Business owner says soliciting government business worth the hassle

April 14, 2014 by

[Note: This article was written by Michelle Shoultz, president of Florida-based Frazier Engineering.]

For more than 20 years, Frazier Engineering had a strong commercial and municipal/county government customer base that comfortably sustained our small business.

But as the economy changed, we knew we had to change.

We decided to pursue unique certifications that would enable us to compete for federal work in a smaller competitive pool certifications such as 8(a), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/DBE and Minority Business Enterprise/MBE).

Through the Small Business Administration 8(a) program, we were given opportunities that we would not have had before. However, if we did not already have the knowledge and manpower to support the requirements of those opportunities, our certification would only have been as good as the paper it was printed on. Our success to date has been the result of a solid team, being financially and technically sound, having a strong work history, and being actively responsive.

I’d like to share some lessons we’ve learned over time.

As a small-to-midsize, growing business leader, I would definitely recommend the time and effort involved in pursuing government contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.floridatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/04/01/business-money-edge-chamber/7146529/ 

 

A checklist for negotiating government cloud service contracts

April 7, 2014 by

Government agencies at the federal and state level are lured to cloud computing by the promise of cost savings and expanded services. But there are also risks associated with moving operations and applications to the cloud.

A recent report by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looks at contracting issues that government agencies face with adopting cloud services. The report was written for the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

“As with any form of government contracting, there are risks to be considered,” notes an article at Governing. “Do governments lose control over their data? Do they risk losing access to it? Are they locked into a single vendor? The key to success is writing and negotiating a strong contract.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercecio.com/story/checklist-negotiating-government-cloud-service-contracts/2014-02-28 

GAO: Price revisions allowed in final price revisions unless expressly limited

April 4, 2014 by

According to the GAO, an offeror may revise its price as part of a final proposal revision, unless the procuring agency expressly limits the scope of proposal revisions.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the agency properly accepted the awardee’s revised price because agency had not limited the scope of discussions so as to exclude price revisions.

The GAO’s decision in Medical Receivables Solution, B-409358 (Mar. 19, 2014) involved a Army 8(a) set-aside solicitation for medical records coding services.  Award was to be made to the lowest-priced, technically acceptable (LPTA) offeror.

After evaluating initial proposals, the Army established a competitive range of six offerors.  The Army then conducted written discussions with offerors concerning the specific weaknesses and deficiencies in their proposals.  The Army’s discussion letter asked each offeror to address its identified weaknesses and deficiencies and submit a final proposal revision, highlighting all changes.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/gao-price-revisions-allowed-in-fprs-unless-expressly-limited/ 

Here’s who won federal contracts in Georgia in March 2014

April 1, 2014 by

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download details on the award winners for March 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – MARCH 2014

Winners of federal contracts earlier this year may be found at the links below:

For information on Georgia businesses that won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

Past performance: Agency reasonably considered quantity

March 21, 2014 by

An agency reasonably considered the quantity of offerors’ relevant past performance, even though the solicitation only stated that the relevance and quality of past performance would be considered.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the quantity of an offeror’s past performance is logically encompassed within a review of the quality of past performance, and need not be separately identified as an area of evaluation.

The GAO’s decision in A&D General Contracting, Inc., B-409296 (Feb. 24, 2014) involved an Army Corps of Engineers solicitation for services to support military construction and repair projects.  The solicitation was issued as a small business set-aside.  Evaluation was to follow a two-phase process.  In the first phase, the Corps would consider past performance and technical approach.  The most highly rated proposals would be invited to participate in phase two.

The solicitation stated that offerors’ past performance would be evaluated for relevance and quality.  In this regard, offerors were instructed to provide up to five examples of their recent, relevant projects.  The solicitation stated that the Corps would assign an overall performance confidence assessment rating based on the overall relevance and quality of the offeror’s past performance.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/past-performance-agency-reasonably-considered-quantity

8(a) Task Orders: No Automatic Size Recertifications

March 20, 2014 by

Submitting a proposal for a task order under an 8(a) Government Wide Acquisition Contract does not result in automatic recertification of the offeror’s small business size status.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that unless the Contracting Officer expressly requires recertification, an offeror’s size for an 8(a) set-aside task order is governed by that offeror’s size status for the underlying GWAC.

