Thursday, February 09, 2012

Reach Reluctant Government Buyers

The Secret That Opens Doors
My favorite kind of research is going out to lunch. In this case, it was breakfast, hosted by Nick Wakeman, Editor in Chief of Washington Technology. He was recounting a meeting at the Pentagon, at which a General told him, "I always have 20 minutes to hear a company's  capability."
"Wait a minute," I said. "What's the secret here? I don't know any Generals who always have 20 minutes for a company meeting. Tell me that again."

"No, no," Nick corrected me. "The General said, 'I always have 20 minutes for someone who can Solve My Problem.' "
Want to get their attention, then?  The sweet spot -- and past performance -- are key.

Government buyers want to know that you've solved their problem, for someone who looks just like them, yesterday afternoon.

  • What problem do you solve -- not what product or service do you offer -- for your sweet spot clients today?
  • Why do they choose YOU  to solve it?
  •  How can you tell that someone has that problem and is motivated to spend money to fix it?

Now, which government agencies have, and must solve, that problem in order to deliver their missions and serve citizens? (Remember: everyday services and products are mission essential, too! Are custodial services mission essential? Sure. Lights have to light, toilets have to flush.)

                Those are your best prospects. They're waiting for your call..

Monday, January 09, 2012

Your Government Contract Sweet Spot: Revealed

3 Questions Pinpoint Your Top Prospects
"How do I get in front of people?" 

"How can I meet the decision-makers?" 

Easy, if you start with how well you know your sweet spot customer

Want to expand into a new government agency? Or are you looking for your first government contract?

Either way -- and especially if you've never sold to the government before -- what you know about your sweet spot customer is going to lead you right to the easiest government business you'll ever win.

So, who's your sweet spot customer? Not the one you'd like to have; not the one you want to have; but the one you have right now. You know they're your sweet spot customer because:
·         They Pay You On Time
·         They Come Back for More
·         They Bring You Their Friends

They have your picture -- or, at least, your promotional magnet with your phone number -- on their refrigerators.

Maybe there's just one, Maybe there's a bunch. If you think of the normal distribution curve, together these sweet spot clients represent the peak of your profitability. Why? You're doing for them what you do best; that's why they keep coming back and referring their friends; and that means repeat business with minimal marketing and business development cost.

How'd you like your government business to be like that?

Now, it can be. My next blog post will tell you how.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Government Contract Success Starts With Strategy

Market Research And In-Depth Strategy Dialogue Reveal New Contract Opportunities

The last blog post showcased Neeld Wilson's road to multimillion dollars contract success. Here's a picture of how that road begins, and a story you'll want to follow.

Melissa Mangold is owner and President of CASCO Manufacturing Solutions, Inc., of Cincinnati. She and her team had had a couple of unsuccessful go-rounds with government business. But Melissa was sure there were undiscovered government business opportunities for their specialty manufacturing. When we met after a presentation I gave to the Women's Business Enterprise National Council -- WBENC -- her suspicions were confirmed. "More than just information -- you gave me hope," she said.        
CASCO's strong track record, across diverse product lines, is based on three different sewing or sealing methods. When I arrived to lead their strategy session, Melissa gave me a plant tour. What a treat to visit a well-run company where people MAKE THINGS. Melissa showed me the work flows on meticulously laid-out production floor. I saw where the team had just spent the weekend setting up a production cell for a new product, and which spaces adjust depending on demand. The CASCO team moved specialty fabrics in, measured and cut them with state of the art computerized systems, and created finished products to meet orders from medical mattresses and wheelchair seating to covers for grills and firepits to special enclosures for medical treatment. 

CASCO engineers create special jigs to produce unique products that other manufacturers can't handle. They focus on product lines where their manufacturing processes give their products superior performance characteristics that the buyers want and need.

With some government contracts under their belt, Melissa brought together her team with me for a day to discover where their past performance and their unique strengths suggested high priority opportunities. We started by reviewing their custom market research, and pored over where the best competitive advantages could be. 

All kinds of opportunities came to light, but I'll share one that you might think about in your own company.

CASCO had recently delivered a shipment of a unique, mission-critical supply item to a government buyer. Their next sale just might come from simply asking the buyer, "When will you need more of these?"

