This is a guest post by Jon Williams, Partner, PilieroMazza PLLC
As a small business contractor, your small business status is one of your most important assets. Maintaining your small business status opens up set-aside contracting opportunities, it is a condition of eligibility for the various SBA procurement programs, and it also allows you to avoid certain reporting and other requirements that apply to large businesses. Small business status matters to large businesses as well, who depend on smaller firms to meet subcontracting plan requirements and to open up opportunities for teaming and joint ventures on set-aside projects.
In short, size matters for government contractors. It is therefore critical to ensure you understand how the SBA determines small business status.
Small business status is first judged by a fairly straight-forward assessment of annual revenue or number of employees, depending on the industry. From there, determining size can get significantly more complicated if a firm has affiliates. Affiliation may cause a company that is small on its own to be deemed “other than small” and, thus, ineligible for the various benefits available to small businesses in federal contracting. Affiliation can ruin small business status in this manner because the SBA lumps your annual revenue or number of employees together with the revenue or employees of your affiliates when determining if your company qualifies as small.
At its most basic level, affiliation is about control. In assessing whether a business has affiliates, the SBA is looking to see whether one firm has the power to control another, or if a third firm has the power to control both. Control can be affirmative or negative, and it does not matter if control is exercised so long as the power to control exists. An affiliate can be any business entity, whether for profit or non-profit, domestic or foreign. Affiliation can be ongoing or specific to one contract, and, in either event, affiliation is determined at a specific point in time (generally the date you submit your initial offer with price or application for a set-aside program).
The SBA’s affiliation rules explain that affiliation may arise in several scenarios. For example, affiliation may occur because of common ownership or common management between two or more firms. Affiliation may also arise based on close family member who control multiple firms, economic dependency or financial assistance between businesses, or numerous contracts performed together. One of the more popular forms of affiliation alleged in size protests is ostensible subcontractor affiliation. This form of affiliation is contract-specific and arises based on how a prime contractor and subcontractor have structured their relationship for a particular project. And when all else fails, the SBA’s rules provide a catchall to find affiliation under “the totality of the circumstances.”
Our firm recently gave a webinar explaining the different affiliation rules in more detail. We also discussed common pitfalls and ways to mitigate or avoid affiliation. The link below will take you to our resources page where you can download the slides or listen to the audio from the webinar. If you participate in set-aside programs and contracts, whether as a small or large business, I recommend that you check out the webinar so you will have a better understanding of how to avoid losing your small business status due to affiliation.
Direct link to download the PowerPoint slides: Understanding the SBA’s Affiliation Rules
You can also watch the presentation on video here:
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Congressman Gerry Connolly (who happens to be the representative of my local area) have proposed draft legislation that would overhaul how the federal government develops its IT projects.
Let’s look at the two key things they’re trying to do, and then tackle the third issue of how they’re proposing to pay for it.
First, they want to create an office within the Executive Office of the President (EOP), which would basically review major IT plans. Currently, every IT expenditure above a certain cost or that has mission critical importance falls under a requirement to have budgetary line items established well in advance and placed in a portfolio system called Exhibit 300. From the OMB website: “Under the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, agencies are required to submit business plans for IT investments to OMB that outline the steps they have taken to ensure they have adequately planned each investment to promote success.”
This new legislation will go beyond justifying the money, and get at how you’re actually going to carry out the project. This stems out of the technical problems with the launch of the Healthcare.gov website in October 2013. Healthcare.gov was slated for failure from Day One because the government, which is simply not equipped to do this, tried to do the systems integration. Systems integration is a complicated discipline requiring a lot of knowledge about how to put pieces together. No matter how talented our government IT professionals are, that’s not what they’re about.
The more companies and agencies have to describe and justify the follow-through of what they are planning with their IT ventures, the more likely you are to catch these things in advance. Of course, bureaucracy is a double-edged sword. You’ll catch a few big things and avoid some disasters, but you’ll also create delays and problems in getting numerous other things through.
The second thing this new legislation would do will allegedly be good for small businesses. It will raise the threshold on “streamlined contracting process,” from $150,000-$500,000. (From some people’s perspective this is a really good thing. Not working for a big company, I don’t have the same stake in the game.)
Streamlined acquisition processes are designed essentially to cut away all the wheat and chaff, and come down to what is often a very limited competition. The reason non-streamlined acquisition takes so long is because you have to have all the terms and conditions, and publish to a large community. Even with an IDIQ, a more limited community, it’s still a lot of people. With a streamlined process, you only have to pick two or three bidders, and no one else gets a shot at the job.
