Tag Archives: small business

U.S. Navy Actively Aiding And Soliciting Small Businesses

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Image: U.S. Navy Office of Small Business Programs

“NATIONAL DEFENSE MAGAZINE”

Assistant Secretary Geurts:

“We are spending … $10 billion a year-plus every year on ship maintenance. I think there are tons of ideas out there in small business that [would] allow us to do that more cheaply, more effectively with less manpower if we had programs to go after and look at it.”

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“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to persist, the Navy is making sure that small businesses are not left behind, according to officials.

For example, the service is taking steps to cut down on program acquisition timelines for small businesses. Awarding contracts early has been one its strategies to account for potential complications that may arise during the pandemic. In many cases, the Navy’s overall time to release contract awards was reduced from 120 days to 24 days, Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby said Sept. 1 during the Department of the Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event. The webinar was hosted by the San Diego Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association. 

To reduce acquisition cycles, the Navy has taken steps such as changing project proposal requirements to be less stringent by reducing page count requirements and speeding up evaluation times, Selby noted. The service has also “opened aperture” by accepting more project proposals than usual, he said.

“We put in place a lot of changes,” Selby said. “We sped up our processes. Our proposals, we made them broader. … By the end of June, we were about $80 million ahead of where we would have been last year. We’re pushing money out the door.”

However, small businesses must ensure that they continue to provide adequate work during all phases of an acquisition cycle, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James “Hondo” Geurts said during the event. The Navy, for its part, must be “reasonable at all steps” and avoid putting workers at risk during the pandemic, he noted.

“You’ve got to perform” on programs, Geurts told members of industry. Some companies seem to take the approach that they can complete the first couple of phases of work and then “get rich on phase 3,” he said. “Then it gets priced to the point where it’s not competitive or fair and reasonable.”

Meanwhile, the Navy is hoping to leverage more innovation from small businesses to help it solve some of its existing problems. For example, they may be able to provide ideas on how the service can reduce the amount of money it is spends on ship maintenance, he said. The Office of Naval Research is examining the possibility of setting up a fund dedicated to adopting existing technology that could help cut down on these costs, he noted.”

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2020/9/1/navy-trying-to-aid-solicit-help-from-small-businesses

3 Government Contract Marketing Tactics To Employ As The Fiscal Year Ends

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Image: KDJcommunications.com

WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGYBy Mark Amtower

Each of these tactics works regardless of the Covid 19 crisis, but they are more important now that we do not currently have the face-to-face option of our normal end-of-fiscal year.

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“The Covid 19 crisis has forced Feds and contractors alike to a new level of “digital transformation,” a forced migration to tools we were aware of but not necessarily using often or well: online meetings, telework, and leveraging social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook more fully and more frequently.

With the physical re-opening of federal sites still in question, the need to adapt has never been greater. I have heard from different sources that federal offices will not return to any semblance of normal in this fiscal year, and possible not until calendar 2021.

In the meantime, here are a few ideas to win more business at the end of fiscal 2020 on Sept. 30.

First, relevant content, well written or produced, then properly deployed after production. Content can take many forms, from articles and blog posts, to videos and podcasts, from webinars to white papers, and much more. Studies from Market Connections, Inc, Hinge Marketing and others have not only demonstrated the value of content in the procurement process, but have shown it to be a critical factor when you are targeting specific contracts, going after business with a specific agency, or developing and showcasing an area of expertise.

Producing the content is step one, putting it where your target audience will find it is step two.

All content should be resident on your web site under a “Resources” button. After that, share it via social sharing and email. If you post it on LinkedIn, it automatically goes to your 1st degree connections via their “Home” page. If someone else shares it, it goes into their 1st degree network the same way.

Your content should be educational in nature and avoid any overt sales message. Just include contact info at the end and encourage readers and viewers to share.

Second, virtual events. By this time we should all be ZOOM-masters, right? I had been on ZOOM before Covid 19 sequestered us, but now I feel like I cannot live without it. ZOOM is massively more personal than a call.

Many events, even larger ones, have gone virtual with varying degrees of success. For those that didn’t quite make it, the problem may have been the tech backbone or the partner you chose to produce the event.

