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Friday, June 21, 2024

Should You Consider Small Business Federal Government Contracting?





There has been a dramatic increase recently in counseling requests from small businesses inquiring about entering federal government contracting. This article will address some basic things for you to consider in testing that prospect.

YOUR BUSINESS PLAN


If you don't have a business plan in these changing economic times you need one and you should keep it a living document. It is the key vehicle to determine your path forward and convince people that can help you of your firm's potential. Loan officers and investors are interested in your business plan as a function of evaluating the thoroughness of your future vision and validating your funding forecast needs.


Please go to the SBA web site that guides you through the business planning process. I suggest you follow the site presentation and note the factors to consider. The link to the SCORE site business planning presentation is:


Business Planning Guide


The following site contains samples of business plans:


Sample Business Plans



Ask yourself some strategic questions, such as what competition you envision, what your marketing plan will be, etc. Addressing some of these questions may take some research and that is all part of the process of putting in place your plan. It is your road map for the future.


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING


Your business plan should be a repository for research on the federal government marketplace and how you fit into it. There are many agencies and government prime contractors to whom you may be able to sell your products or services.


Like any other customer, the government expects you to finance your business, meet your payroll, pay your expenses and submit a bill for products and services delivered or rendered. The federal payment cycle is often 60 to 90 days, depending on whether or not you are a subcontractor to a prime corporation.


In federal government contracting you must also comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and associated Cost Accounting Standards (CAS). Although these requirements are not "Rocket Science", they are different from commercial rules and generally accepted accounting practices (GAP). They have evolved over the years as the federal government has grown in the volume of goods and services it buys. Very few universities make FAR and CAS part of their curriculum and CPA's do not encounter them on a certification exam. Several articles at this site address the practical implications of FAR and CAS requirements for a small business.


The prudent, small businessperson reviews the potential impact of FAR and CAS on his or her business systems and processes before undertaking a government contract, particularly a cost plus or a time and materials contract. In many cases job cost accounting and long range budget planning are required to support pricing, overhead and general and administrative rates. Government contracts can run several months or even years.


Federal agencies form large-scale projects and use companies to service their needs by contracting specialized skills, sometimes bringing the contractors on site by labor category under time and material, cost plus or fixed rate contracts or by purchasing services or products at company facilities and remote sites.


In other cases, pre-established pricing and terms and conditions are negotiated with several suppliers in advance under omnibus contracts and separate delivery orders are issued competitively based on changing requirements. The General Services Administration (GSA) negotiates pricing and terms on multi-year schedules from which both federal and state agencies are permitted to buy.


REGISTRATION


One of the first steps that must be completed is registering your company to bid and become eligible for award of government contracts. Please visit the link below for the System for Award Management (SAM) registration and notice the tips to make sure your file is as complete as possible.


Government Contracting Registration


Also note the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) Codes. Please make sure your SAM registration has the maximum number of codes for which you qualify, since the whole federal procurement system rides on those codes.


Self-Certification as a Small Business, a Small/Disadvantaged Business, a HUB Zone-located enterprise, Woman-owned or Veteran-Owned Business is also part of the registration process. Also insure the narrative description of your services is complete.


MARKETING


You should develop a capability statement (CAPE) for government contracts that is short and hard-hitting. It should be 1 page and should highlight the salient points of your products and offerings, your personnel and your qualifications. It should also include the specific information a contracting officer needs to place an order, such as your D&B Number, your government registration numbers, your North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes and the like. These items are selected or provided by you or determined by the system when you register your company for government contracting.


The purpose of the capability statement is to respond to government postings requesting industry interest in forthcoming procurement. They are normally posted at the state and local sites referenced above and at SAM Contract Opportunities, the federal government gateway to contracting:


What Small Business Should Know About SAM Contract Opportunities


A CAPE is useful in acquainting teaming partners with your expertise and government buyers with your small business designations and qualifications. It should be developed in PDF, JPG or similar formats that that can be emailed easily and readily opened.

