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.