know the Difference Between Firm, Fixed Price, Time and Materials and Cost Plus Contracting
During the solicitation and proposal process the contract type is specified.
Firm, Fixed Price (FFP) is the riskiest type of contracting and should be undertaken only when you have a definitive grasp of a precise statement of work with known variables and end products. You should have achieved similar work scope in the past or be delivering follow-on products and services that are mature in nature to undertake a firm, fixed price contract.
FFP is particularly risky in software development contracts or high technology program pressing the state of the art. You will receive no more in the form of funding than your bid price on a firm, fixed price contract.
Time and Materials (T and M) contracting places the risk on the government and is suited to long term service contracts of a development nature. Time and Material may be contracted with fixed labor rates, making the hours and pass through materials and other direct costs the only variables.
Cost Plus (CP) contracting is the least risky of all contract types and you are assured of receiving every dollar of cost incurred under this type of contract.
The lower the risk to the contractor the lower the expected negotiated profit rate you can expect, since the government considers risk the principal factor in profit negotiation.
For further explanation of contract types in more detail, please see the following article:
Develop a Price Profile of the Competition
Use a copy of your own forward pricing long range plan (LRP) to model your strongest competitors. Profile your best intelligence regarding their size, location, contract base and estimated overhead and G&A expenses. Then interpolate, from your knowledge of the market, their labor and fringe costs, as well as other direct costs as you prepare your proposal. Incorporate any unique approaches you estimate your competition may offer that impact cost.
Adjust your competitor cost model to perform “What If Analysis” during your risk assessment and proposal review process. For an example of an LRP cost model please see the Box Net Cube in the left margin of this site: Small Business Federal Government Contracting It is Appendix B to the book, “Small Business Federal Government Contracting” and is available as a free download in Adobe format from the BOX in the right margin of the site.
Understand “Best Value” Source Selection
When the government declares a “Best Value” proposal award process the agency will perform a weighted trade study of cost verses technical and management factors in reviewing proposals. They will announce the weight of each factor in relative terms within the solicitation so contractors can focus on the most important elements.
What best value means quite simply is that if you are the low price bidder you may not win. If a competitor proposes a superior technical and management approach, a higher weighted rating in those factors may offset an otherwise non-competitive bid price, resulting in an award. This is a fact you must keep in mind when preparing your own proposal. In short you must perform your own trade study on your own bid.
Past performance has also become a significant weight factor in proposal evaluations in recent years. To address this challenge, please see the following article:
A balanced proposal, with specific, heavy emphasis on government-designated weight factors and an economical, yet realistic cost/price usually wins. Offsetting weaknesses in any designated government weighted area by proposing excellence in other weighted areas is vital.
Beware of Unallowable Costs
Over the years the federal government has determined that certain costs cannot be allowed in prices, cost reimbursements or settlements under contracts with the US Government. The government is unwilling to pay for these costs as direct charges to federal government contracts or through indirect expense pools applied to federal government contracts.
A company is not prohibited from incurring unallowable costs, but they cannot be recovered either directly or indirectly under federal government contracts. To manage unallowable costs, separate accounts must be established for these type expenses and they must not be priced directly into federal government contracts during the proposal process.
Such costs cannot be made a part of the expense pools which are applied to federal government contracts through an overhead, material handling or G&A cost allocation at accounting period close or during forward pricing rate planning. For more detail on unallowable costs please see the following article:
Integrate Pricing With Technical and Management Approaches
Establish price targets as soon as possible for major tasks, evolve a program plan, or if you are bidding a T&M, IDIQ type program develop a sample work order for a typical representative effort.
As the technical and management proposal move toward completion, use established checkpoints to evaluate the efficiency of your cost estimate, escalation factors, labor, material and other direct costs. Then apply your indirect rates and subject your total proposal to a credibility check with regard to a believable cost estimate considering your solution and its time frame.
Run your competition price model and bring in some outside experts to review the end product proposal “Cold” before it is submitted.
Manage Best and Final Offers (BAFO) Carefullly
Most government solicitations require a format and terms and conditions with submission that permit contract award without further discussion. However, many involve a down-select process, briefings by those selected in the “Competitive Range”, a call for best and final offer (BAFO) or negotiation to achieve a final price.
The best and final offer period is a sensitive time. Most contracting agencies that call for a BAFO will cite weaknesses or concerns in the selected contractor proposals. They wish to hear about solutions to those weaknesses during BAFO briefings and require a re-submitted offer to correct them. The price may be adjusted as well and that is a key consideration. Pay particular attention to the way the BAFO instructions and concerns, specific to your down-selection, are worded. Look for hints that indicate critical opinion about your pricing, and then adjust your costs.
Consider the cost, schedule, technical and past performance implications of the BAFO request letter from the government and revise your proposal by the required submission date. Close the loop on all matters with your suppliers, subcontractors and prime contractors, and then conduct your briefing to the customer when it is scheduled. Present a united front to win. Your price should be your best. You will not be offered a chance to bid another competitively on that program.
On some procurements you may be asked to undertake additional discussions to determine final contract pricing. Please see the negotiation template at the following article for guidance on that process:
SUMMARY
This discussion has conveyed how pricing should be a natural outgrowth of the organization structure, market strategy, competitive analysis, business system design and long range planning.
We have further explained how your long and short term pricing factors should be integrated with the management and technical elements of any given proposal. Take the long and the short view of your business by integrating long-term company strategy with short term proposal objectives