The following link shows a typical capability statement by a small business government contractor: He may not be in exactly the same business as you are but you can get the idea of what a CAPE should look like and perhaps frame your own document by examining his:


Your CapabilityStatement


UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS


To propose and win federal government contracts you must become familiar with federal contract marketing, proposal preparation, negotiations and terms and conditions. It is a huge market, but a competitive one. Part of developing the final version of your CAPE will be to examine the market and pinpoint what is out there in the way of typical government bid solicitations that fit your line of work and then frame your document presentation.


The following additional reading at this site will provide background for your research:


Government Contracting Customer Relations


Marketing A Small Business in the Government Environment


Government Contract Negotiation


Establishing Federal Government Compliant Small Business Systems


The Government Contracting Past Performance Challenge

PRIME CONTRACTORS


Regarding larger government contracting corporations to whom you could subcontract - cover the waterfront. Find out what they are bidding and aggressively market a piece of the action as a small business. Determine the locations for the largest government contractors nearest you and register at their supplier business sites. Everything they buy for their facilities, their personnel and their operations counts toward the small business goals required contractually of them by their enormous government contracts.


Research their web sites and locate their small business liaison officers. Make appointments and visit them. While visiting, seek the names and titles of managers internal to their companies who manage prime contracts involving expertise your business can supply. Go after those managers.


SUMMARY


Please check the table of contents on the right margin of this site for other topics that may be useful to you and consider downloading the free book from the BOX in the right margin as well.  Small business federal government contracting is different from the commercial marketplace in terms of business system requirements, marketing, teaming relationships, pricing and the duration of associated contracts. The topics in this discussion and further reading at this site may assist you in your decision whether or not to include the federal market in your business plan.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Managing Risk In Small Business Federal Government Contracting Business System Development


INTRODUCTION

Most small enterprises must undertake some form of business process augmentation when entering federal government contracting.


The natural inclination for small business is to immediately jump to buying computer software tools or services in an effort to expedite the business system growth process. That propensity is often enhanced by suppliers who maintain their product or service is “DCAA Compliant”, has been “Validated by the Government as an Earned Value Management System (EVMS)” and other similar claims.

This article will address cautions and tips regarding an immediate jump to software or services as a means of growing a government contract business system. It will recommend some rules of thumb to insure wise business system development decisions, specific to your company, for managing the associated risks.   


UNDERSTANDING THE REQUIREMENTS


The US Government learned decades ago that it cannot impose specific business systems on contractors.  One of the last great attempts to do so was the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT).  It was abandoned in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and replaced by a set of industry criteria now known as Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS). 


Similarly, the Federal Government Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB) determined that job cost accounting systems could not be imposed on contractors. Over the years they have developed and maintained a set of Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) which governs requirements for accounting on government contracts. 


The GSA and similar agencies maintain policies on travel, human resources and wage/rate determinations that are not specific systems, but minimum standards as well.  A small business entering federal government contracting should research the above and similar requirements in such areas as quality assurance, inspection and acceptance and export management.


PROCESS COMES FIRST – MAXIMIZE WHAT YOU HAVE


Given a thorough understanding of the requirements for a government contract business system that fills the need for your specific product or service delivery, the next step is to examine existing processes to determine if they can meet the need or be minimally supplemented to do so.


Finding a need for major process changes or enhancements in the existing business system is the beginning of a requirements analysis to determine the labor, process change, planning, costs and eventual selection of new automated tools that fit the company and that need.


Many start-ups and small enterprises find they can crutch their existing job cost accounting system for service contracts with spread sheets instead of buying an expensive, data base oriented, software package or services initially.  As the company grows into government contracting and the number of transactions and associated revenue warrants the expense,  the firm can then evaluate more expensive packaged software tools or services and ease into them with a plan to minimize disruption.


A government contract award drives many things in government business, but small firms cannot wait until that event to position at least the minimal processes necessary to perform, price new business, function lawfully in the human resources area and submit supportable detail in billings. 