Unfortunately, this change is just as likely to produce crony-ism as efficiency. While it’s good to hire the people you know best and trust, are they automatically going to be the best for the job?
We have to realize that a lot of these $500,000 projects represent the bulk of what becomes task orders of IDIQ contracts. So for the big guys who are living off these as task orders, if we force these into the single acquisition process, the large companies will just bundle more work, making these contracts less accessible to small business. There’s always going to be a way for the big businesses to figure out how to keep their work and get around these new ideas. They big guys got big for a reason – they’re successful at doing what it takes to win business.
Lastly, let’s look at how Eshoo and Connolly propose to pay for this new office in the EOP, and that is to “repurpose” surplus GSA fees. Currently, everybody who has a GSA multiple award contract pays GSA a finder’s fee if they get any work out of the contract. GSA goes through the trouble of doing the contracting, the agency orders off that contract, and gives GSA payment in return. However, GSA may go about collecting more money than it costs to execute that particular contract, e.g., there’s a ton of work under IT70, so the money collected from IT70 contractors may in turn be redirected to cover the costs of contracting in an area with fewer transactions.
So while it seems like extra money that’s up for grabs, it’s actually not. The fact is that the GSA has built a structure based on knowing they can move around these excess fees to cover costs for things they need to do – things that Congress has asked them to do. It’s not “free money.” We can’t just use that money without having detrimental effects on something GSA is doing with that money. Something that is currently being supported will no longer be supported.
IT procurement is definitely in need of reform, but in my opinion, so is this bill.
GSA recently released the news that they have canceled the GSA show for the second year in a row. Past shows have peaked at over 10,000 attendees, including agency and military contracting professionals and 1,000 GSA schedule holders featured as vendors in the exhibit hall.
The reason, they say, is “In the current fiscal climate, agencies and businesses alike continue to make tough spending cuts and operate under reduced travel budgets. After careful review of projected attendance and continued travel budget reductions, GSA has made the decision to not hold an Expo in 2014. GSA remains committed to addressing the need for training and will identify the most effective way to offer Expo 2015 to deliver better value and savings for our government partners, our vendors, and the American people.”
So what is a GSA schedule holder to do with the $5,000-$50,000 budgeted on a booth, drayage, 10,000 give-a-ways, travel and time?
Here are a few fresh ideas which could keep your name brand in front of your client – and your message.
- Research where the winners are closing deals, build an action plan and execute it: Instead of waiting until May, when the GSA show normally happened, to build a lead list, why not perform a competitive analysis? A competitive analysis that is based on real contracting data can give you a great picture of what has been happening in your industry, both on GSA schedule and off GSA schedule, who is buying from whom, and where are the hot spots. This way you can focus your efforts on the exact buying offices and agencies who are spending money on your type of product or service. Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, it’s a great benchmarking exercise.You don’t have to wait until May to build an federal sales action plan that will focus your efforts to make the calls, send the emails, perform webinars and present capabilities briefings. Instead of designing a booth and traveling to the show, you will be spending time building relationships with the right clients – right now.Note from Bill: Another option might be local shows in a smaller venue, with fewer attendees but way more focus on exactly what YOU’re selling.
- Build your brand through ethical email blitzing: Instead of spending money on trade show trinkets and literature, consider building a regular, strategic emailing campaign with a weekly article utilizing the latest software and “landing page” techniques. This way, you can track your weekly results, click-through rates, and sales.Note from Bill: Or you could start a technically-oriented blog like this one, and increase your activity on networking sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Building up your “personal brand” as a well-connected and respected expert really goes a long way towards building your credibility and making it quicker and easier for new contacts to trust you.
- Create a video featuring your products, services, best values, and your story: Instead of building a booth this year, develop a video for your website featuring your products and your services. Don’t forget the story of your business, which the government is very much interested in if you are a 8a, SDVOSB, woman-owned, disadvantaged, veteran-owned or HubZone business. When a government employee needs services/products like yours, they can quickly watch a demo of your product or an introduction to your key subject matter experts showing their knowledge, past performance or capabilities!
Consider these three steps in 2014 to focus your sales efforts and overachieve your sales goals without the GSA show. Whether the show comes back in 2015 or not, you’ll be ahead of the game by building a personal relationship with your focused customer base right now. When the big proposal comes out, you have a much higher chance of winning because you know the client and better yet, they know and trust you.
