“Advocacy’s Small Business Profiles are an annual portrait of each state’s small businesses. Included in each are snapshots into each state’s small business health and economic activity. Some economic data is also supplied for U.S. territories.“
“This discussion addresses meeting the unique aspects of federal government contracting, yielding a successful plan and more importantly a successful execution of that plan in the federal contracting venue.
When visiting the SBA website on business planning, there are major topics in the business planning process which, when addressed in a plan, will insure the success of an enterprise and assist in determining and supporting the amount of funding needed. SBA Write a Business Plan“
“Marketing, advertising, competitor analysis and financing must be addressed. Free articles on strategic planning and developing a marketing plan are at the “References” Box Net Cube at the top right margin of this site: https://www.smalltofeds.com They address evolving an operations vision for an enterprise showing its potential to present to a banker or to an investor.
It may assist in visualizing business growth to look at an example of how someone else addressed a given topic.
Product entrepreneurs all face the same challenges. Those who succeed recognize they need to visualize themselves in the product development business, structuring an enterprise, generating a business plan, protecting intellectual property and then seeking industry partners and investors to bring the product to market.
In the process, copyrights, patents and royalty issues may come into play and development and distribution agreements are formed. Pricing is finalized based on cost and expense projections and competitive factors unique to the company as negotiation results are achieved with industry teaming partners, developers, manufacturers and distributors.
Service contracting to the federal government is a natural venue for small business. It does not require a product with a niche market or capital intensive manufacturing facilities. Service contracting does require skilled management and labor resources capable of performing a scope of work for which the government has identified a need and for which outsourcing to an industry contractor has been selected as the means to fulfill that need. The venue demands strong human resources management, industry teaming and an enhanced business system to price, account and bill on a job cost basis under government service contracts.
Utilize the below link to register your company. It provides excellent guidance and background, as well as access to the PDF file on NAICS Codes which are critical for you to choose before you begin the registration process. Give these some careful thought when selecting them. If there is a chance your firm may wish to be involved in a field, put the code in your registration. No one will question your qualifications at this point. That comes later during proposals.
When you have completed your registration at the link below you will received a Government CAGE Code, uniquely identifying your firm and its location as a government contractor.
As a small business becomes known in the federal government contracting community, successful marketing of sole source or group-designated business becomes easier, but it is always a challenge due to the need for taking early action in windows of opportunity.
Find those windows and communicate capabilities to the decision makers and industry team members who can help you.
If you are eligible for set aside designations make small business set asides or sole source procurements key elements in your marketing plan.
Waiting for a contract award to achieve a government contracting business process is not advisable. A win may not happen at all without addressing the structure and process requirements in your proposal to convince the customer his business environment is understood.
If one is not prepared in advance and one is fortunate enough to win, then in a very short time frame one will have to evolve a business system to perform on the contract and submit a billing
This article will discuss a framework for a small enterprise to develop a business system in service contracting, which is the most frequent venue utilized to enter the government market.
Government contract proposal preparation is time consuming and can be costly. Meeting the agency Request for Proposal (RFP) requirements with a responsive proposal can be well worth the effort if a winning strategy can be formulated. When considering submitting a proposal to a given government solicitation, conduct a bid/no bid exercise.
By going through that process a company begins formulating your win strategy or it will discover that it should not bid this job for lack of such a strategy. The elements of the process are discussed below in the form of questions to ask against topics for key consideration
This article offers guidance as a template to apply marketing operations for accommodating federal government contract proposal preparation. Proposals are special, sometimes exhausting projects, but a necessary part of doing business with government agencies. Like many other aspects of business, the more proposals that are prepared, the more that is learned and the more one can borrow from past practice for the next one.
Strategic thinking must be applied to structuring a government service contract project management capability in your company. It must involve long term planning and designing a business system as well as establishing rates and factors to bid new work and control it while interfacing with the customer.
When one plans in detail to define the product or the service one reduces performance risk.
The project management challenge is not to launch significant and costly resources before the specification for the product is sufficiently defined, obviating the need for costly revisions or abandonment, yet knowing when the product definition and plan are suitable for release.
Consider the advice herein when developing and maintaining your business plan. Overlay approaches unique to the company against the guidance offered and place it in the standard format for business planning. It will yield a road map for success and can be further evolved for growth.
For additional details on these topics and other important information in developing and executing a government contacting plan, download the free books and supplements available in PDF format at the “Box” in the top right margin of the below site.”
These reactions are more sensational than accurate. The panel recommended creating a new way for the Defense Department to obtain competition, thus eliminating mandatory set-asides when using readily-available procedures. This change would not eliminate small business set-asides, nor would it eliminate the federal small business program. Under these procedures, DoD would still have the option to set-aside procurements for small business.