Please see the following articles for guidance on minimal business system requirements for small business federal government contacting.


What Is A Small Business Federal Government Contractor?


Pricing Small Business Federal Government Contracts


Small Business Job Cost Accounting Basics

Small Business Federal Government Contracting Business System Development


RULES OF THUMB FOR SELECTING AUTOMATED TOOLS


From strategic planning to marketing, from forward pricing to job cost accounting, from subcontracting and vendor/contractor management to human resources policies, the small firm finds itself undergoing a business system design project upon entering the government contracting venue.


Understand the requirements first, review existing processes and tools next, develop a thorough requirements statement of what must be done in the way of enhancements and then consider automating.  While performing your analysis keep the following 5 rules of thumb in mind:


1. An electronic computer software package or service is not a system. One cannot acquire a system by acquiring them. 


2. One acquires a system by conducting systems analysis, achieving a design and processes by working with the people who will run the system. This is hard work and time consuming. Processes are improved and made more efficient by modifying user behavior not by automating it.


3. Once system and analysis and system design are complete one can prudently choose tools to assist in running the system. The adequacy of a computer tool or service is driven by the requirements of the most efficient system design.


4. The biggest mistake implementation teams make is to believe they are buying a system when they buy a software tool or service or let the tools drive the systems analysis process. That is like asking a mechanic to drive a wrench from New York to St. Louis. It has resulted in millions of dollars wasted and plummeting efficiency in many organizations, large and small.


5. It is necessary to design a system and processes unique to the company to meet user requirements before going shopping for computer tools or services.  If you do not you will be pigeon-holing your company into becoming a slave to the company that owns the software source code or service. If you want anything changed it costs a big buck.



Monday, June 10, 2024

UPDATE: Remember the Small Business Instant Depreciation Tax Break


UPDATE:  

News Alert: The 2024 Section 179 Deduction Limit for Businesses is $1,220,000

Jan 2, 2024 –The Section 179 deduction for 2024 is $1,220,000, which is an increase of $60,000 from 2023’s limit. This means U.S. companies can deduct the full purchase price of ALL qualified equipment purchases, up to the limit of $1,220,000. In addition, the “total equipment purchase” limit has been raised to $3,050,000 (up from $2.89 million in 2023).

The deduction can include both new and used equipment acquired and put into service between 1/1/2024 and 12/31/2024. In addition to these limits, businesses can also take advantage of a 60% bonus depreciation on both new and used equipment for the entirety of 2024.


"New York Times"

“Nearly all small businesses, even the very tiniest, should consider taking advantage of the deduction.

The deduction is essentially limited to small and midsize companies. It begins phasing out when a company spends more than $2 million a year on qualifying purchases, and is eliminated entirely for those that spend more than $2.5 million.

The deduction works like this: If a company has a $90,000 profit and decides to spend $50,000 of it on new computers, the company would normally write off the cost of the equipment gradually, deducting a portion of it each year over the span of the computers’ useful life. But Section 179 allows the business to deduct the entire $50,000 cost at once in the year the equipment is purchased, reducing the company’s taxable profit to $40,000. (The deduction cannot exceed a business’s total net income.)

Section 179 was once a fairly limited tax break, with an annual cap of $25,000 or less. But in 2003, Congress temporarily raised the limit to $100,000, and in 2008, as the recession set in, it raised the cap again to $250,000. In 2010, hoping to stimulate more spending, Congress increased the limit to $500,000, allowing businesses to use the deduction toward expensive items like factory machinery and trucks.

But each increase was a temporary measure requiring annual reauthorization to prevent the cap from returning to $25,000 — and Congress developed a habit of waiting until the very last days of the year to make a decision. In 2012, it missed the calendar deadline completely and passed legislation on Jan 1, 2013, retroactively raising the deduction limit for equipment business owners had purchased the previous year.

