The US federal government runs on a different schedule than most companies. While many consumer-focused businesses or businesses that sell to other businesses are pushing to “make the numbers” before the calendar year ends on December 31, the federal government is ahead of the curve because October 1 is the new federal fiscal year. While you may not hear the singing of Auld Lang Syne or the fireworks at night to signal the new year of government, businesses looking to boost revenue and open up new markets should familiarize themselves with the rules of the federal spending game. now.
Not business as usual
For those companies that are already involved in federal contracting, you know that there is typically a bit of a lull during October, and maybe even into December, as the feds prepare for a new budget and we all wait for Congress and the White House to get together. agree. what will be spent in the new year. However, this is not a normal year.
Recovery (or Stimulus) spending is now in the final phase of spending and BRAC spending has a “sharp stop” very soon. While regular federal spending will stagnate, the Stimulus and BRAC projects will pick up the slack. Companies that have stepped up with strategic and competitive offerings have a real chance of winning more business than imaginable. Do you want proof?
Single bidder takes all
A recent report on the federal website USASpending.gov indicated that of the total $550 billion spent last year with contractors for services and products needed to run the government, more than $46 billion went to companies that won bids where everyone could compete. but only an offer or offer was received. There were 277,123 contractors who found without competitionand presented 41,093 bids to win a total of $46,405,769,371 last year!
This is proof positive that there are many opportunities available where competition is not only reasonable, but non-existent. The lottery slogan used to be “you have to play to win.” With these federal contracting numbers, you can see that you “have to bid to win.”
It’s not free for everyone
However, don’t be fooled. This is not a situation where sloppiness, poorly crafted proposals, or high prices win. Quite the contrary, prevailing companies will take the situation very seriously and invest a great deal of time, energy and money to build relationships with all levels of decision making, adjust their management accounting and pricing processes, learn the art of writing a winning proposal and browse through the dozens of attorneys available to find the ones who are truly experts in federal contracting law.
Five Special Tactics to Start the New Federal Fiscal Year
Check your PPIRS now
Because the federal government is risk averse, the stronger your track record with respect to past performance, the better your chances of winning. If your customers don’t say anything or worse, say bad things about you, you won’t win the contract. PPIRS is a shared data repository of federal government report cards detailing a provider’s performance on current (or completed) contracts.
Recruitment officers go here to see how you’re graded. If you have high qualifications, your chances of winning the contract are much higher. If you have low grades, you won’t win a contract. You can see your record, but you can’t see other providers’ records and they can’t see yours. For more information, visit: http://www.ppirs.gov/.
Craft a Powerful One Page Capability Statement
This document is the most effective tool a company can use to open doors to contracting opportunities in the federal government. It is amazing how many entrepreneurs do not use this document. It is inexpensive to produce and can be created in Word or Publisher. A smart vendor will create different versions for each target agency, military base, and prime contractor or team partner.
Ditch the generic “tri-fold brochure” mentality and instead craft a one-page document setting out a “results” approach using government statement of work terminology and keywords.
[Note: MEA magazine has made arrangements so that the reader may receive a free federal government-focused Capability Statement Template by emailing the author of this article.]
Does your website say Stop or Go?
Hiring officers and program managers, key decision makers, use the Internet to research companies and their skills. You’ll shoot yourself in the foot if you have music or “flash” on your home page. Why? These people are pressed for time and many work in an open environment or in cubicles. When they click on a homepage that has music on it, they’ll instantly exit and go no further. Music is not appropriate in this environment (unless you are a DJ, singer or musician).
Many websites start with a flash program on their home page. This leads to additional steps or clicks to find government-related information. While this may be attractive in the private sector, it is another reason to exit because it is a waste of time and shows that the company does not understand the government market.
To be most effective, update your website to include core competencies, past performance, differentiators. Incorporate these specific terms and fill your government-facing pages with proof. Use the capability statement template as a guide. Ditch all the generic marketing jargon and write web content like you’re competing for a contract.
The Little Known Secret to Writing a Winning RFP Response
Entire books have been written on proposals and how to write winning responses. Today, however, you’ll increase your chances of winning if you make a powerful paradigm shift: don’t write to win, but write the answer to be the last man (or woman) standing. The secret is that the winners are chosen because they were not eliminated during the proposal qualification process, not necessarily because they had the best idea or even the best price. Learn this and watch your win ratio skyrocket.
Improve your procurement translation skills
The federal government spends billions each year on companies that look exactly like yours. If they say they have no money, what they are really saying is that they don’t know or trust your company enough to offer you the business. They may not be able to shell out millions at a time, but they want to spend every penny throughout the fiscal year, and they’ll find all kinds of ways to buy from people they know and trust to do a good job.
It is your responsibility to become the type of company that decision makers feel comfortable choosing. You will start winning more contracts when you position your company as the best option, the least risky option, and the most experienced option.
Tip Bonuses to Earn
Remember, as noted above, nine percent of federal contracts go to a single bidder. You’ll improve your chances of winning when you use the scalpel, mirror, and magnifying glass, and be ruthless to hone your proposal skills to win. Use the scalpel to trim the price, the mirror to see how you appear to others, and the magnifying glass to examine your accounting and pricing procedures, contracting processes, and record-keeping. Whether you’re competing against someone or just yourself, the higher you rank and ultimately mitigate the risk of doing business with their company, the more contacts you’ll gain.