Some are concerned that implementing this recommendation would lead DoD to stop setting aside work for small business. A prominent real-world example shows that this is unlikely. Under the General Services Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program, solicitations are frequently set-aside despite the fact that the “rule of two” is not applicable to these purchases. Agencies strive to meet their small business utilization goals, so they set-aside procurements when appropriate, even though they are not required to do so.
The panel’s recommended changes are necessary to put mission first, prioritize warfighter needs for state-of-the-art capabilities and break away from the current compliance-oriented acquisition culture. The panel believes many of the constraints in the current system can be removed while still meeting the broader public policy objective of acquiring supplies and services from small businesses through government contracts.
The panel’s Volume 3 Report states, “Many companies do not view DoD as a viable, much less a critical, business partner.”
Companies that do business with DoD, including many small businesses, may like it that way because it limits competition. They know how the system works, with all its quirks and inefficiencies, and can leverage that knowledge to get contracts. Under the panel’s recommendations, some of these incumbent small businesses will be challenged by additional competition from non-traditional small businesses that could offer better solutions for warfighters and better value for U.S. taxpayers. That would be a win for restoring true competition and enabling DoD to reap the benefits of innovation from a wider variety of small businesses.
The private-sector small businesses that drive the majority of innovation want nothing to do with the current DoD market. Many do not even know what FedBizOpps is and can’t wait a year to find out if they’ve won a contract. Others have tried to sell innovative technology to DoD, giving up after experiencing what feels like an endless business development cycle. These are often insurmountable hurdles for companies that endeavor to create and deliver innovation at speed.
The Air Force’s recent Pitch Day showed how one DoD organization is reaching out to industry and embracing small business by simplifying and accelerating the acquisition process. But much like Other Transaction Agreements and Middle Tier Acquisition, Pitch Day was a work-around to traditional practice orchestrated by bureaucracy hackers (kudos to them!). For long-term success, acquisition practices like this must be the norm, not the exception.
It is time to stop creating or expanding authorities for DoD to operate outside the acquisition system and deliberately implement changes that will make DoD’s acquisition system function in today’s private-sector-driven marketplace, establishing a system that meets warfighters’ needs in a way that provides agility and values time.
—Section 809 Panel Volume 3 Report
In Volume 1, the panel recognized that small businesses are valuable sources of innovation and described a pivot in how they should be utilized to support DoD’s warfighting capabilities and capacities. The recommendations included bolstering support and funding for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), and Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) programs, making SBIR and STTR permanent, and providing increased flexibility for use of RIF.
The panel’s Volume 3 recommendations aim to help level the playing field by drastically streamlining and simplifying defense acquisition. Currently, small businesses are at a disadvantage navigating these complex processes because they lack the staff and infrastructure many large businesses have dedicated to their work with the federal government (e.g., business development, compliance, legal). By reducing many of these government-unique processes, the panel cuts administrative time for both small businesses and the government’s acquisition workforce, allowing the system to deliver solutions faster.
A closer look at the panel’s recommendations as a whole made it clear that the panel views small businesses as central to DoD’s mission, as long as DoD policies focus on encouraging innovation and maintaining a diverse pool of suppliers that can meet mission needs. If the Section 809 Panel recommends eliminating anything, it is the excessive amount of time it takes to deliver innovation to warfighters.
So let’s throttle back on the hysteria and work together to put DoD’s acquisition system on a war footing to better support warfighters defending against the nation’s adversaries. Congress should adopt, and DoD should support, the panel’s readily available recommendation in the 2020 NDAA.
U.S. warfighters need more innovation from small businesses, and they need it now.”
But Saboo said her company won the Marine Corps contract and many others not because agencies are using the SBIR program like Congress intended, but despite of it.
“The best kept secret in Phase III of the SBIR program is that any agency can put millions of dollars on the contract without competition. It’s very similar to an 8(a) contract,” Saboo said in an interview with Federal News Radio. “The problem is most contracting officers have no clue how to do that. I’ve tried to sell that until I was blue in the face. I have 89 different SBIRs, but I can’t get them to use it. That is challenging.”
Instead, Harmonia Holdings is using SBIR as a kind of venture capital fund where Saboo can obtain funding for research and development and then once the tool or software is ready, offer it back to the government through other contract opportunities.
“I use SBIR technology opportunities as areas where I want to develop competencies for my company,” she said.
GSA to offer Assisted Acquisition Services
And this is why the General Services Administration’s new pilot to use its Assisted Acquisition Services in the Federal Acquisition Service aims to connect companies like Saboo’s with federal agency buyers.
