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 contract...you 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 http://webcast.gsa.gov/login.asp?lib=pn100381_gsa_pathways 
  • 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 head...so 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.