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 

Georgia firms win federal contracts in Jan. 2014

February 3, 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 January 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – JAN. 2014

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

Pinterest is tool for both governments and government marketers

January 31, 2014 by

Governments have a sizable presence on Pinterest, the pinboard-style photo-sharing website. Pins and boards on Pinterest cover the following and many other public sector topics:
Public works (in general)
Public works architecture and design
Public parks and recreation
Green government
Public sector tasks such as grounds maintenance
Government procurement

The Pinterest site has a page devoted to businesses that have successfully spread the word about their products and services through Pinterest. Lowe’s, Sony Electronics, Kraft Foods and The Container Store are some of the firms that have won business through Pinterest.

PINTEREST_LOGO_LONG_0Lowe’s, for instance, has created a few Pinterest boards dedicated to smaller design and decor projects. Their most repinned pin—a create-your-own colorful doormat project—has gotten more than 200,000 repins so far. Lowes is also a major player in the government market, with sites for federal and state and local government buyers.

No question about it, Pinterest can help sell products, says Danny Maloney, CEO and co-founder of Tailwind. Tailwind is an Oklahoma City-based Pinterest-analytics firm that offers social media marketing tools. The company’s clients include brands from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies (i.e., Disney, Nike, and Target).

Keep reading this article at: http://americancityandcounty.com/technology/pinterest-tool-governments-and-government-marketers-related-video

Contractors should resolve to adapt in 2014

January 21, 2014 by

[Note: The following article was written by Lindley Ashline of Deltek, a firm which analyzes the government contracting market.  The article was published by The Washington Post.]

From shutdowns to changed buying methods, the federal contracting market is evolving. Smart contractors will not only face down these changes, but find the best ways to take advantage of them.

Here is how to get ahead in 2014.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/contractors-should-resolve-to-adapt-in-2014/2014/01/03/4a6e3e2e-6e64-11e3-aecc-85cb037b7236_story.html 

Reflections of a small IT contractor on the government shutdown of 2013 and 2014’s uncertainties

January 14, 2014 by

[Note: This article was written by Terry Verigan, vice president of CompuCure.] 

Hurricane Katrina nearly killed CompuCure. In the wake of the storm, just three of us remained by Oct. 1, 2005, and the weeks ahead promised to be grim for our New Orleans-based IT services firm — what was left of it anyway. But we weren’t going to let that damn storm chase us away from our city.

By September 2013, eight long years after Katrina wiped out so many lives and businesses, CompuCure had rebounded sufficiently to make Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest growing businesses in America. With a talented staff of 30 delivering projects that had achieved national recognition for quality and value, it was tempting to think we’d made it to some sort of safe high ground, economically speaking. But by late September, our president and owner, Angelina Parker, faced another storm, this one political. The federal shutdown nearly took down the business again.

While we had become accustomed to the disruptions that stemmed from continuing resolutions — the stop-gap budgets lawmakers typically adopted while they continued to disagree over larger spending questions — those rarely impacted our work at federal sites. Employees would clock in while budgets were frozen and eventually CompuCure would be reimbursed. Our line of credit was more than sufficient to carry on. Interest charges eat away at profitability, but we could keep going, knowing that our people and their families felt secure. Our most valuable resources, our employees, would still be on the job.

But the shutdown was different. It meant lost revenue to CompuCure, not just a delay in getting invoices paid. Disturbing questions emerged, notably: How would we keep our talented employees from moving to other companies less dependent on federal contracts?

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2013/12/reflections-2013-year-nearly-killed-one-small-federal-it-firm/76097/?oref=nextgov_cio_briefing

Hoping to sell to the government? Then start being a P.E.S.T.

January 10, 2014 by

When my business entered into government contracting in 2005, it did not take long for me to realize that we had entered a whole new world after years in the private sector. Certifications and set-asides were unfamiliar concepts; ones that frankly made me a bit uncomfortable, as I wondered whether I wanted my company to get “special” consideration because of my gender or the size of our operation.

What I have learned is that there really is no “special consideration” but just an opportunity to level the playing field. While certifications can get your business noticed by government agencies, being a woman-owned, veteran-owned, small business, HUB Zone and/or 8(a) organization guarantees you nothing.

This may seem intuitive to some, but it is a barrier to success for many more.

So how can a small business best leverage the power of the set-aside?  By becoming a P.E.S.T. — that is, by being persistent, educated, specific and transparent.

Keep reading this article by Lisa Firestone at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/small-business-advice-hoping-to-sell-to-the-government-then-start-being-a-pest/2013/12/19/3f12d3b6-68f4-11e3-a0b9-249bbb34602c_story.html