“The uncertainty drives my clients up a tree,” said Paul Neiffer, an accountant with CliftonLarsonAllen in Yakima, Wash., who specializes in the agricultural industry. “Not knowing each year if it will be extended prevents a lot of our farmers from pulling the trigger on buying equipment.”

From now on, they will know. The 233-page tax deal includes in its myriad tax breaks one that permanently sets the Section 179 cap at $500,000, subject to inflation adjustments.

“You can’t plan to spend that kind of money with just two weeks left in the year,” she said. “We might see some activity this year, but the real benefit for us will come next year, when customers can plan ahead for it.”

Some companies do try to jam in qualifying purchases before the calendar year ends. Last year, Congress raised the Section 179 limit for the year on Dec. 16. The next day, the prices farm machinery sold for at auctions increased compared with just a few days earlier, according to Greg Peterson, the owner of Machinery Pete, a site that tracks equipment auction prices.

“The response is nearly Pavlovian at this point,” he said. “The farm audience had grown so used to this annual silly dance of wait-and-see on our friends in Washington.”

Making Section 179’s higher limit permanent will cost taxpayers $77 billion in foregone revenue over the next 10 years, according to a government estimate. The tax break’s aim is to stimulate spending — but does it work?

An analysis by the Congressional Research Service found that expensing allowances like Section 179 appear to “have a minor effect at best” on how much businesses spend on capital goods. Expectations for future sales growth, not tax considerations, motivates most of the investment in the kinds of assets eligible for expensing.

The main advantage of expensing allowances, the report suggests, comes from simplifying the tax accounting business owners face on their capital purchases.

Still, owners like Mr. Kortesmaki see the tax break as a crucial one for helping their small business grow a bit bigger.

“I’d rather invest that money in my business than pay taxes on it,” he said. “Having this become permanent makes my business planning for the next few years a whole lot easier.”

Small Business Gets Tax Break


Thursday, June 6, 2024

Five Winning Strategies For Small Business Federal Government Contractors

    Illustrations by istock

Acquisition officials are speeding up the acquisition process, issuing necessary requests for proposals to companies and executing contract awards quicker.  Marketing must be focused and fine-tuned. 

The sooner the government can receive the feedback from the draft RFP, the more likely it is that the service acquisition teams can adapt the programs to industry and economic realities.

Consider these strategic planning tips for the small enterprise in planning for the future.

STRATEGIES

1. Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Funds Are a Solid Bet for Service Contractors

Operation and Maintenance (O&M) appropriations are used to finance expenses not related to military personnel or Research, Development Test and Engineering (RDT&E). Types of expenses funded by O&M appropriations include: DoD civilian salaries, supplies and materials, maintenance of equipment, certain equipment items, real property maintenance, rental of equipment and facilities, food, clothing, and fuel. 

O&M funds are more easily justified in appropriations for "Keeping the Lights On" functions and often do not expire at the end of the government fiscal year.  If you are a service contractor target programs with (O&M) funding.  Look for service contracts being considered as set asides for small business on an O&M basis, sharpen your pencil and your best value marketing approach and chase them as a prime contractor or with a highly competitive industry team that needs your contribution to succeed.

2. Sharpen your Marketing Activities in Targeted Agencies and with Industry Teams to Get In Early on Agency Requirements.

Pre-solicitations are alerts to industry, attempts to gauge industry interest or a way of "Kicking the Can Down the Road" until funding becomes available.  These notices are an indirect way of saying, "Come Visit Me and tell me about your company", or “Send Me your capabilities statement (CAPE)”. The full formal notification will come out at a time to be determined by when the agency gets the funding and how much interest there is in the contractor community. A schedule for when the formal bid notice will occur is rarely posted.

Please read the following article carefully for further guidance:


3.  If Your Firm has Small Business Designations, Focus Agency Personnel on Making Their Programs Set asides for Your Designation (Small, Veteran-Owned, Woman-Owned, Minority Owned, Etc.)