Vetting your virtual event provider and testing capacity is key, so start by asking your peers who they are using. If you attend an event that works, or that does not work so well, find out which platform was used.

If you are hosting an event for govies, make certain it is on a platform approved by their agency. If it is FedRAMP compliant, you should be OK. If not, rethink your platform.

Virtual events are here to stay.

Third, social selling. Social selling has been growing in importance over the last few years, but has now become critical. LinkedIn is the primary venue for this and the traffic on LinkedIn since the “stay at home” order has risen significantly.

Social selling is not traditional selling. It is the art and science of getting on the radar of a defined audience and staying on the radar in a non-intrusive way by leveraging social networks. It is not designed to replace traditional sales or business development, but to supplement and support them.

Sharing the content you develop is a social selling technique. Finding, liking and commenting on content shared by your prospects, is another technique. “Following” your prospects before reaching out is yet another. There are several easy-to-do social selling tactics.

Reaching out to connect with your prospect audience can be a social selling technique as long as you don’t send the LinkedIn connection “form letter.” Find a way to put the connection request in context of what the prospect does and what you bring to the table, but not a sales context.

Best of fortunes for your federal “busy season”!”

https://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2020/06/17/insights-amtower-covid-fiscal-end-selling.aspx

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mark Amtower

Mark Amtower advises government contractors on all facets of business-to-government (B2G) marketing and leveraging LinkedIn. Find Mark on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markamtower.

Air Force “AF Ventures” Small Business Initiative

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Photo by Master Sgt. John Hughel

NATIONAL DEFENSE MAGAZINE

The effort is a collaboration between the Air Force Small Businesses Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program and AFWERX to invest in small businesses that may have technology useful to the military, according to a news release.

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“The Air Force is moving forward with an initiative to bring innovative technologies into the service, according to a top acquisition official.

“AFVentures is our process to work with companies that — at least for now — are mainly targeting commercial success,” Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said June 4 during a Decode webinar. “It’s not perfect, but I think we’ve come a long way.”

The service is giving out awards through different levels of “bets,” he noted, with “small bets” totaling between $50,000 to $75,000 and “medium bets” totaling between $1 million to $3 million, Roper said.

“The process as it exists today, does about 1,000 very small entry level awards to get companies in,” he said. “The second step is where we move up to medium-sized bets.”

Companies chosen for the small awards don’t have to have a concrete idea of how their products can be used by the military, he noted.

“You don’t have to understand the mission you’re targeting, but if you have a really interesting technology, you’re pretty sure there’s a match with the military, [it’s] meant to get you in and find your potential customer,” he said.

Products chosen for the “medium-sized bets” allow the company to develop a prototype of the technology and pitch it, he noted.

“If they select you for one of those medium bets, well, that’s a pretty good indication of a product market set,” he said. “The fact that we selected you means you have a better chance of getting access to that broader market we represent.”

The service is also investing in a handful of “big bets” from $5 million to $50 million, he said. This would allow a company to prototype, produce and sell its product. In March, Roper said the service has a tentative combined “big bet” awards of about $1 billion total in contracts that will go to over 550 small businesses.

“Our hope is that as companies become amazing successes that they don’t view themselves as either commercial or military,” he said. “We hope that they’ll view themselves as tech companies that have a … history or legacy with the military.”

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2020/6/4/air-force-fleshes-out-afventures-small-business-initiative

COVID – 19 Adversarial Capital Threat to Defense Industry Small Business

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Image: Investors Business Daily

FCW

“Adversarial capital” is the latest buzz phrase used to describe the security problem that can occur when foreign rivals, especially China, take advantage of the relatively open U.S. investment marketplace.

“We simply cannot afford this period of economic uncertainty to lead to loss of American know-how on critical technologies,” – Jennifer Santos, DOD’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial policy.”

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“The Defense Department is hoping steadily engaging small businesses will help shield them from shady foreign investments during the global COVID-19 crisis.