Monday, July 1, 2019

Contract Closeout In Small Business Federal Government Contracting



INTRODUCTION

If you are an off-the-shelf or purchased-finished supplier of goods to the federal government, your contact closeout is reasonably simple. You will make delivery at a firm, fixed price to the agency to which you have contracted and submit an invoice. The government will receive and inspect the delivery and approve your invoice for payment. Assuming there are no ongoing warranties, logistics support or similar contract line items involved, the government will then closeout the contract, as will you.

Contracts involving progress billing with retention, cost type contracts and those with intellectual property, government property, classified documents, provisional billing rates and similar more complex matters require astute attention to detail and considerably more administrative support and coordination between the contractor and the government for closeout. Successful contract closeout of these types of programs is an ongoing process beginning at contract award.

This article will discuss the principal features of the closeout process in small business federal government contracting and provide references for further process detail.


THE GOVERNMENT PERSPECTIVE


Below is a synopsis from the introduction to the Defense Contract Management Agency DCMA Manual 2501-07 Contract Closeout which is a free download from the  “References" File in the Box Net cube at the right margin of this site. The synopsis and the book should be read carefully by small business federal government contractors:

Communication and information sharing is key to timely contract closeout. Contract Closeout occurs when all the terms of a contract/order have been met and all administrative actions are completed, all disputes settled, and final payment has been made. This includes those administrative actions that are contractually required; i.e. property, patents and royalties" 

TIPS TO INSURE SUCCESSFUL CONTRACT CLOSEOUT

  • Consider the type of contact under which you are operating and locate that type in the manual Insure the processes specified in are followed in your contract administration from the onset of your contact. Government contract types are discussed at the following link:  Contract Types


Note the manual discusses both the role of the government and the contractor in closeout and the stages in achieving closeout. 

  • Support Cost-Type Contracts With Timely Incurred Cost Proposal Rates and Submissions – Several articles at this site have addressed the development of forward pricing rates and associated DCAA audits and submissions. Here are the most important articles with respect to contract closeout:




  • To close out a cost type contract that has been billed throughout its life at provisional rates, regular incurred cost submissions must be submitted by the contractor and verified by DCAA. Provisional rates must then be adjusted to audited applied actual costs and the final billing determined. This could result in net excess funding on the program that must be returned or a requirement for addition funding at closeout. In either case, the business impact could be substantial for a small enterprise.