Pay particular attention to System for Award Management (SAM) Contract Opportunities "Sources Sought" or “Requests for draft RFP Comment” on programs that have yet to be formally solicited. Obtain an appointment to present your capabilities to the decision makers (not the gate keepers). 

Be courteous to contracting officers but understand they are not the individuals who make source selections. Understand that once the requirement is formally published on SAM the gate closes on informal visits to the customer and the competition begins in the form of proposals by competitors.  It is too late at that point to set the program aside for a sole source or a small business designation if it has not occurred by the publication stage.

4.  Fine Tune Your Marketing Sensitivities to WHAT Agencies are Buying and HOW they are Buying Supplies and Services

You must determine what those needs are through market research, trade magazines, research on what they are buying on SAM as well as postings on their web site that are future-program oriented.

Subscribe to periodicals like "Washington Technology" and other trade magazines.  Observe agency trends and analysis that impact your market segment.  There have been set aside programs marketed by small companies through acquainting agency management and technical personnel with capabilities they were not aware existed in the small business community or fulfillment of needs they in fact did not know they had.

5. Teaming Is Critical 

Federal agencies will continue their natural penchant to bundle requirements to get the most out of their management dollar.  However, the bundles will become fewer and more competitive. Position your company with the best possible industry partners in view of the changing budget scene.

Synergism is paramount in teaming with any size company, whether in a lead or subcontracting role. There should be technical, management and market segment similarities between you and any company with whom you are considering teaming. Your prospective team member ideally will not be a direct competitor; rather a business in a related field with whom you share a mutual need for each other's contributions in pursuing large-scale projects.

Relationships must be developed with primes and other small businesses that can help you, team with you and keep you in mind as they search for success. That takes time, patience and open-minded, out of the box thinking. It also takes more than a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), a teaming agreement (TA) and a proposal to succeed. It takes dynamic marketing and communication with strong partners and hard, innovative work. Nice buzz words you say - but it is the truth and you have to find what that truth means to you.


SUMMARY:

Success in the current small business government contracting environment will come through careful market research, focus on funding types that are sustainable appropriations, zeroing in on decision makers early with set-aside marketing techniques and teaming with strong industry partners. 





Monday, June 3, 2024

Small Business Teaming in Government Contracting


                                                     

While developing a government marketing plan, teaming with other companies is a productive venue for the small business. This article will convey general guidance pertinent to teaming and explore the types of teaming used successfully by small business federal government contractors.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

Synergism is paramount in teaming with any size company, whether in a lead or subcontracting role. There should be technical, management and market segment similarities between you and any company with whom you are considering teaming. Your prospective team member ideally will not be a direct competitor; rather a business in a related field with whom you share a mutual need for each other's contributions in pursuing large-scale projects.

Relationships must be developed with primes and other small businesses that can help you, team with you and keep you in mind as they search for success. That takes time, patience and open-minded, out of the box thinking. It also takes more than a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), a teaming agreement (TA) and a proposal to succeed. It takes dynamic marketing and communication with strong partners and hard, innovative work. Nice buzz words you say - but it is the truth and you have to find what that truth means to you.

Successful teaming for a specific program occurs early. Very few astute teams in government contracting are formed after a solicitation is formally published. Checking the "Interested Parties" block of a solicitation there and attempting to form or join a team is generally too late to effectively achieve a cohesive relationship, agreement and a win strategy by the time the proposal is due.

A size factor need not be a deterrent if you use contingent hire agreements, aspire to take over incumbent work forces in existing government operations or keep yourself open as a partner to a multiple number of primes and synergistic small businesses who are not direct competitors but with whom teaming will permit chasing larger procurements than any one small business could pursue. You can also grow into security clearances, as individuals and as a company with government agency sponsorship through already cleared companies.

In making contacts with larger firms you may have to go through the "Gate Keepers", such as the small business liaison officer, the registration boxes at web sites, a purchasing agent or a contracts person to get to the program people with the real decision making authority. Give the gate keepers their due, since you may end up working with them later.