[At risk are] nascent technology firms whose work may have security applications but don’t yet fall under the aegis of the cross-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

“We simply cannot afford this period of economic uncertainty to lead to loss of American know-how on critical technologies,” Santos said during an April 28 webinar on coronavirus supply chain challenges hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

Additionally, DOD has been hosting teleconferences multiple times per week with industry trade associations and continued to host virtual Trusted Capital Marketplace events to help ensure companies have access to “clean capital” and avoid foreign investment conflicts.

Ellen Lord, DOD’s acquisition chief, warned in March that the defense industry base, their technology, and intellectual property were vulnerable to “nefarious” foreign investors.

As the coronavirus pandemic worsened, DOD has struggled with multiple plant closures — 93 out of 10,509 prime companies with 141 that closed and reopened and 427 out of 11,413 vendors, with 237 that have closed and reopened. Those closures have significantly affected aviation, shipbuilding and small space launch supply chains.

Santos said several companies in Mexico have “impacted our major primes” and DOD is working to identify those companies and work with the Mexican government supporting various technologies, including airframe production.

But foreign investment remains one of the more pressing priorities in defense acquisition, Santos said, adding that suspicious transactions in vulnerable areas are mitigated or blocked if a risk is found regardless of the pandemic.

That is an acute problem for small manufacturers, Lord said.

“Typically the most problematic areas we have now are some of the smaller manufacturers who, maybe from a dollar value, don’t do huge numbers but they are providing critical components across aircraft and naval applications. That’s where my biggest concern is; sort of the weakest link in the system,” Lord told reporters April 30.

The acquisition chief also worried some smaller companies “might end up with some significant financial fragility” and is looking across interagency and in the Trusted Capital Marketplace, a partnership that links private investors with defense companies, to keep those with “critical technology, talent, and facilities together with those investors.”

Lord’s concern extends overseas, as well, particularly in Europe, regarding what Lord called “nefarious” mergers and acquisition, where shell companies have known U.S. adversaries as beneficial owners. To protect against that, the Pentagon wants stronger foreign legislation from Congress to make the CFIUS process more stringent, Lord said.

In addition to pursuing stronger legislation, DOD has bolstered and expanded national security investment reviews, which can take 45 days and are reviewed by the Director of National Intelligence, and increased engagement with businesses using the newly stood up industrial base council.

Santos said the council helps address the industry base’s existing gaps and risks by aligning their priorities with DOD’s, identifying authorities that can be used to solve any issues, and drawing up policy as needed.

“We need to protect our industrial base from what could be adversarial capital and during COVID, we maintain the same due diligence,” Santos said, “It’s what keeps me up at night most nights.”

https://fcw.com/articles/2020/05/04/dod-adversarial-capital-williams.aspx?oly_enc_id=

A Framework For Federal Government Service Contracting Small Business Systems

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Image: “Smalltofeds”

SMALLTOFEDS” By Ken Larson

INTRODUCTION 

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 you understand his business environment.

If you are not prepared in advance and you are fortunate enough to win, then in a very short time frame you will have to evolve your business system to perform on your 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.

The above diagram depicts the major elements of a suggested integrated template.

If you are a small startup organization, your process and automation may be quite rudimentary and simple in addressing the above structure and functions. If your company is in a high growth mode with many transactions, projects and details your processes and computerization will be more complex.

The point to remember is the need to overlay the above on your existing company for the unique products and services you provide, and then address how to fit, supplement, or accommodate the necessary adjustments to support contracting to the government.

Please read the following articles on the highlighted topics for details that may assist in evolving your unique business processes to support government contracting:

Long Range Planning

Should You Consider Small Business Federal :Government Contracting?

Provisional Indirect Rates

Teaming in Government Contracting

Protecting Intellectual Property and Proprietary Data

Human Resource Planning

Generic Contingent Hire Agreement

Contracts and Pricing
Proposal Preparation

Pricing
Project Planning

Earned Value Management Systems

Contract Baseline Management

Cost Centers, General and Administrative , Operations, Job Cost Records

The “Past Performance” Challenge

Establishing FAR and CAS Compliant Small Business Systems

DCAA Audits and Small Business Job Cost Accounting Systems

Customer Relations

Customer Relations and Government Personnel Roles

What Small Business Should Know About the FEDBIZOPPS Web Site

Multiple Front Marketing In Small Business Federal Government Contracting

Small Business Set-Aside Designations

SUMMARY

You may wish to download the free book and related documents at the “Box Net” cube in the right margin of this site for further information and live examples:

https://www.smalltofeds.com/2009/09/federal-government-contracting-small.html

Remember, small business federal government contracting is not rocket science – it is taking what you do well in the commercial environment and applying it in a slightly different manner from a business perspective to accommodate the way the federal government does business.”