Where could your next prospect be? Book a strategy session now and save $2000 over 2012 prices. 
For more info, email me.
Left: Melissa Mangold with Judy Bradt, at CASCO in Cincinnati

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day Success Story: SDVOB Winning Government Contracts

"Judy is the reason why our company, Gator Engineering & Aquifer Restoration, Inc. (GEAR), has won government multiple Federal contracts. 

She may be a strong advocate for Woman Owned Businesses but she worked just as hard for our Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). "

Neeld Wilson, President of GEAR Engineering and Navy veteran, tells the story.

"When we first hired her in 2008, Judy took us under her wing and guided us through the maze of the Federal marketplace and as a result we won our first contract within 6 months! In fact, we won 3 contracts in 6 months. She is extremely thoughtful and stays in touch with us to this day; always wishing us the best. Judy is the ultimate professional and I recommend her to people who are trying to learn the ropes in the Federal market." 

It's never easy. But together we made it easier. Read about Neeld's rough start, and what he changed to reach success...  More >>

Today, Gator Engineering is a subcontractor on two winning IDIQs (USACE Mobile A/E contract and Navy CLEAN), and is providing services to the Navy and VA, Remedial Operation and Maintenance at Former Naval Training Center in Orlando, Design Build contract with VA in Gainesville and Lake City, and a soil sampling project with the VA in Bay Pines. The company has done deep well monitoring for the Army Corps of Engineers in West Palm Beach. Neeld and his team have also submitted a proposal for the East Region VA Environmental Services Contract (Maine to Puerto Rico), and expect to hear about that any day. 

Neeld was one of the first clients to engage me to shape his strategy for government business. He works hard to focus on his best prospects, and has the results to show for it. I'm proud of him and his company, and grateful to him for sharing his story.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FY2012 -- Quick Outlook

By Guest Blogger, Olessia Smotrova-Taylor
President/CEO, OST Global Solutions

Olessia shares these notes from the Small and Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum (SECAF)’s recent Opportunity Landscape for Government briefing 

With a national debt level like we haven’t seen since World War II, expect more reductions in discretionary spending in FY 2012. While Congress is still working out exactly how they're going to do that, watch for cuts that will likely affect the war effort, as well as science, NASA, Agriculture, financial services, Interior, Environment, and Justice. 

Opportunities, despite that:
  • Energy
    R & D initiatives to reduce dependence on foreign oil and building infrastructure investments to drive energy conservation. 
  • Healthcare
    Funding for projects to reduce costs by further implementation of electronic health records and modernization of of healthcare systems, expansion of government health care programs, and associated monitoring of these programs to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.  Health care program for both veterans and active military have been growing in double digits. So have construction and health IT investment.
  • Cyber security
    Will continue to expand. There may be more centralized management and real-time cyber monitoring (rather than FISMA paperwork-based security). 
  • Information Technology
    Expect further consolidation, performance improvements, and cloud-related projects, with the military getting the lion's share. Top projects include the Army's recompete its giant S3 professional services contract. 
  • Small Business
    The percentage share of small business set-asides has been steadily growing, even if the contracting dollars have shrunk. Agencies such as the VA, DHS, HHS, USDA, and DOE are actively courting small businesses. In the greater Washington area, there is seven times more small business spending than in any other U.S. metro area. Almost agency-wide, the government has not achieved yet its procurement goals for WOSBs, HubZone, and SDVOSBs. 
OST Global Solutions, Inc. is a Washington, DC metro area business development company specializing in capture and proposal management.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ready for Government Business Success in 2012?

Mastermind Group Forming Now!

Strategy Intensive For Government Business
with Judy Bradt, Summit Insight 
Did you know Government contractors spend an average of  
nearly $100,000 and invest 20 months to win their first contract? 

Now, you can beat those odds. 

Frustrated trying to land contracts the hard way? Looking for better & faster results? Apply for your place on the path to government success.

This Mastermind group – Strategy Intensive For Government Business – is a unique executive forum. You’ll join like-minded business owners and top experts, discover proven strategies for landing your next contract (or your first one) and get top tactics to tackle tough problems.

Each month, we’ll focus on a specific theme to strengthen the next stage of your game, and share best practices, lessons learned and insider resources and connections.

This exclusive peer-to-peer Mastermind Group is open by application only to C-level and senior executives who lead established companies and seek greater government contract success.