Nothing makes a prospective small business or a large business teaming partner perk up like a real hot lead on a program. If you can offer a "Carrot on a Stick" such as an opportunity that they cannot access other than through you, it will get their attention. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) should be signed before the discrete information on the job is disclosed. Please see the following article on NDA's and Teaming Agreements as documents and protecting your associated intellectual property:

Protecting Intellectual Property


SUBCONTRACTING TO ANOTHER COMPANY

In teaming as a subcontractor with other companies your goal is to sign a teaming agreement with a prime contractor for a prospective program. You prepare your proposal and submit it to the prime contractor who incorporates it into his submission to the government. Your submission contains flow down terms and conditions from the prime's proposal as well as a technical description of the effort you intend to perform. Your cost proposal to the prime contains fully loaded rates for the labor categories and material as well as the travel you will perform on the subcontract. The government awards the prime contract to your team member. You then undertake negotiations with the prime to convert your teaming agreement to a subcontract. 

The subcontract will replace the teaming agreement between you and your prime and contract performance can then commence.

Be especially careful in negotiating the attachment to a teaming agreement which identifies the scope of work which you will perform. Insure it has sufficient detail in terms of labor categories, % of the program (both hours and dollars) a discrete description of your effort, and any additional assurances you need to feel comfortable with the deal.

Keep on mind that a teaming agreement is an agreement to agree. It is not a contract and rarely enforceable in a court of law. That means you must negotiate your contract upon award and in many cases the prime may pressure you to lower your rates, decrease your share of the program or otherwise depart from the teaming agreement when your subcontract is finalized. Your business acumen will come into play during that transition. For tips please see the following link:

Contract Negotiation

BECOMING A PRIME CONTRACTOR

As a prime contractor you sign a teaming agreement with a subcontractor during the RFP stage of a solicitation. Your subcontractor prepares a proposal and submits it to you. You incorporate it into the prime contract proposal to the government. You negotiate flow down versions of terms and conditions from your federal contract to the subcontractor as well as a technical description of the effort the subcontractor will perform. The subcontractor's cost proposal contains fully loaded rates for the labor categories and material as well as the travel he intends to perform on the subcontract. The government awards the prime contract to you. You undertake negotiations with the subcontractor to convert the teaming agreement to a subcontract. The subcontract will replace the teaming agreement between you and your subcontractor.

Your role as a prime may be the result of your status a small business, a woman-owned, minority-owned or veteran-owned business under a program set-aside to one of those designations. It is usually best to subcontract no more than a 40% share of the total business to firms with whom you are teaming to avoid the appearance of a front. The statutory requirement is 51% to the prime in these types of programs but you need to convey strength as a prime in terms of resources to be deemed a winner by the government source selection board.

If the program you are bidding is a negotiable procurement it is preferable to negotiate subcontracts with team members before you negotiate your final contract with the government. Going into negotiations with the government having definitized your subcontracts reduces your risk in terms of unknowns contractually at the supplier level. It also eliminates the subcontractor wanting to know the result of your prime contract negotiations so that he can use it as a frame of reference for his negotiation position with you. The baseline when you go to the table with your subcontractor is your teaming agreement specifying his statement of work and your collective proposal to the government containing the prospective cost and price for his effort as part of the total proposal.

SUMMARY

There are many subsidiary forms of the above basic teaming approaches. You can join multi-company teams under a major prime on IDIQ umbrella contracts of long duration. You can bid a team effort using your GSA Schedule.

Although the Federal Mentor-Protégé Program is a fine vehicle, keep other options open at the same time you pursue a long term teaming partner in that venue.

Joint ventures are difficult for small and start-up companies. They are made up of resources from both companies, yet a JV exists as separate legal entity and is complex to administer. A joint venture agreement is a special form of teaming agreement subject to approval by the government agency with whom the JV is contracting. JV's are usually managed by a JV Board and include administrative costs and billing nuances associated with a "3rd Entity" that many firms find difficult to manage.