https://www.smalltofeds.com/2009/09/federal-government-contracting-small.html

GAO Report: Contractors Hid $875 Million In Fraud Through False Company Ownership Shells

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(Illustration: CJ Ostrosky / POGO)

PROJECT ON GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT

“DOD has not historically considered contractor ownership structures in the responsibility determination process, nor has the agency been aware of the extent to which such structures could pose a range of risks.”

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“Contractors using shell companies to hide their ownership are ripping off the Pentagon and endangering national security, according to a sobering report the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released last month.

The report’s focus is U.S. defense contracting, but it deals with a subject that has become a worldwide concern. The problem of companies using what the report calls “opaque ownership” schemes to hide their beneficial owners (the people who actually benefit financially from the company) is an international problem. Opaque, or anonymous, corporate ownership facilitates not only government contracting fraud, but also money launderinghuman trafficking, and terrorism financing.

The GAO reviewed 32 court cases resolved between 2012 and 2018 in which Department of Defense contractors provided false information about their ownership or corporate structure and were accused or found guilty of a litany of misdeeds: price gouging; providing poor-quality goods and services; abusing programs intended for small businesses owned by “service-disabled veterans, women, minorities, or economically and socially disadvantaged individuals;” and improperly disseminating sensitive military information. In typical GAO fashion, the report doesn’t name names. However, from the details it provides, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) was able to track down what appear to be the companies and individuals involved in 21 of the 32 cases. With this information, POGO annotated the case summary table featured in the report:

[See complete report at]: https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2019/12/contractors-use-shell-games-to-hide-owners-cheat-taxpayers/

For instance, one case the report looks at is that of an “ineligible foreign manufacturer that illegally exported sensitive military data and provided defective and nonconforming parts that led to the grounding of at least 47 fighter aircraft.” This appears to reference Allied Components LCC, a military hardware supplier whose owner pleaded guilty in 2013 to providing F-15 fighter aircraft parts that were not only defective but also made in India even though the contract required the parts to be U.S.-made, and to passing along information about nuclear-powered submarines to India without the required government approval.

Altogether, four of the 32 cases involved contractors using U.S.-based shell companies to conceal that the work was really being done by a foreign-based company. Concealing beneficial ownership in this manner increases the chance that “adversaries seeking to act against the government’s interests” will gain access to sensitive government information or installations, according to the report.

A case the GAO cited as an example of contractors inflating prices by concealing their ownership and control of subcontractors is apparently that of Supreme Foodservice, which pleaded guilty in 2014 to major fraud against the United States and paid a total of $434 million in penalties. And the unnamed contractor executives who admitted to “creating fictitious, inflated bids that were not from actual businesses” and fraudulently inflating invoices is an unmistakable reference to Glenn Defense Marine Asia and the massive “Fat Leonard” Navy contract corruption scandal.

The most rampant form of abuse documented in the report—accounting for 20 of the 32 cases—is contractors falsely posing as being eligible for contracts set aside for small businesses owned by “service-disabled veterans, women, minorities, or economically and socially disadvantaged individuals.” The report describes what POGO determined is likely a recent case involving a Kansas City, Missouri-area construction company owner who was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year for falsely claiming the company was managed by a service-disabled veteran in order to win more than $13.7 million in contracts.

And in one instance, an individual debarred from federal contracting got around his debarment by creating shell companies under the names of relatives and fictitious people. He was convicted of fraud and sent to prison, but not before selling the Pentagon $2.8 million in defective parts for airplanes. Suspended and debarred contractors getting around their bans through opaque ownership structures has long been an area of concern for POGO.