For further information on training, a competitive analysis, a federal sales action plan, an email campaign or a video, contact Eileen Kent, the Federal Sales Sherpa at 312-636-5381. Federal Sales Sherpa is a brand of Custom Keynotes, LLC.
As I mentioned last week in Eileen Kent’s guest post, Don’t Fish Alone in Federal Waters, “Most businesses use consultants at one time or another. It’s helpful to remember that ultimately you’re in charge of your business. To get the most out of your consultants, be very clear about your expectations, deliverables, and success metrics.”
Business development consultants extend your reach. While a full-time employee might be out of your budget right now, it may also be more than you need at this stage. You might just be trying to figure out if there’s really a market there for you. In either case, you can hire a consultant for a very limited engagement and that’s going to be a better fit.
You’re in charge of your business
A consultant should be a person with very specialized knowledge that you’re hiring for that purpose alone. That being said, just because consultants give advice, doesn’t mean you have to listen. But you do have to measure.
They may know this new customer base better than you, but you know your business.
Let’s say a particular customer is very price-conscious, so your consultant goes in and sells your product as if it’s the lowest-priced option around. Well, if your positioning is all about your technical expertise, and how you deliver features others can’t, then selling based on a low price will just set you up for a disconnect down the line.
What to include in a consultant’s contract
It is every consultant’s goal to provide advice that hopefully will lead to revenue, profits, efficiency or something else that will your business. If you don’t define that something before you engage them, and establish how YOU’RE going to measure whether or not they achieved that goal, then you’re just throwing your money away, and it’s a completely random occurrence whether you’re going to get value or not.
A consulting contract should specify how much is going to be paid, on what basis, how success is measured, and how success is related to the payment. The two most common payment methods are by the hour/day, or a retainer that pays a flat amount of money, usually every month.
You need to be sure that there are termination clauses, and that you have the option to terminate for convenience, i.e., because you just want to do so. That’s the legal terminology for termination that doesn’t have any rationale, versus termination for cause, i.e., because the consultant did something wrong. (By the way, extending similar privileges to the consultant as well gives them the feeling that they can tell the truth – and you really want consultants who tell you what you need to hear, not what they think you want to hear.)
In the federal sector you do have to be careful when you tie accomplishments to payments, because certain forms of commission, while perfectly fine for salesmen, are not okay for federal consultants because of perceived organizational conflict of interest (OCI) issues, and can cause problems with contracts or FAR regulations. Consult a federal legal practice attorney for details. You must be very aware of the rules of the road or you could get yourself into hot water.
At this point you need to establish success metrics – measurable ways for you to identify whether your consultant has, in fact, been successful, and then determine if and how you will tie payments to that.
A common success metric for a business development consultant is how much revenue they brought in, but it’s not the only possibility. You may be looking more for introductions to key contacts, or to build recognition in a particular area. Whichever metric you choose, ask the consultant to report back to you on that.
We’ve talked specifically about business development consultants, but whatever the consultant, the key to remember is that consultants may sometimes tell you things that are not right for you. At those times, you need to be completely aware that you don’t have to take their advice, even if you’ve already paid for it!
This is a guest post by Eileen Kent, Federal Sales Sherpa
Many companies believe that since the government prefers small business that they already have an advantage over the name-brand large businesses, and that’s not the case. In fact, it’s the opposite. The government wants to work with a safe bet. They want to work with a company or product that is proven, at a price they can justify.
Sure they have small business goals to meet, but they’ll never take a chance on a mission – no matter how small – by giving it to a company they don’t know. They’re betting their retirement on the right vendor, so you need to get in there early – and often – and show them why you are the safe bet. From what I have seen, it takes a TEAM of people to develop that trusting brand relationship.
Who should be on your federal sales team?
An experienced guide
You can hire a consultant to train your team and build an action plan, or hire a full-time federal sales expert to take on the government on your behalf.
It’s just like the name of Bill’s blog, The Fish Don’t Jump in the Boat. You need to get out there and fish, but would you buy a boat, buy the equipment and then drop lines wherever? Or would you hire someone who has the experience of leading many fishing expeditions and already KNOWS where the fish are biting, and also has the ability to train your team on the equipment available to catch the right fish for your company?
A consultant can help train you and your team, perform a competitive analysis to uncover where the fish are biting, and then build an action plan around the agency who is most interested in your type of product or service.