SBA OHA’s decision in Size Appeal of Reliasource, SBA No. SIZ-5536 (2014involved a Homeland Security RFQ for IT support services.  The RFQ stated that DHS intended to award the contract as a task order under the 8(a) STARS II GWAC.  The RFQ was set aside for 8(a) participants under NAICS code 541513.

After evaluating quotations, the Contracting Officer announced that KNEWEBS, Inc., d/b/a Consulting Services Inc. was the apparent awardee.  An unsuccessful offeror, Reliasource, filed a SBA size protest.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/sbaohadecisions/8a-task-orders-no-automatic-size-recertifications 

4 to-do’s for small biz success

March 17, 2014 by

You probably thought it was tough being a small contractor before lowest price contracting, strategic sourcing, and the budget crunch, right?

Well, add on to those conditions that primes are giving less business to subs and that fewer contracts overall are being awarded.

Ouch!

What’s a small contractor to do?

Here are a few things you need to do, and some things you need to consider.

First, differentiate or die. Understand what your core strength is (preferably one the market wants) and lead with it. HingeMarketing.com has some really good information on differentiation and I will produce a seminar on differentiation in June. Understand how it is done and how it is communicated.

Second, understand how the government buys what you sell. Many assume a GSA schedule is the gateway, but this is not always the case, and is becoming less so. The schedules are not growing, and GSA is restricting the number of vendors on several schedules. Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition has been pushing simplified acquisitions (SAP) for a couple years. Maybe it’s time to take a good look at other contractual vehicles.

Third, determine the path of least resistance for growth. If you have a foothold in one agency, it is always better to grow your business where they know you rather than to chase the rainbow of other agencies. It is always easier to sell where you and your company are known, and most federal agencies are large enough for you to expand your foothold into a strong base.

Keep reading this article at: http://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2014/03/14/insights-amtower-small-biz.aspx 

Here’s who won federal contracts in Georgia in February 2014

March 4, 2014 by

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download the award winners for February 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – FEB. 2014

Last month’s contract award winners are posted here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – JAN. 2014

For information on Georgia businesses that won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

 

 

Outside relationships undermine service-disabled veteran-owned small biz, says SBA

February 7, 2014 by

A would-be SDVOSB’s relationships with a company controlled by the SDVOSB’s minority owner undermined the service-disabled veteran’s control – and cost the SDVOSB an Air Force contract.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals ruled that a SDVOSB did not adequately control his company where the company (and the veteran) appeared to be unduly dependent on an outside firm.

SBA OHA’s decision in Battalion, LLC, SBA No. VET-242 (2013) involved an Air Force solicitation seeking a contractor to repair exterior building walls.  The Air Force set aside the procurement for SDVOSBs under NAICS code 238140 (Masonry Contractors).

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/service-disabled-veteran-owned-small-businesses/sdvosb-protests-outside-relationships-undermined-sdvs-control-says-sba-oha 

5 silver bullets for winning proposals

February 5, 2014 by

Is there one silver bullet that wins proposals? Yes (kinda). Trust is the closest factor I have found to being the silver bullet that wins proposals.

Our customer must trust that we can deliver the solution at the agreed-to price with little to no issues. (Do you make it a habit of buying from people or companies you do not trust?) No trust, no win.

Definitively, there is no one silver bullet factor that guarantees a win. There is no one thing that always works; nor is there one thing that offsets a sea of negative influencers (e.g., bad reputation, noncompliant or poorly executed proposal, lack of customer insight).

However, there are five silver bullet factors that greatly impact the likelihood of a win, and these factors require customer trust.

These five silver bullet factors historically tip the scales in favor of one solution provider over another. Which factor(s) to use varies according to circumstances. The five silver bullet factors can be cumulative. They are relative to one another and relative to other factors.

In other words, relative to all other aspects of proposal development, one could call these silver bullets because of the historic weighting of these five variables.

Keep reading this article at: http://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2014/01/22/insights-parkinson-silver-bullets.aspx