The GAO estimates the government’s losses from the 32 cases total over $875 million ($200 million of which comes from just one small business set-aside fraud case). In addition, there is the potential nonmonetary harm to U.S. national security, and all of this could be just the tip of the iceberg. As the report states, “There may be additional fraud or other risks and cases related to contractor ownership that are presently undiscovered fraud and are not identified in our report.”

The problem of opaque contractor ownership structures can be addressed by a series of common sense reforms. The easiest one, which the GAO recommends, is for the Pentagon to conduct a systematic “department-wide assessment of risks posed by contractor ownership.”

Performing this assessment would give the Pentagon and the other agencies a greater awareness of the potential harms of anonymous company ownership, which would hopefully cause contracting officials to more carefully vet contractors’ ownership and financial structures during the pre-award evaluation process.

POGO has two additional reform recommendations that will be a much heavier lift. First, the government must revamp the system for reporting contractor ownership information. Companies wishing to do business with the government register in a database called the System for Award Management. However, the system currently doesn’t require the disclosure of beneficial owners; instead, contractors are only required under law to disclose their “highest-level” and “immediate” owners. Subcontractors are not required to register. Any company that receives federal funds—from a prime contractor to the lowest-tier subcontractor—should be required to register and disclose their beneficial owners. And the system must be audited periodically to ensure the data is timely and accurate.

Second, a centralized database of corporate beneficial ownership information would greatly help government contracting officials identify and verify contractors’ real owners. There is currently an effort underway to lay the groundwork for such a database as part of a growing worldwide campaign to impose greater transparency on corporations. The government should do all it can to support this effort.”

https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2019/12/contractors-use-shell-games-to-hide-owners-cheat-taxpayers/

Seven Management Techniques to Achieve That First Government Contract

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Image: Medium

MEDIUM” By Ken Larson

One of the many challenges for a small business in government contracting is achieving that first major contract. 

Try combining a well written business plan with the aggressive marketing campaign approaches here to develop Your Government Contracting Business Plan .

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“A small business entering the field does not have a government contract past performance record to include in proposals to federal agencies. At the onset, the only qualifications that can be referenced are commercial successes and the individual expertise and qualifications of the owner (s), employees and management.
Past Performance Challenge

Here are seven small business management techniques to assist in achieving that first government contract:

1. Contingent Hire Agreements — Recruit prospective employees and associates who have previously worked in businesses that have contracted with the government. Such individuals bring expertise and qualifications with them and lend credibility to your enterprise.

A contingent hire agreement is one way to approach an experienced employee with the prospect of joining your firm at a later time when the business base is there to permit professional advancement. Under such an agreement the prospective employee agrees to contribute time and effort on a proposal for a new contract and is assured on paper by your company of a position on the project when it is awarded to your firm.

Such arrangements are generally recognized by the government as a credible way for new or start-up businesses to grow and agencies will accept resumes of experienced professionals in proposals from small business contractors with signed contingent hire agreements even though the personnel may not yet be on the company payroll.

Prospective employees of this type are often available from the retired or downsized ranks of prime contractors. Be aware that government procurement integrity regulations apply. Individuals should not be considered who have a potential conflict of interest in the project you are bidding due to a former association with the buying agency in a source selection authority role as specified in FAR Section 3.104.

You can download a recommended draft shell for a contingent hire agreement from the right margin of this site at the BOX “References” cube or at the following link: Contingent Hire Agreement

2. Seek government solicitations for taking over incumbent work forces. In some cases the government designates base operations contracts, system support contracts and other service contracts at military installations or federal agency locations as small business set-asides. In certain of these contracts the services may have been performed until now by a large corporation which is no longer eligible to compete due to the small business designation of the current procurement. The employees of this large company become available for recruitment since they will lose their jobs at the location if they do not join the winning company. These individuals have built-in technical expertise on the project and government contracting backgrounds. Acquiring an Incumbent Work Force

3. Build government contract business system infrastructure such as estimating, pricing, proposal preparation, long-range planning and job cost accounting processes. These processes are particularly important if you do not qualify to sell under FAR Part 12, “Commercial Contracting” and you are in the services business. Having these key elements in place enables your company to bid large scale jobs consistently and to forecast, estimate and account for new government business. They also permit the company to pass site surveys and audits by DCAA and DCMAO in connection with proposals and contract awards. Having key infrastructure in place creates a favorable impression to prime contractors and other prospective teaming partners. Framework for Government Contract Business System

4. Team with large business contractors who have experience in the government contracting field. As part of such teaming arrangements they may be willing to trade-off their expertise and assistance for your particular technical skills and your small business participation as a subcontractor on new contracts. Remember large government contracting businesses are required to submit and perform to annual plans or buying from small business to the government. Failure to do so can jeopardize their current government contracts or place in danger the award of a project where a small business plan is required.