Limited to 10 members.

Key Dates:

Member Invitations: October 14th

Launch: November 1st

Register Today for the Information Webinar to learn more.

Contact:    (703) 627-1074

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Do You Have the Right Stuff to WIN Government Contracts?

Here's one way to find out.

Get together with your key managers – including executive leadership as well as sales, marketing, finance and production.  (If that’s just two people, total, this is going to be either a really long meeting… or a really short one.)

Brainstorm, and ask yourselves: “Why do we want to sell to the government?”  Then compare your reasons to the lists below.

List A: Really Bad Reasons to Chase Government Business 

  • There’s thousands of RFPs every day on FedBizOpps! We just have to get busy and send in some proposals
  • I just got back from a seminar about this, and they said all we have to do is follow the rules and we can win.
  • The government has to buy from us because we’re a small/woman-owned/service-disabled veteran-owned business.
  • Our business needs a big contract to bring in some fast cash.
  • I just came up with this new product the Army’s gonna love.
  • If we get 8(a) certified, the government has to buy from us
  • Our competitors just got a GSA Schedule, and we need to keep up.
  • I’m a service-disabled veteran and just started my company because the government has to buy from us.
  • My brother just got out of the Navy and needs a job; he can sell for us.

List B: Much Better Reasons to Focus on Winning Government Business

  • We’ve pinpointed a problem, and proved we can solve it for a government buyer who has money to fix it.
  • We’ve got a great track record selling to Fortune 500 companies, so government could be a natural next step. 
  • Government publishes tons of info about buyers and competition. Results of competitions and the rules of the game are in the public record and that helps us pinpoint our market research 
  • I’m passionate about using our proven expertise to save lives and keep soldiers safer. 
  • If we win that Marine Corps contract and perform well, that’ll build our reputation with those Fortune 500 companies we want to win! 
  • If we do a good job for that first Air Force base, they’ll want to tell their friends… and we’ll be in a good position for repeat business, too. 
  • We’ve been subcontracting to Lockheed for years, we’ve got strong end-user relationships, and we’re ready to take it to the next level.

Which sounds more like your list?

If you have more “A-list-type” items, then you’ve probably started to feel uncomfortable.  Good.  You should, because you’re recognizing that you may be taking more risk than you thought.

If you’re lining up with the “B” list, your reasoning for market entry is probably sound, and an internal dialogue of your mission and vision will build on that foundation.

Find out more, with your copy of Government Contracts Made Easier -- and save 10% by using the discount code 2S46BRE4 at checkout!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Would You Give Your Car Keys To This Man?

Mentor Protege Programs at Northrop Grumman

John Long, VP Business Development, Civil Systems Division at Northrop Grumman, explains the kind of experience that prospective proteges should have before they approach his company about a mentor-protege program.

Interviewed by Judy Bradt at the 2011 OSDBU Conference.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Five Tips For FYE Success

The late budget has skewed buying to...NOW.
These five tips can help you stay ahead of the game!

#1: Revisit Your Forecasting
  • Take one more look at your target agencies' forecasts and bid boards. Anything new?
  • Look hard at your own forecast, and pick out the projects that best match your capabilities.
  • Identify relevant small business specialists -- and call on them for updates on your hot projects.
#2: Ask for Referrals from Your Best Customers
  • Ask your best customers for introductions! It's the least expensive -- and most powerful -- source of leads you have.
  • Ask for leads within their agency
  • Ask who they know in another agency who might value your expertise or products.

#3: Stay Top-of-Mind
  • When did you last check in with your best clients, partners, current and past contacts?
  • Call long-time, one-time and former government clients to remind them of your value. Offer something useful -- an article, a link...
  • Ask if they'd like fresh info, or need to reorder from you.
  • Call on marginal accounts. Often the company to get the order is the last one the agency spoke with!
  • If the box of cookies or treats is worth less than $25, ask the contracting officer or the OSDBU if you can bring in some refreshments for the team
  • (True story: At fiscal year end, when I worked at the Canadian Embassy, I'd bring a batch of cookies into the Admin section.You have no IDEA how much faster my paperwork got processed.)