Note the following Simplifying Techniques:

  • Verify payment accuracy and report discrepancies immediately.
  • Provide Contracting Officer with cost estimates of projected cost (usually 60 days in advance) in compliance with Limitation of Cost/Funds Clauses (FAR 52.232.20 through 21) for cost reimbursement and facilities contracts.
  • Submit patent reports on time to the Administrative Contracting Officer when required by the patent clause.
  • Submit Overhead Rate Proposals no later than 6 months after the end of the contractor's fiscal year.
  • Prepare final voucher no later than 4 months after settlement of overhead rates.
  • Consider Quick Closeout procedure when it's determined that normal closeout will be delayed.
  • Execute government property disposition instructions expediently.”
SUMMARY

Becoming informed on government contract closeout steps and putting in place processes to support them in your business system is the most important general principal to remember. Consider the type of contract you are releasing for incurred cost. Bear in mind how an individual contract impacts on your business system and insure your business system supports the type of contact you are putting into play. Develop a good working relationship with your contracting officers, DCMA and DCAA.  For more on the roles of these government functions, please see the following link:

Federal Government Contracting Customer Relations





Tuesday, June 18, 2019

YOUR CAPABILITY STATEMENT (CAPE) FOR SMALL BUSINESS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING

INTRODUCTION

Federal government contracting is all about relationship development.  Marketing to influential agency personnel, industry partners, prospective team members, employees, associate contractors and others who can help you requires a hard hitting synopsis of what your firm brings to the table.

Place into a capability statement (CAPE) the specific information others need to know for a sound decision about your company qualifications. This information includes such items as a D&B Number, government registration numbers, North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes and the like. These items are elected or determined when you register your company for government contracting.

KEEP IT SHORT

An electronic capability statement (CAPE) for government contracts should be short and hard-hitting. It should be 1 -2 pages and should highlight the salient points of products and offerings, personnel and qualifications.

Below are examples of two good capability statements in the public domain.  The first is a services company, the second example is for a company selling off-the-shelf products.



CLICK ON IMAGES OR DOWNLOAD TO ENLARGE

CLICK ON IMAGES OR DOWNLOAD TO ENLARGE 

MAKE IT PROMOTIONAL

A good CAPE  will be a promotional brochure that on paper and through the electronic media advertises who you are, what you do and why the government or prime contractors should buy from you. Major elements of your capability statement, in addition to your small business designation and certifications, are as follows: 

(1) Company overview

(2) Supplies and services description couched utilizing your marketing ideas and strategy.

(3) Past performance of your enterprise or your personal background and qualifications 
(experience, education, etc.).

(4) Facilities or capabilities overview (How you perform your service couched in a manner that will appeal to your target market).

(5) Explanation of the positive results the client should expect.

(6) Points of contact and ways to contact you for meetings, placing an order and contracting your services. 

INCLUDE GRAPHICS

The document itself can be created with some graphics, pictures, themes and sales pitches in MS Word or Power Point Software. "Art Explosion Publisher Pro" is an inexpensive product which is useful in creating business brochures. It offers templates and works well with photos, graphics, background, etc. A picture of your product also helps. 

DISTRIBUTION

Your capability statement should be distributed on paper to your target market as a brochure, emailed as an attachment and linked into related industry web sites or partner marketing to get the word out about your product or service. Your CAPE targets contracting officers and prime contractor buyers who are seeking to fulfill their small business buying goals. It is a way to get you in the door and speak to, or correspond with, the management and technical personnel who are the decision makers in sourcing small business buys. 

SUMMARY
A good quality CAPE is the spearhead of your marketing campaign and your visual image;  focused and direct, it must be informative, concise and a snapshot of the very best you can offer.

YOUR SMALL BUSINESS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING BUSINESS PLAN



INTRODUCTION

When visiting the SBA website on business planning, there are major topics in the business planning process which, when addressed in a plan, will insure the success of an enterprise and assist  in determining and supporting the amount of funding needed. 
SBA Write a Business Plan

This discussion addresses the unique aspects of federal government contracting that will yield a successful plan and more importantly a successful execution of that plan in the federal contracting venue.  


Marketing, advertising, competitor analysis and financing must be addressed.  Free articles on strategic planning and developing a marketing plan are at the “References” Box Net Cube at the top right margin of this site. They address evolving an operations vision for an enterprise showing its potential to present to a banker or to an investor.

Here is a site with free business plan samples:


Business Plan Sample

It may assist in visualizing business growth to look at an example of how someone else addressed a given topic.

NICHE DEVELOPMENT

Product entrepreneurs all face the same challenges. Those who succeed recognize they need to visualize themselves in the product development business, structuring an enterprise, generating a business plan, protecting intellectual property and then seeking industry partners and investors to bring the product to market.