If you are in a prime contractor role you have an additional management challenge in being accountable for the performance of your subcontractors and flowing down the terms, conditions and performance requirements under which you are being contracted by the government. Your customer expects effective subcontractor management. 

Proposal preparation imposes a substantial burden on the prime contractor because the prime must integrate, assemble, package and deliver the final submission after receipt of data from the subcontractor(s).

Keep in mind that you may be exclusively teaming with a company on certain procurements and competing against them on others. Protect your intellectual property, only exchange fully loaded rate information and keep the relationship professional at all times.

Your reputation as a team member in the small business federal government contracting community is important. Be selective and high performing in this area. Agencies, past performance data bases and other companies will be observing you, recording your performance and passing the word along to others directly and indirectly.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Seizing the Moment in Small Business Federal Government Contracting





THE MOMENT

Trends on the horizon point to a bright future for small business in federal government contracting.

Federal government agencies have set a record in exceeding the legal requirement for small business contracting goals. 

FY 2023 Goal Attainment

Small business is uniquely qualified for work in the current economy, particularly in the services sector, due to lower overhead and G&A rates, as well as agility in work force development.


New industries in Robotics, 3D Printing, Energy, Environmental Protection, Security and Geo-spatial IT are creating fields for small enterprises to compete against bigger firms or lead teams involving larger businesses on large scale projects. 


Government small business set-aside procurement is on the rise and becoming recognized by many agencies as a way to remove stodgy, entrenched companies when long term contracts come up for renewal.  These agencies look to smaller firms for cost effective, vibrant management, while inheriting an existing, trained, incumbent work force available to the winner. The process can dramatically grow smaller firms. 


Managing Incumbent Work Forces


PREPARATION


A small business anticipating participation in the federal contracting market must make pursuing it part of a long term strategy.  Success in government contracting does not happen overnight. 


Like any other market venue, a niche must be located, market research must confirm the need for products and/or services and the competition; the customer and the potential sales must assessed.  Unlike many other fields, success relies on early requirements identification and strong marketing.


Marketing to Achieve a Small Business Set-aside Contract


5 Factors in Forming a Small Business Contracting Company

The government contracting market allows a small business to pass on the costs of operations at a project level as well as write off company-wide expenses if allocated in a defined manner to single government cost objectives (contracts).  


Small business can also operate in a lower risk environment with contract types suited to the challenges involved.  The trade-offs to these features are requirements for audits and job cost accounting that require verified consistency from cost estimating to billing and contract closeout. This does not occur without preparation. 


Small Business Sytems Development


Entering the market requires carefully sculpting commercial past performance into prospective government contract performance and accumulating strong customer satisfaction ratings.  The feds talk to each other. 

Meeting the Past Performance Challenge


Business Ethics and Past Performance


EXECUTION


With the right combination of planning, preparation and opportunity, a small enterprise can seize the moment with:


Identification of specific opportunities that fit company capabilities


SAM Contract Opportunities Replaces FEDBIZOPPS

Astute bid/no bid decisions


Making an Astute Bid/No Bid Decision


A solid team of resources both internal and external


Vital Tips for Project Management


Managing Industry Teaming Relationships

A Winning proposal, effective project start-up/execution and quality products and services


Government Contract Proposal Preparation


SUMMARY


The small business segment of the huge federal government contacting market is poised to grow exponentially due to advances in technology and the need for flexibility, mobility, agility and economic performance. 


Rule changes are being considered to enhance entrance of commercial enterprises into the government contacting venue. Congress and the federal agencies are looking hard at constructive changes to make the challenges we have discussed here easier to meet for the small enterprise.  

Seize the small business contracting moment by being diligent in learning about the market and pursuing it. Make your company well equipped to succeed:
  • Define your niche
  • Learn the rules
  • Plan 
  • Prepare 
  • Execute