#4: Use Multiple Touches, Tactics, Channels

  • Use multiple tactics (PR, events, email, direct mail, web, telemarketing).
  • What channels are others not using? Have you looked into...
  • Federal News Radio? See what co-anchors Amy Morris & Tom Temin are covering, and ask them if they'd like to interview your federal client's recent success (and your contribution...) Catch Amy on Twitter -- @amorris_wfed
  • Twitter -- check out and discover how you can reach hundreds of influential government buyers that your competitors are overlooking!
  • Visit GSA Sales Query, even if you don't have a schedule. How are the leaders in your GSA Schedule category, reaching THEIR clients, through ads and online?
  • Promote year-end offers to government customers through telemarketing or emails.

#5: Update & Share Your Capability Statement

  • Add in your latest contract wins & vehicles, update your contact info, product info, certifications, keywords, NAICS codes.
  • Most contracting officers and small business specialists appreciate getting your latest capability statement. Ask your best contacts if they prefer email or hardcopy or a link.
  • Ask if they've got a few minutes to critique your latest draft capability statement -- What's missing? What else would they like to see? Helpful to you, AND keeps you top of mind.

Get Five More Tips HERE!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

High-Growth Integrator TASC Looks For Partners

Craig Ridley, Small Business Liaison Officer

TASC -- an advanced systems engineering, integration and decision-support services organization -- originally spun out of Northrop Grumman -- now has an aggregate 80 percent win rate.  

"High performance ratings, a strong backlog and a rich pipeline of new and projected new business," make TASC a company worth getting to know. While recent press releases note recent hires of over 900 people engineers, analysts and other technical personnel, and plans to hire 1,200 more this year.

At the 2011 OSDBU Conference, Craig Ridley, Small Business Liaison Officer, shared what TASC keeps in mind when they look for partners -- including on recent wins like:
  • a $200M systems engineering and integration contract to support the Air Force's Space Based Infrared System program 
  • $827 million contract to support the FAA's transition to NextGen, the new air traffic control system
  • IDIQ's: Navy Seaport-e and U.S. Transportation Security Administration's TESS program 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Judy Bradt Honored as SBA 2011 Women in Business Champion

To Receive Award May 11th

The United States Small Business Administration has just chosen me as the SBA 2011 Women in Business Champion, Washington Metropolitan Area.
With Candice Bennett, Liz Cullen & Bev Gray of WPEO-DC
MBE100 Awards

The Small Business Administration's Women in Business Champion is awarded to an individual who has fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership. They appreciated my years of service commitment to businesswomen, at the regional, national and international levels.

Top business leaders who were my nominators appreciated the value of my contributions including as partner and educator with Women Impacting Public Policy, volunteer and speaker for the Women's Business Enterprise National Council and WEConnect Canada, and leader of special programs on government contracts for the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Judy interviews Bridget Bean about the new 8(m) Program
for Women As Veteran Entrepreneurs Conference
“We are proud to honor Judy Bradt with a 2011 Small Business Award. Her tireless efforts on behalf of her fellow women in business are just what these awards were created to recognize. The Washington Metro Area is a better place to do business because creative and enterprising people like Judy work so hard to make it that way,” said Bridget Bean, District Director, SBA Washington Metropolitan Area District Office.

I am deeply humbled to win this award. The Washington DC area is home to so many of the nation's top public and private sector advocates for businesswomen. It's an extraordinary honor to be chosen as the torch-bearer for women in business in this region. SBA's choice of a procurement expert as 2011 Women in Business Champion underscores the importance of the new 8(m) program right now.

Government contracts can make -- or break -- a thriving business, and can really hurt a fragile one. The new 8(m) program opens the door to women business owners for high growth government business. My passion remain strong: to give all business owners the tools and support they need to make good decisions on that road to government contract success.

My husband, JJ Gertler, will join me -- and I hope you and other friends will too -- for the award ceremony May 11th at a 3 pm at the Women in Military Service to America Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

For more info or to register, visit

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Speak Up -- SBA Proposes New Size Standards

Bigger Pond or Fiercer Fish? Your call.
But don't be caught napping. Comments due May 16th.

Once your small business outgrows your size standard, competition can get a lot tougher. On the other hand, what would the downside be of having larger firms qualify as small business and be able to compete against you in the "small" pool? Whether an increase in size standards would help you or hurt you, speak up now.