[Note from Bill: Most businesses use consultants at one time or another. It’s helpful to remember that ultimately you’re in charge of your business. To get the most out of your consultants, be very clear about your expectations, deliverables, and success metrics.]
An enthusiastic team willing to get out there, drop some lines, and wait
If you don’t have time to perform cold calls, hire persistent and patient sales executives willing to work the phones, the halls, and your federal sales action plan. Unless someone representing you exclusively gets in the field and on the phone, no federal employee is going to give you a shot.
Many small businesses believe that since they have a GSA schedule or a small business set-aside that people will be happy to work 100% commission and sell on their behalf. That’s a pipe dream. There are no 100% commission sales people willing to work exclusively for you to gain government business.
Federal clients take a long time to build relationships – at least six to twelve months – and no savvy federal sales executive will accept a 100% commission job. Prepare your budget to provide a base salary or hourly rate, and then offer a commission to keep them motivated. Think of your sales people as those fishing on your behalf. There’s a waiting game and they have to weather the buying seasons. You need to keep them alive and alert so they can keep selling for you.
This person doesn’t have to be a federal sales expert, as long as they’re willing to hit the phones tirelessly and will report their results. In the beginning, intelligence is money. Require your sales team to report on what they learn. That way you are never left empty-handed in terms of lessons learned every step of the way.
Sales people come and go, but the federal agencies follow buying habits and if your sales people are learning where the fish are biting, they need to be reporting that to you. You want to know what works – and what doesn’t. Empower yourself with an excellent sales action plan and reporting tool and stay on top of the sales team’s lessons learned.
You’re steering the boat, so you need to direct your team where to drop the lines – and then wait.
You won’t win if you go it alone
There’s help out there. You can get free help from public resources like Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (http://www.aptac.org). There is also the SBA. They’ll help with the small business set asides and your registrations (think of it as your fishing license). Remember, a license or registration is just a piece of paper that many other people have – it doesn’t guarantee you’ll catch anything.
If you want to survive and win in the federal marketplace you need guidance from those who have fished before, intelligence about where your fish are biting, and a sales team in place to close the deals.
Eileen Kent is known as the Federal Sales Sherpa. You can contact her at 312-636-5381.
In January 2013, I introduced you to an online resource from the federal government that was designed to equip businesses with the best tools and information available to support innovation and job growth in the 21st century.
Recently I contacted Matt Falls of http://BusinessUSA.gov to find out how the site has evolved since then, and what small business owners need to know about using it effectively.
How has the site been doing? (How many users, visits, etc.)
Users, visits and content subscribers have all grown over 100% in the past fiscal year. See table below for more detailed info.
What response have you had from the people who have used the site?
End users are very enthusiastic, as well as state and local economic development organizations (EDOs). We have had a substantial increases in inbound links from local EDOs over the past year, which has helped in terms of our search rankings.
How are small business owners using the site, and can you share any success stories?
Many small business owners use the site and we have an overwhelming interest from people who want to start a business. As of now, we have no way of tracking success stories. We are working with Presidential Innovation Fellows to develop My USA, which will allow for personalization of BusinessUSA, and, among many other things, will give us the ability to track the progress and successes of end users.
BusinessUSA does publish success stories of its partners, which you can browse here: http://business.usa.gov/search/site/*?f%5B0%5D=bundle%3Asuccess_story
How has the site evolved based on feedback from users and/or new goals or initiatives?
BusinessUSA uses an agile development methodology, which allows the site to evolve based on user feedback. Our technology approach includes the commitments to evolve project priorities based on customer needs and feedback, schedule rapid releases to deliver features and evaluate results, and track issues actively to triage appropriately within resource constraints.
Is there anything else you want small business owners to know about how to use the site?
We have added a direct support feature to BusinessUSA. Businesses can submit a question to BusinessUSA here: http://help.business.usa.gov/ics/support/ticketnewwizard.asp?style=classic&deptID=30030& and it will be answered within two business days.
Businesses can also speak directly to me (Matt Falls) by calling 202-276-3703. I’m happy to discuss any business situation and provide ideas for consideration.
Thanks for the update, Matt! I encourage people to check out the http://BusinessUSA.gov site and make use of its rich collection of resources and direct guidance. You can also follow them on Twitter for news, updates and other tools for your business success.
The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) law contains two provisions to help small businesses contractors. But will they hurt more than they help?
