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Myra Cisse is the owner of Certification Consultants LLC and the founder of 8aTheEasyWay.com. Her company assists women, minority and veteran business owners obtain certifications necessary to compete in the federal marketplace. Myra majored in Finance at the University of South Carolina and worked in the banking industry for over 20 years. In August 2010, she obtained her MBA from Georgia State University. She spent the last 6 years of her banking career working exclusively with business owners. As a career banker, Myra has in depth knowledge of the banking industry, in general, and SBA, in particular, having closed millions of dollars of SBA loans. She is now combining her decades of industry experience, 6 years of SBA experience and her education to provide a much needed service to business owners. Myra conducts monthly workshops about 8(a) and other certifications in the Metro Atlanta area. To get your free 8(a) tools and to receive informative weekly articles answering the most pressing questions about Women, Minority and Veteran certifications, visit the website.Read More
Renee Milton is CEO/Founder of Government Procurement Solutions, a company dedicated to helping businesses understand and achieve government work. She is a proposal consultant and 20 year veteran of local government contracting as a buyer for the City of Chicago and Cook County.Read More
Most agencies will talk to you about the benefits of Government contracting, but very few will actually point out the most challenging aspects of this venture and how to overcome them. Ask some of the most successful contractors, and they will tell you that their Government contracting endeavours had their fair share of flaws.
Making mistakes in Government contracting is completely acceptable. Not learning from them is what jeopardizes your business and pushes it to the back of the line. It is a highly competitive, rigorous and complex market that requires the utmost expertise, dedication and perseverance. Without these, you cannot possibly hope to attain a modicum of success in the field of Government contracting.
As mentioned before, learning from the mistakes made is key to surviving and thriving in the Government contracting business. When you commit a mistake, you should be quick to acknowledge it, understand it and respond to it with the necessary adjustments and changes. This is how you develop your contracting skills and put yourself in a more advantageous position the next time around.
The following are three of the most costly mistakes that contractors have made in Government contracting. Acquaint yourself with these fatal mistakes so that you can avoid them and have a smoother run in this field.
1) Making Your Business Look Risky
What does a risky business look like? Well to begin with, a risky business is one that has no praiseworthy or laudable track record. When you have no customers that you can refer to, you are running a risky business. The lack of a bank account, credit history, website or social media page are all indicators of a business that does not have a guaranteed existence, let alone guaranteed success.
You need to understand that contracting officers are trained to select the crème of the crop, which certainly does not include businesses that are under the risk of extinction. In other words, the motto of Government contracting (from the Government’s perspective) is to choose the option that has the lowest risk factor.
Now that you know the requirement of the contracting officers, it is on your shoulders to ensure that you lower the risks as much as possible. The lower the risk factor of your company is, the better will be your chances of being acknowledged and approved by the Government officials. To make sure that you look credible, the first course of action that you need to take is be registered in the Central Contractor Registry or CCR. This is the simplest way of securing the legal basics. Once that is done, you can focus on increasing your reputation by opening up a website, social media page, a professional email account using your website’s name and everything else that will add a greater degree of credibility to your company.
2) Not Understanding the Language
It does not matter whether you are at the local city level, the state level or the Federal Government level, every section has a language of its own, along with individual procedures and processes. If you expose your inability to understand the conversation, procedures or acronyms, you endanger your chances of ever making it up the Government contracting ladder.
At every new meeting, outreach session and conference that you attend, you will come across a host of new terms and acronyms that you have probably never heard of before. It is your responsibility to jot down these words and become familiar with them as soon as possible. This is how you learn the lingo and enhance your command over the language.
3) Being Unprepared
A lack of preparation before asking for and meeting with decision makers makes you appear as a careless and unprofessional organization that does not fully comprehend the value of research. You will be provided with abundant background information by the Federal Government entities, but at the same time, you need to do your homework to be able to analyze the information that you have been presented with.
This is where business philosophy comes into play. Having data on your table cannot be regarded as knowledge. It is only when you assess and analyze the data that you acquire knowledge. Without ample knowledge of the subject, your preparation with the decision makers will always remain incomplete.
If you avoid these fatal mistakes, you will be doing yourself a world of favour in the field of Government contracting. These tips can lay the foundation for a healthy, well oiled and stable Government contracting business.
The general perception towards Government contracting is that it puts businesses, especially small businesses in a very complicated and intimidating environment. This perception is not a completely misguided one. Without the expertise and assistance of people who are knowledgeable in the field of Government contracting, small businesses can lose their way and end up with a truck load of problems to deal with. Government contracting can be particularly dangerous to the fiscal property of small businesses, but with that being said the rewards on offer of Government contracting are too lucrative to be dismissed by any small business.
Most of the small businesses do not have a clear understanding of how Government contracting can actually benefit their company. Much of this confusion can be blamed on a lack of sufficient knowledge about the effects of Government contracting on the small business sector. Once you are acquainted with impact that Government contracting has on your industry, you will find it easier to be receptive to the idea of bringing your company under the fold of Government contracting. Here are 5 notable ways in which Government contracting influences the small business sector in the United States of America.
1) Procurement Reform
Facilitating Federal procurement was one of the key objectives of Vice President Gore’s National Performance Review Report that was revealed approximately 20 years ago. The main focus of the Vice President was to form a government that works more efficiently and requires less money to be operational. Almost 400 recommendations were made by the report to improve the state of the Federal Government while uplifting the quality of the Government services to the citizens of the nation. This eventually led to the procurement form legislation that will alter the Federal procurement process once and for all.
Currently, plenty of changes are being anticipated in the current Senate Procurement bill. One change in particular is aimed specifically at small business provisions in an attempt to encourage bids by small companies who are at a clear disadvantage from the big hounds in the industry.
2) National Performance Review (NPR)
Government contracting will have a massive impact on Information Technology. The National Performance Review is expected to generate more than $10 billion in new business opportunities. This provides small businesses with a golden opportunity to climb up the ranks by making use of the new funds that are allocated for them. The reason why the Government is so interested in outsourcing its services through small businesses is because they believe that small business can greatly contribute to increasing the productivity and effectiveness of Federal workforce.
3) Health Care Reform
Regardless of which Administration is at the helm, a health care reform is almost always around the corner. Although the details are hardly ever revealed in their entirety, but there is still enough information for marketing research firms to predict that a window of opportunity will be opened that will benefit businesses involved in imaging, data entry technologies, ID cards/smart cards, multimedia and business process re-engineering.
4) Proposal Quality
There is good news for entrepreneurs who are worried about the disparity between the quality of the proposal and the quality of the work performed by the contractor. A RFP that was published a few years ago stated the following in section M “Selection Criteria”, “”The offeror’s ability to follow the proposal instructions set forth in the solicitation will also be considered to be an indication of the offeror’s ability to follow instructions should they be awarded a contract as a result of this solicitation” . In simple words, if you are willing to live by the words you mentioned in the proposal during your application as a contractor, then the Government will definitely look after you in the best way possible.
5) Quicker and Shorter Technology Equipment Buys
The internal policy document of the Government states that the time-frame of performance of Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) hardware buys has been shortened considerably. The duration of 5 years before, has been altered to 2 years now. Furthermore the size of the contracts has been noticeably reduced as well. On paper this may smell like trouble, but in reality, it creates far more opportunities for small businesses than ever before. There will now be more room for solicitations and potential contract negotiations which will put your small company in the driving seat during Government contracting.
Now is a better time than ever to get involved in Government contracting. Seize the opportunity before time runs out in this ever changing global economy.