SBA proposes to increase small business size standards for 35 industries in NAICS Sector 54 and one industry in NAICS Sector 81. The SBA estimates that over 9000 firms will be eligible for SBA programs as a result of these changes. SBA's notice of proposed rulemaking invites your comments by Monday, May 16, 2011.

SBA proposes to evaluate five factors in each industry in NAICS Sector 54: (1) Average Firm Size, (2) Startup Costs and Entry Barriers, (3) Industry Competition, (4) Distribution by Firms by Size, and (5) Impact on Federal Contracting and SBA Loan Programs.

For more information on the factors and the proposed rule, click here --!documentDetail;D=SBA-2011-0008-0001

If you want to comment, refer to proposed rule RIN 3245-AG07.

Submit Electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal:
Submit Via Mail: Khem R. Sharma, PhD, Chief, Size Standards Division, 409 Third Street, SW., Mail Code 6530, Washington, DC 20416.

Monday, February 21, 2011

15 Minutes -- The Truth of Government Contracts


A friend with whom I reconnected last year, Steve Paikin, has had a wonderful career as one of Canada’s top current affairs journalists, and was kind enough to invite me to do a television interview with him about US government contract.  You can see it at –

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Get 8(m) / WOSB Certified Today. Cost: Nothing.

Links & Steps For 8(m) Certification

If you're a woman business owner seeking  federal contracts, you might qualify for the 8(m) set-aside program for Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB).

About 30 contracts have been awarded under this program. A year into implementation, it's just getting started.

Exploring opportunities? Remember:
  • Set-aside programs don't guarantee you a contract. This program requires two or more WOSB's to compete for the business -- it's not a sole source program.
  • Look beyond the 8(m) set-asides.  While the estimated value of the WOSB set asides is $6 billion, the federal government aims to award about $250 billion to all small businesses.
  1. Learn the rules
    SBA's WOSB Program Compliance Guide and supporting documents for the 8(m) Program has details. Do you qualify? If so, here you'll learn what documents you'll need, and who to ask if you're not sure and have more questions.

  2. Prepare & scan your documents
    You'll be uploading files. Find out how to do that in The Repository Guide

  3. Set up your GLS account...
    on SBA's web site: Go to
    Click on "Instructions for GLS" to find out what to do next
    Select "Request SBA User ID" and create your account.

  4. Upload your documents
    Log into your GLS account, and enter the WOSB Program Area.

  5. Update or Register in CCR
    If you're already in CCR & ORCA, update your records to reflect your certification.
    If  you're not in CCR, head over to and read about how to do that.
Want help?
  • Visit for low cost or free counseling and programs in your region.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

USASpending.Gov: Now Features Subcontractors

Best Free Research Gets Better By The Minute

I thought I was hallucinating: when I was doing a federal contract data search a few weeks ago, my query started pulling records based on a company name. Well, it's supposed to do that...but the company I was searching for wasn't ever a prime. 

My search found them because they were a SUBCONTRACTOR. "That's nice," I thought. "What changed? When did primes start collecting and publishing subcontractor data?" But I got busy and nobody else was pestering me for the answer.

Yesterday, I found out -- or, rather, was reminded! I'd forgotten that the Federal Fiscal Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), passed in 2006, is finally hitting its implementation dates.
  • Since July 1st, federal prime contractors have been entering data on all subcontractors on contracts or task orders worth more than $20 million.
  • As of October 1st, 2010, they have to report subcontracts under federally-awarded contracts and orders valued at or above $550,000
  • By March 1st 2011, USASpending.Gov will have subcontractor data for every prime contract and task order worth more than $25,000.
At the 25th Anniversary conference of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, Adam Stansifer, Senior Consultant for IBM Global Business Services on GSA's Integrated Acquisition Environment project, explained more. Over the next three years, his team will consolidate nine different systems into a single portal called SAM -- the System for Award Management.

More about that soon!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Get The Jump On 2011 Government Business

Special Online Workshop Series Starts October 13th

What new business will YOU celebrate this year? The winners are targeting now. Did you know? There are seven things that all successful companies do when they win government contracts – and it all starts with Strategy.

Got 90 minutes? Then you can get the straight talk – and candid insight – into how you can lay a foundation to win new government business in the year ahead.  Is it hard? Doesn't have to be. I've teamed up with Federal Procurement Pro and L2 Federal Resources to make it...Easier.