In the process, copyrights, patents and royalty issues may come into play and development and distribution agreements are formed. Pricing is finalized based on cost and expense projections and competitive factors unique to the company as negotiation results are achieved with industry teaming partners, developers, manufacturers and distributors.


Service contracting to the federal government is a natural venue for small business. It does not require a product with a niche market or capital intensive manufacturing facilities. Service contracting does require skilled management and labor resources capable of performing a scope of work for which the government has identified a need and for which outsourcing to an industry contractor has been selected as the means to fulfill that need. The venue demands strong human resources management, industry teaming and an enhanced business system to price, account and bill on a job cost basis under government service contracts.


REGISTRATION

Utilize the below link to register your company.  It provides excellent guidance and background, as well as access to the PDF file on NAICS Codes which are critical for you to choose before you begin the registration process.  Give these some careful thought when selecting them.  If there is a chance your firm may wish to be involved in a field, put the code in your registration.  No one will question your qualifications at this point.  That comes later during proposals. 
Note the requirement for a DUNS number up front.  You may already have one.  If you do - use it.  If you do not, follow the instructions on obtaining a DUNS free at the Dunn and Bradstreet web site.  
When you have completed your registration at the link below you will received a Government CAGE Code, uniquely identifying your firm and its location as a government contractor. 

MARKET RESEARCH

As a small business becomes known in the federal government contracting community, successful marketing of sole source or group-designated business becomes easier, but it is always a challenge due to the need for taking early action in windows of opportunity. 
Find those windows and communicate capabilities to the decision makers and industry team members who can help you.  
If you are eligible for set aside designations make small business set asides or sole source procurements key elements in your marketing plan. 


TEAMING

Be straight-forward and honest with  industry teaming partners.

Do not violate share arrangements, teaming agreements or non-disclosure agreements. Such violations are a death knell for your reputation in the business.

Do not become known as a resource raider by hiring away from other firms with whom you have teamed.

Give it a best shot as a prime or a sub but involve the government contracting officer to resolve industry teaming disputes that may damage a past performance record.

Exclusivity is the practical way to go on any given program. Team early and exclusively and be a winner. 
Reputation is key, ethics count and  customers as well as the industry are observing.


BUSINESS SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT

Waiting for a contract award to achieve a government contracting business process is not advisable. A win may not happen at all without addressing the structure and process requirements in your proposal to convince the customer his business environment is understood.

If one is not prepared in advance and one is fortunate enough to win, then in a very short time frame one will have to evolve a business system to perform on the contract and submit a billing

This article will discuss a framework for a small enterprise to develop a business system in service contracting, which is the most frequent venue utilized to enter the government market.



PROPOSAL PREPARATION

Government contract proposal preparation is time consuming and can be costly. Meeting the agency Request for Proposal (RFP) requirements with a responsive proposal can be well worth the effort if a winning strategy can be formulated. When considering submitting a proposal to a given government solicitation, conduct a bid/no bid exercise.

By going through that process  a company  begins formulating your win strategy or it will discover that it should not bid this job for lack of such a strategy. The elements of the process are discussed below in the form of questions to ask  against topics for key consideration

This article offers guidance as a template to apply marketing operations for accommodating federal government contract proposal preparation. Proposals are special, sometimes exhausting projects, but a necessary part of doing business with government agencies. Like many other aspects of business, the more proposals that are prepared, the more that is learned and the more one can borrow from past practice for the next one.


PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Strategic thinking must be applied to structuring a government service contract project management capability in your company. It must involve long term planning and designing a business system as well as establishing rates and factors to bid new work and control it while interfacing with the customer.

When one plans in detail to define the product or the service one reduces performance risk. 

The project management challenge is not to launch significant and costly resources before the specification for the product is sufficiently defined, obviating the need for costly revisions or abandonment, yet knowing when the product definition and plan are suitable for release.

Good project management starts early.


SUMMARY

Consider the advice herein when developing and maintaining your business plan. Overlay approaches unique to the company against the guidance offered and place it in the standard format for business planning.  It will yield a road map for success and can be further evolved for growth.

For additional  details on these topics and other important information in developing and executing a government contacting plan, download the free books and supplements available in PDF format at the first, vertical “Box” in the left margin of this site.

Seizing the Moment