The first issue was that the Small Business Act (passed in 2010), had some differences with the way the Defense Department was implementing small business set-asides, which was allowing large businesses to be subcontractors in a way that was not consistent with the definitions in the Small Business Jobs Act and the NDAA of 2013 (we discussed this subcontracting provision in an earlier post).
So while this may seem obscure, the issue is that in certain circumstances, even a small business set-aside could leave the large subcontractor doing the vast majority of the work. With the 2014 NDAA, Congress has directed the Defense Department to do it the SBA way, not the way that was embodied in the Defense FARs (DFARs).
This forces small businesses to do more of the work when they win a set-aside contract, rather than just “pass it through” to a large business, which was sort of a sham (maybe a shame as well). But overall, this could be a double-edged sword if large businesses bring less work to the small business set-aside process, now that they can’t use these loopholes any more.
Another measure, meant to enhance opportunities for small businesses, allows an incentive for prime federal contractors to consider small firms when they are subcontractors to their 1st tier subcontractors, even if large business. This is very dangerous and let me illustrate why:
Let’s say Big Biz #1 has a requirement to sub out 23% to small businesses on their new contract. They’ve also given Big Biz #2 another 25%, and kept the usual >50% for them selves. Now Big Biz #2 brings in Small Biz #1 as a sub, doing 10% of their work (this might be a building maintenance vendor, or any of a number of service activities).
But now Big Biz #1 gets a credit for the subcontract to Big Biz #2 (10% of 25% = 2.5%), so only 20.5% needs to go to small businesses as 1st tier subs (23% – this new 2.5%). This can easily result in some games being played, whereby I now give Big Biz #2 their 25% + 2.5% = 27.5%.
Big Biz #2 gets a bigger share and everyone is happy, except less direct work is being done by small businesses. This could lead to some interesting anomalies, especially in revenue – Big Biz #2 could literally get 50% of the revenue, give 46% to Small Biz #1, and no direct sub to Big Biz #1 is a small business!
To me, this is not a good thing, and will hurt reporting as well.
You can read more about NDAA provisions on the Fierce Government blog at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/ndaa-provisions-help-small-business-secure-contracts/2014-01-02#ixzz2qxtZrRhd
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 was signed into law on December 26, 2013, representing the first time in five years that we’ve had a full-out federal budget. The reason that’s a particularly good thing is because when there is a continuing resolution, the government just maintains current status quo operations. This gives them time to get agreements passed or legislation, but allows for no new projects, new starts, or new functions performed. This puts a lot of pressure on people, because it may mean that old tech and old systems can’t be replaced.
This budget restores some of the sequestration cuts. The off-setting revenue side for the spending cuts that were returned into the budget represent things that were more long-term, such as tax effects and fees and so forth, but fundamentally we were able to increase the budget, which means in this case restore cuts that were made from the sequestration law. Obviously this is a good thing for everybody.
As well, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2014) has a couple of new things that go along with our previous discussion about the 2013 NDAA. There were two major sections that were designed for small business. First, there was a crackdown on rerouting work that had been in the small business program to large businesses. This is particularly important because many small business contracts turn into large business contracts when the original company that had the contract grows beyond the SBA size standards.
It’s understandable that the company wants to keep their contract, and I have much empathy for companies experiencing the growing pains of entering the mid-tier phase. However, rerouting that work represents the loss of opportunity for other small businesses, with one less set-aside contract that’s out there.
Second, the NDAA provides additional incentives for prime contractors that give subcontracts to small businesses. I’ll address this topic more in a future post.
In August 2013, the Mid-Tier Advocacy presented a report to the Small Business Committee of the Senate about SBA’s methodology for setting the upper limits on how big a business can be and still be considered small. Most of these sizes are denominated in revenue, e.g., a 3-year average not to exceed $X-million. A few codes are designated in employee count, and these have almost always remained constant, since salaries track along the way.
When these were revised by the SBA most recently, the vast majority of NAICS codes increased dramatically, and many doubled. So for example, the administrative categories mostly went from $7 million to $14 million, and the same for program management. In fact, of the 38 NAICS codes increased, 27 of those size standards increased by more than 50 percent.
Information technology (IT) categories, on the other hand, went from $25 million to just $25.5 million. I wrote in an earlier post about the impact SBA’s new size standards would have on small IT businesses.