“We partnered with Small Business Administration to make this pilot program happen, said Mark Lee, GSA’s assistant commissioner of the FAS Office of Policy and Compliance, during a press briefing on July 30. “We think AAS is positioned to set up a shared service across the government to help support innovative solutions throughout the marketplace and that can lead to the job creation the program is designed to bring. There is a unique opportunity to work with companies early on and bring them to a contract vehicle and get them opportunities.”
Lee said the client support centers in Region 5 and the FedSIM office will run the pilots and have dedicated support to help expand the use of companies under the SBIR program throughout the rest of the federal acquisition offerings by GSA.
Saboo said any more attention Phase III SBIR companies can receive to help commercialize their technologies, the real key is whether FAS trains its acquisition workforce to use the program to the full extent the law allows.
“Once you finish Phase III, you are in the valley of death because there is no specific need anymore,” she said. “If you find someone who is interested in your project, you need money to really expand the project to do what they want, and the customer, especially in the Defense Department, may not be able to get you money for two years because of how the budgeting process works. We, and many other companies, have never been able to use the Phase 3 contract because contracting officers don’t know how to use it and the gap between funding is too much.”
Lee said part of the reason why GSA is stepping in is to address similar problems Saboo is referring to.
Jeff Koses, GSA’s senior procurement executive, said AAS is offering access to the SBIR Phase III companies currently and the pilot runs through fiscal 2019.
“We will have a governance process in place to ensure we understand the rules and making most effective use of the program,” he said. “We will communicate with SBA about future possibilities, such as extending the pilot to other parts of GSA or other areas of the SBIR program. When a customer agency comes to us with authority to use a company in the SBIR program, GSA will be the acquisition arm to support that makes the connection between the agency need and industry partner.”
John Shoraka, a former SBA associate administrator for government contracting and business development and now managing director of GovContractPros, said GSA’s idea is a good one, but the agency and SBIR companies also need to keep in mind several things.
“There should be significant SBA involvement as their Office of Innovation and Investment (OII) manages the SBIR program and reports on it to Congress,” he said. “The reporting of SBIR awards is unclear, and it is also unclear how many agencies use all of their dedicated SBIR funding, and how successful the funding is. There should be a report card grading system like the small business report cards to Congress for SBIR.”
Saboo said another way to improve the SBIR program would be for agency acquisition officers and commercialization assistance programs to spread the word about how the program works consistently and persistently.
“GSA doesn’t have to do matchmaking. I can take products and create opportunities if contracting officers are open to listening and understanding what they can do with the SBIR program,” she said.”
“The Small Business Administration [SBA] issued a solicitation Monday worth up to $40 million to 8(a) companies for IT professional services to support the Office of the CIO’s modernization initiatives over five years.
SBA hopes to make up to three awards to 8(a) small businesses on the multiple-award indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract “to provide the SBA’s OCIO with technical professional services…”
[RFP QUOTE] “……..provide the SBA’s OCIO with technical professional services to support the Chief Information Officer (CIO)’s strategic planning and engineering efforts for FY 2018-2022, architecture and engineering expertise in the implementation of CIO initiatives and technologies, and other support as may be required for mission accomplishment.”
While the contract would give the SBA OCIO — currently led by Maria Roat — broad help to achieve the objectives laid out for it in the agency’s strategic five-year plan, the request for proposals specifically keys in on things like architecture and engineering services for cloud, cybersecurity and mobility, as well as program management, enterprise data management and business intelligence services, among others.
SBA already has its first task order ready, which it plans to award at the same time as the IDIQ contract spots, for cloud migration and data center closures.
“The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is seeking Professional Services and support to the CIO’s strategic initiatives in evaluating, assessing, architecting, engineering and providing operational support for the continued development and implementation of SBA’s cloud environments (Azure and Amazon Web Services),” the task order says. “The services will also include providing technical support to the SBA’s Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) to close existing physical data centers and migrating those locations to the SBA cloud.”
SBA will consider responses to that first task order as part of its evaluation process for spots on the greater IDIQ contract.
The contract will have one base year and four one-year options. Proposals are due July 31.
SBA Administrator Linda McMahon tasked the OCIO in her 2018-22 strategic plan with implementing enterprisewide IT modernization and “cost-effective technology” to strengthen SBA’s ability to serve small businesses.
As the plan says: “The SBA will take an enterprise approach to modernize, innovate, and test new capabilities to optimize meeting the business needs of its customers. SBA’s information technology infrastructure is the foundation that enables SBA programs and operations. Delivering a consistent, reliable, and secure infrastructure is imperative to achieving this mission. The SBA will upgrade its core infrastructure to become current with existing technologies, and will improve the reliability and availability of services that will help improve the Agency’s security posture.”