Starting Wednesday, October 13th at 1 pm, this online workshop presents the hard-hitting questions you’ll need to ask your team as you begin your quest for more government contracts – and gives you the tools to find the answers.

If want to know:
  • How to tell if you’re ready for government business
  • Which factors affect the size of opportunity you can win next
  • What women and minority business owners do differently on their road to success
  • The easy framework you can use to assess your next move…
…then this a high-value tour-de-force will help answer the most important question -- “Is this good business for my business?” -- and give you the perfect chance to ask questions on how to use power tools to reach your goals. The answers will keep you on the shortest path to government contract success.

Find out more -- this is the first of a series that also includes bonus materials, post-workshop recordings and more... and Register today! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Small Business Administration Buys "Government Contracts Made Easier"

Now it's official!

SBA's Washington Metro DC District office is the first buyer of "Government Contracts Made Easier" -- and got the government bulk purchase discount for quantities between 25 and 99 copies!

I did it just the way winning companies suggest: starting small and being persistent!

Technical details: this sale was done via the SmartPay Card and the micro-purchase threshold, through RELATIONSHIPS developed over the previous TWO YEARS. 

Wow. If I won a government can too.

Don't pay $9.99 for the advance publication chapter.
join my LinkedIn group and 
get the code for a complimentary download of the meaty "Marketing" chapter.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Unique Value: A Case In Point

Author at work...Manuscript is now with the Editors!
What Buyers Want That Only You Can Give

When I counsel clients, I talk about creating your Unique Value Proposition...and I have to do the same in my own business.  and with my book -- Government Contracts Made Easier (Not A Novel)

I'm thrilled that a major national association has committed to buying 1000 copies.

And...the Small Business Administration's Metro Washington DC District Office has just purchased copies for their small business specialists!

What's different about this book? Here's why they're buying:
  • Seven Steps you can take right now to win faster
  • Hot new research stats on what it takes to win
  • What woman-owned and minority businesses do differently
  • Real-life profiles in success from over 12 businesses
  • Practical exercises to get you up the learning curve
  • Checklists and tips for fast reference
  • Loaded with resources that seasoned contractors take years to discover
Find out for yourself -- join my LinkedIn Group, and get the discount codes to download pre-publication chapters over the weeks ahead!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Top Teaming Tips -- An Interview with MBE Connect

Thanks to Betty Cole of WBENC and to Sharon Hadary, for inviting me to share these tips during the recent Women's Business Enterprise National Council conference. WBENC rocks!  And a big thank you to interviewer Kate Armstrong at MBE Connect. Check out all the ways that MBE Connect can help you in your quest for teaming relationships. 

Friday, July 02, 2010

The New 80/20 of Government Contracting ...

...And How To Beat It

You know the regular 80/20 rule. Well, thanks to a new report from Victory in Procurement, an initiative of OPEN by American Express, we now have a new 80/20 rule for government contracts. Actually, it's the 86/20 rule:

First-time federal contractors invest an average of $86,124 and 20 months on the road to success.

They also offer these tips to make your road shorter than theirs:
  • Start small.
  • Pursue subcontracting -- 76 of winners do, and 54% of them succeed.
  • Ensure that government business development is part of your core growth strategy.
  • Target government buyers with clear needs that you can meet.
  • Develop relationships through calls on agencies, outreach sessions, matchmaking events, and associations.
  • DO look into GSA Schedules...but don't assume they're right for you. Less than 50% of first time contractors do business through a GSA Schedule. First, find out how your target buyers purchase, and how your competitors sell.
Want to know more? See:

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Who Wants to Win A GSA Schedule (FY2010 edition) ?

FY 2009 -- The Scary Schedule 70 Stats

Sobering facts for Schedule 70 IT FY 2009
Total Sales: $15.7 billion  Total Schedule 70 Awardees: 5,333

Top 25 Firms' Market Share:   42%
Top 50 Market Share:               54%
Top 100 Market Share (1.8% of awardees)   65% => $10.2 B
 3,271 other firms (61% of awardees)             35% =>  $ 5.5 B

1,962 firms    (37% of awardees)                       $0

GSA IT procurement officials told me that, in view of the recession, they intended to go easy on routine terminations of contracts from companies who failed to reach $25K in sales in the first two years, or under $100K by year five.