It’s not just the size standards that are working against small IT businesses. There is another factor at play. When I started in the industry 25-30 years ago, CACI (a large IT and government contracting business) had revenues of $250-$300 million. The small business size standard at the time was $21 million for IT companies. So the ratio was between 10:1 to 15:1 between the biggest small business and a decent-sized large business.
Today, the small business size standards have gone up to $25.5 million, which is a roughly 20% increase. CACI saw $3.8B in FY 2012 revenue, a 10x increase. And so now the ratio between CACI (a big business, but not a giant) is not 10:1, but 100:1, and that’s an enormous magnitude of difference in size. Mind you, the issue is not that CACI has grown (as a former employee, I’m proud to see their success), but that the small business size standard has not kept pace.
So we have two factors that are having a negative impact on small IT businesses: First, the SB size standard didn’t change at the same pace as all the other codes, and second, large IT businesses are growing at a far faster pace than the size standard is growing. These two things put tremendous pressure on companies that graduate.
It’s one thing for any of us small business owners to imagine our business going from earning $20 million to $200 million, but to see a path from $20 million to $2 billion is just not as easily in the cards. That’s why when so many small businesses graduate by growing beyond the size standard, they divert and sell out because they can’t see how they can compete with the big guys.
That’s what Mid-Tier Advocacy is committed to address. Visit their site to find out more you can get involved and make a difference for your business and all mid-tier businesses.
On December 19, 2013, I gave a presentation with my wife Louisa L. Jaffe, TAPE CEO and President, for the NCMA Small Business Virtual Conference. It was a topic close to our hearts, since we ourselves have experienced the reality of growing beyond the shelter of small business set asides, and being forced to compete with very large companies in our industry.
Here are the key points we shared in our presentation:
What it was like
In the past, when small businesses graduated, they often received five-year contracts that extended beyond their eligibility, often called “graduation gifts.” This is no longer the case – today’s small business environment has been affected by changes which impact that process:
- The rules on “novation” (technical term for when a new company takes over a contract) affect the small business contract size standard
- Recertification rules (due to these, assets are worth less and the larger business becomes less interested because they may not be able to win task orders and/or the work is now less valuable)
What gives small businesses the edge
- It’s about your local relationships
- Your advantage is your history and relationship with your customer – he/she knows you!
- You know your customer’s hot buttons
- You have a one-on-one relationship
- You are familiar with your customer’s budget, pricing, and strategy
- You may be able to shape and grow your Statement of Work (SOW)
- The big companies have no advantage over you in terms of one-on-one relationships, except that they can talk to 10,000 people at the same time
The requirements and expectations of a small business
- The small business advocates are required to be 1102s (contract people)
- It is to your advantage to develop relationships with small business advocates
- Local/potential small business persons
- This community influences the small business size standard
- Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR)
- This community sets requirements for the work
- They can answer your questions
- Prepare your company
- Adapt to the way IDIQs are structured
- You need to be prepared to be a good sub as a now large business
- As a graduated or mid-tier business, your place at the table is that of a sub. The reality is that you simply aren’t big enough to win the task orders which are typically reserved for big jobs
- This is the small business edge that continues after you graduate
- Adapt to the way IDIQs are structured
- The last few contracts you won over the past few years give you momentum to carry you forward into the full/open world
- When you become a bigger small business, smaller businesses are your friends – cultivate these relationships
- Little businesses should also become friends with other small businesses
Keeping customers in the LPTA world
- As we discussed earlier on this blog, you can help encourage customers to develop appropriate, technically acceptable criteria to ensure that they get what they want and what they are looking for
- Ensure those standards are reviewed and discussed between all stakeholders
- Speak up about LPTA, when appropriate
Sub vs. prime – Help make everyone a success!
As a sub, the relationships you have to build are with potential primes and government agency customers. There is a lot you can do to be a good sub.
When you’re the prime, identify subs as stakeholders, and be sure to remember that small businesses are your friends.
There are advocacy organizations that exist which recognize advanced small businesses and the growing gap of those who have graduated, but are not yet big businesses, to address issues such as:
- There is no glide path after graduation (the government will not help)
- The whole world of IDIQs exists because task orders take 20% of time of regular competition
- The way multiple MA-IDIQs are currently structured, mid-tier businesses lose out to big businesses on the IDIQs
Louisa and I thoroughly enjoyed presenting this material at the NCMA conference (if you missed it, you can purchase a downloadable recording of the entire event). Stay tuned for news of other upcoming presentations about small business issues in the federal contracting world.