You have motivated large business prospective partners available to you in the government contracting community. Protect yourself with proprietary data agreements and insure that your company’s work scope for a given project is well defined in a thorough written teaming agreement. Large businesses will respect you for your professionalism when you demand a formal business approach. Teaming in Government Contracting

5. Submit and negotiate a General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule. Pre-establishing pricing and terms and conditions with the GSA lends credibility to your enterprise. Schedule periods can last from 5–10 years and simplify buying for your prospective government customers They can have confidence that the GSA has reviewed and determined that your rates are reasonable and they can be assured that the terms and conditions of your schedule have met the approval of the GSA. All they need to do is place a funded delivery order request for the supplies or services with the GSA against your schedule, negotiate the technical statement of work and delivery requirements with you and the deal is done. You can read more about pursing a GSA schedule at: Achieving a GSA Schedule

6. Pursue contracts which are set-aside for small business enterprises. If you are a woman-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned or disabled veteran-owned business, seek government business solicitations which have been set aside with these designations. It is more likely that you will be competing against enterprises at that same developmental stage as your company by taking this approach.

If you are a small business with no other set-aside designations, seek teaming arrangements as a subcontractor with minority-owned, veteran-owned or women-owned businesses. 51% of a project (work scope, dollars and hours) must go to such designated businesses under such arrangements, but your part of the program is still significant and earns past performance credit. Your team members will not usually be your direct competitors but will be involved in lines of work that usually complement your business and enable the team to fulfill a scope that is larger than any single member could undertake alone. Teaming arrangements can result in winning larger jobs that can span a number of years in duration and mean good, solid cash flow for all participants.

7. Self-market to federal agencies with your capabilities statement and ideas for government programs. If you are a Minority-owned 8(a) or a Hub Zone-located small business, a government agency can sole source a procurement to you without competition under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Even if you are not an 8(a) or Hub Zone firm, self-marketing has tremendous potential. There are over 50 federal government agencies with facilities, bases, locations and offices housing contracting officers and buyers all over the United States. Find the nearest locations to you via the agency search filters at FEDBIZOPPS and send them a capabilities statement with a request for a meeting with their small business liaison officer. Your Capability Statemenr

Federal agencies are required by statute to meet with you. Once you are there find out the names and contact information of their technical management authorities who define requirements for acquisitions. Determine what the agency needs through research with the technical decision makers and on the web. Most agencies forecast their long range plans at sites available to the public. Define a creative project in terms of meeting your client’s needs and offer it to the agency points of contact as a prospective set-aside contract.

If the agency posts your self-marketed project for competition, you will still be in the driver’s seat during the proposal stage, having developed the concept and positioned yourself well ahead of your prospective competitors in terms of a solution with your customer. You may well have convinced the agency to set the program aside for a small business category in which you qualify Small Business :Set-aside :Designations . That leg up cannot be achieved after a solicitation has been posted to :FEDBIZOPPS.

SUMMARY:

Try combining a well written business plan with an aggressive marketing campaign and the seven approaches outlined above. Your Government Contracting Business Plan .

Entering government contracting as a small businesses is indeed a challenging time, but there are many opportunities awaiting you. Capitalize on those opportunities and win your first federal government contract.”

https://www.smalltofeds.com/2007/01/seven-management-techniques-to-assist.html

About The Author:

Image result for Ken Larson smalltofeds

Ken Larson is the Founder of “Small to Feds” and a SCORE and Micro Mentor Volunteer Counselor

Are You Driving the Tools And Not The Car In Launching Your Small Business?

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“SMALLTOFEDS”  By Ken Larson    https://www.smalltofeds.com

There is a new kind of monkey these days –  the technology monkey. That sucker will bury us if we don’t learn to deal with him.