Nevertheless, overall Schedule 70 awards in 2009 are down 5% -- 5,333 vs 5,614. Potentially good news: that last group -- the $0 club -- is down 12% from 2008. Some reasons for that could be that offerors must now:
  • Complete the GSA Pathway to Success online training 
  • Demonstrate two years' sales of the proposed products/services, whether to commercial or government buyers
  • Outline their post-award marketing plans as part of their schedule contract proposal.
What do winners do differently? They take Seven Steps To Success.

Monday, February 22, 2010

FARS Part 10: Two Ways To Leverage Research

When Federal Buyers Hunt, You Want To Be Seen

FARS Part 10 outlines all the things federal buyers are supposed to find out about how well potential suppliers can meet the requirement before they launch a competition.

Why do you care?
  • If you're the only company that can meet the requirement, that research can support a sole source award. Gain the advantage by making sure that buyers know and lust after your unique characteristics.
  • If many vendors have capability to meet the requirement, then the research results affect the kind of competitive process you can start to get ready for.
  • And perhaps most important, if you want to be considered as a credible source, FARS Part 10 gives you the list of exactly what buyers have been told to find out when you come calling! If you're smart, you've now got a checklist when you're preparing your marketing materials!
What do you think they need to know? Find out at FARS Part 10.002.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Why To Love FARS Part 9: Are You Simply Irresistible?

Making Contractor Responsibility High Impact, Low Drama

Writing this one, I got stuck in one of those songs that won't get out of my with apologies to the late Robert Palmer, I begin with a singalong (link here for the original tune)

You’re basically responsible
Always certifiable
Truly qualifiable
Never been convictable
Your 8(a) is a star, you're a powerful force
You’re part of a team 'cause there's no other course
Before, you looked good, but now they find you

Simply Irresistible

Okay now that I've passed that along to YOU, here are just some of the gems waiting for you in FARS Part 9, and why you care.
  • FARS 9.104-1: Only responsible companies can be awarded a contract. So, what's it mean to be "responsible"? Better yet: by that definition, could your competition be found irresponsible? That might be a competitive edge for you!
  • FARS 9.2: Are you technically dominant in your field? If the contracting officer decided that prospective vendors must meet a high level of technical qualification, would that be to your advantage? Find out how that can happen.
  • FARS 9.5: Sure, we all want to shape the spec, but here's how can going too far lock you out of the business you're positioning to win.
  •  FARS 9.6: Are you teamed -- in the eyes of your contracting officer? See what definition qualifies in federal contracts.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

FARS Part 8: Mandatory Sources Rules That Mean Business

Who Ya GOTTA Call?
Quick question: which FAR would let a government buyer call Ghostbusters? (Answer at the bottom....) And why do you care?  Meet FARS Part 8.

Reason One: Because it's great to be a mandatory source -- if you know the rules that say when government MUST buy from you.The best known mandatory sources are General Services Administration Schedule Contracts.  FARS SubPart 8.4 gives you the details on how government uses these popular contracts, including valuable info on Blanket Purchase Agreements.

Reason Two: But wait! Even if you have a GSA Schedule, did you know which mandatory sources are in line ahead of you?  

Reason Three: Other special rules might apply to you. You need to know how they work if you want to win. A client of mine in the printing industry had been providing millions of dollars worth of printing services through contracts administered by the Government Printing Office (GPO). She asked for my help exploring sources of new government business, because she wondered if she could offer a better deal directly than the prices her clients paid through GPO. FARS SubPart 8.8 specified GPO as a mandatory source, but says there can be exceptions, if the government buyer's needs can't be met by GPO.  So I called GPO's legal counsel to ask how one went about getting exceptions.

Um, well, don't bother trying, was the basic answer. He couldn't remember the last time they'd granted an exception. But knowing the rule to look for meant I could have an intelligent conversation with the person in charge of the rules and get good guidance.

Oh, if you gotta call Ghostbusters, better look up FARS Subpart 8.002 (b).

Sources other than those listed in paragraph (a) of this section may be used as prescribed in 41 CFR 101-26.301 and in an unusual and compelling urgency as prescribed in 6.302-2 and in 41 CFR 101-25.101-5.