As a small business counselor I have noticed there seems to be a belief that automation, the Internet and social networking can make the business succeed when in fact the real design of the enterprise itself is lacking (niche, market base, business plan, competitive analysis and financial forecasting).

I hear from many clients who ask, “What Now?” having launched an enterprise that is going nowhere because they are driving the tools and not the car. I take them back to the garage; design the auto to see if it can run and then apply the wrenches retroactively if that is possible. It is usually a traumatic experience and could have been avoided with strategic and business planning before launch. Below is a simple test to develop your potential idea for a business.

1. Do you have a product or service niche in mind?

2. Do you believe you have a market for 1 above and the means to reach it?3.

3. If the answer to the above questions is “Yes”,use the below planning aids to design your business vehicle and the road map you intend to follow on your journey:

General Planning Considerations

Market Research Guidance

Free Sample Business Plans

When you have completed the above definition and planning process you will then be in a position to astutely select the tools you wish to use along the way and apply them successfully.

You will be able to network your vehicle, pick up riders as industry partners, and attract revenue fuel in the form of customers by marketing and social networking based on the thorough definition and content of your business plan.

In short, don’t let technology make a monkey out of you and your idea as well as raid your treasury before you launch.  tech monkey Define your business vehicle and its journey first. Then pick the right technology tools to make a successful trip.

Washington Technology 2019 Small Business “Fast 50”

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Image: INC Magazine

“WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGY

“Ranking of the fastest-growing small businesses in the government market puts a spotlight on the diversity of the small business community.

Companies on the 2019 edition of the Fast 50 represent the full spectrum of capabilities, technologies and customers that make up the GovCon market.

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“To be considered for the Fast 50, companies submitted their revenue data for years 2013 through 2018. We then calculate the compound annual growth rates for that five-year period.

Companies are ranked according to their compound annual growth rate, not total revenue.

Explore the list and learn more about these companies. Also look for more analysis of the rankings and profiles of the companies in the coming days and weeks.

CLICK HERE to see the 2019 Washington Technology Fast 50.”

https://washingtontechnology.com/blogs/editors-notebook/2019/10/2019-fast-50-intro.aspx

Small Businesses Sought For Space Accelerator Program

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Image: “i stock

NATIONAL DEFENSE MAGAZINE

The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate is reaching out to small businesses to explore space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies.

The organization offers a 12-week program that connects businesses with the military and subject matter experts in areas such as finance and law.

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“The service is looking for companies that can fill technology gaps by working alongside the Catalyst Space Accelerator program, which is a public-private partnership. KiMar Gartman, director of the accelerator, said the research lab is interested in systems such as space-based sensors that can discriminate between different objects.

This [the program] helps companies determine if their technologies would be able to meet the needs of potential customers, she noted. The program will culminate in a demonstration day for vendors to show their products to investors, such as the other military services.

“It just helps them to get an idea of whether or not their technology is relevant to the problem statement — those commercially and in the DoD,” she said. “We try to bring in the Army, the Navy [and] other Air Force units that would have interest in the technology.”

The goal is to have eight companies participate in the upcoming accelerator, which is scheduled for September, Gartman said. The next demonstration day is slated for November. The events are held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which is “one of the hubs of space,” Gartman said.

“We’re able to bring in all of these potential customers from the [military] bases and … [other] entities that are located right in the Colorado Springs area,” she said.

Connections made through the program could potentially result in federal grants, contracts or other transaction authority agreements, she noted.

“These companies can start applying for those [small business innovation research grants] and there seems to be more interest because they’ve gone through an accelerator,” she said.

Past event topics have included positioning, navigation and timing, and resilient commercial space communication, she noted. For the upcoming accelerator, the program will exclude ground-based technologies.

“We figured if we included ground-based, we’re going to get a lot of the same companies that we had in the last two,” she said. “[We] felt it would just be too broad of a swipe.

They were wanting to narrow it down a little bit.”

Candidates for the program are recruited through sources such as social media, websites and conferences, she noted.”

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2019/8/15/small-businesses-sought-for-space-accelerator-program