Business Development

  • Does the "M" in the new 8(M) Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program Mean Money?
    Answer: Yes and then some. The first women-owned businesses to be certified under the new 8(m) program will have a head start because of the political pressure to give small business preference to women-owned businesses has been building for... read more
  • Is Obama Trying to Harm the Federal Contracting Industry?
    Politically and philosophically, yes. Intentionally and in practice, no. After all, we are voters too. For both political and philosophical reasons, the new administration is trying to return highly visible work to the appropriate federal agencies. ... read more
  • Are End Users and Contracting Officers Moving Apart?
    Those of us at Fedmarket have noticed that, at least in some federal agencies, the contracting office is moving away from the end users. The chronic under-staffing of contracting offices has caused office consolidation and reduced communication... read more
  • To Protest or Not
    Protests of federal contract awards appear to be increasing but the statistics are confusing due to the increase in the number of contract transactions. What is certain is that protests are increasingly in the spotlight in the federal contracting... read more
  • Become an Incumbent Contractor
    Once you make a sale, you can use your company's stellar performance on a federal project to leverage more sales. Federal contractors working on-site at a federal facility are essentially getting paid to sell to agency customers and to generate... read more
  • Women Owned Small Businesses May Be in for a Treat
    Women Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) may get an advantage in federal contracting under a newly proposed Women-Owned Small- Business rule. (See link below) For the first time, the Proposed Rule would give federal agencies the ability to set-aside... read more
  • Emergency Contracting - Disaster Contracting
    Recently, I heard about a company who went to the news media to complain that they had the ultimate solution to the Gulf of Mexico oil clean up. It was just proven in someone's pool to be a great solution to cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico. The company... read more
  • The Thick Wall
    Establishing relationships with federal customers can be a long, arduous process that can often take a year or more. The federal end user's job depends on the vendors he chooses and, as a result, the end user is often averse to taking a risk with an... read more
  • Stimulus Program Works for Federal Contractors
    An article in the Washington Post recently summarized how federal departments are paying firms to help spend stimulus money. The stimulus program is working well for federal contractors for two reasons. First, the following types of services are needed... read more
  • Why Federal Contractors Will Continue to Thrive
    The Obama administration is calling for a cutback in federal contracting and is expanding the federal workforce. Should the federal contractor worry? No, for the following reasons: Federal program managers can achieve their goals faster and more... read more
  • Be Proactive to Win Federal Dollars
    Proactive methods have governed sales approaches for products and services since the days of Willy Lowman. The same basic principles remain the keys to success in federal sales. Examples: Sales Approach Example 1 Example 2 Example... read more
  • Closing a Sale Part Two
    Companies holding multi-vendor contracts minimize the amount of competition they face since a public bid isn't necessary. Vendors who don't hold a multi-vendor contract may have to start out as a subcontractor to an existing federal contractor,... read more
  • Closing a Sale
    The manner in which a federal purchase is completed depends on the size of the transaction. Credit card buys under $2,500 can be single sourced by the end user and can be transacted without the contracting officer's involvement. More liberal credit card... read more
  • People Buy, Not Agencies
    Contrary to popular belief, people buy in the federal market, not agencies. The only way to make a federal sale is to contact a buyer through a direct sales call. Companies unwilling to make the sales calls are not going to experience success in the... read more
  • Multi-vendor Contracts Explained
    Multi-vendor contracts limit competition and make purchasing faster and cheaper. The government, when using a multi-vendor contract, need only solicit bids from three vendors holding the type of contract in question. Those not holding such a contract are... read more
  • Small Businesses Need GSA Schedule Contracts More Than Ever
    Federal, state, and local agencies are shifting major procurement dollars into GSA Schedules, especially for contracts funded with stimulus dollars, energy projects, infrastructure projects, and information technology projects. The following information... read more
  • Public Bids are too Late
    Bids funded by stimulus dollars are being posted at agencies web sites by federal state, and local agencies. Some public bids are in an Invitation for Bid (IFB) legal format (fixed price, low bidder wins). IFBs are usually used for construction projects.... read more
  • Creating Green Federal Facilities Will be an Endless Process
    A recent article at Government Executive entitled GSA Officials Say They Are Off To A Fast Start On Energy-Efficiency Projects indicates the potential for revenue opportunities for facility maintenance contractors holding GSA schedule 03FAC Facilities... read more
  • Distinguish Your Company for Stimulus Contracting
    The press is now reporting that stimulus spending is behind schedule; what a surprise! Did anyone on the inside believe the initial hype anyway? Where is the action in federal contracting so far? Engineering GSA Schedule: the Construction Management,... read more
  • The Hard Part: Establishing the Customer Relationship
    Like commercial sales the key to success in federal sales is establishing a customer relationship. Finding and convincing new customers that you are the answer to their prayer can be an arduous process because the government can be resistant to new faces... read more
  • Start Now If You Want Stimulus Funds
    How much of the nearly $800 billion stimulus package will end up funding federal contracts? No one is sure yet, but some predict from $50 to $100 billion. Like everyone, you would probably like to increase your revenue with stimulus dollars. Selling... read more
  • The New Administration and Federal Sales
    These are chaotic times for the federal market; the good, bad, and the ugly of a change in administration amidst an economic crisis. Fortunately most of the developments in the market are good. The Good: Agencies Swimming in Money The stimulus... read more
  • Internet Posting of Legislation and Stimulus Projects is a Good Thing But...
    The Obama administration is keeping its promise of more transparency in federal contract and grant spending. At the state and local level, grants may become contracts; we hope. The status of stimulus project funding legislation will be posted at recovery... read more
  • Should You Fear Federal Contract Oversight?
    During the Presidential campaign the democratic candidates stated that they would reduce federal contracting dollars. Now we have bailout and stimulus initiatives, both probably stimulating the amount of federal contracting dollars. How many stimulus... read more
  • The Washington Post Pegs Stimulus and Contracting
    A Washington Post article entitled If Spending Is Swift, Oversight May Suffer; Plan's Pace Could Leave Billions Wasted by Robert O'Hara says it all about federal stimulus spending and its impact on federal contracting. Mr. O'Hare states, "Under... read more
  • Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Quickly
    Job creation is at the center of the Obama administration's stimulus package. The focus on rapid job creation is discussed in the press daily. The stimulus package includes both state and local infrastructure projects and projects to upgrade the... read more
  • Federal Facilities Slated for Overhaul
    The Obama administration plans to overhaul federal facilities to make them more energy efficient. This will be a daunting and expensive task since federal facilities number in the thousands. Proposed overhaul tasks include: Replace old heating... read more
  • Information Technology Companies Take Note
    The Obama administration plans to modernize the Veterans Administration (VA) and make it into a "21st century organization". Proposed reforms include: Develop a seamless electronic health record for active-duty personnel and veterans. Reduce... read more
  • More on Selling Risk Aversion
    The previous installment discussed federal end users aversion to risk when selecting a contractor. The fear is particularly acute for rebids of information technology service contracts. The thought process of a federal Chief Information Officer might be... read more
  • Selling Risk Aversion
    Federal end users hate risk. Commercial end users are risk averse but not to the extent of federal end users. Federal end users are measured differently that end users in the commercial sector. Federal end users don't like to rock the boat; they don't... read more
  • Green Your Revenue
    The Obama administration announced recently that the proposed infrastructure initiative will include: Information Technology for school systems Internet access for rural and under-served communities Green technology for federal facilities The... read more
  • Recent Developments in Federal Contracting
    State and Local Government Use of GSA schedule Contracts: Recently the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) recommended that Congress authorize state and local governments to use all of the 53 GSA schedules in making purchases.... read more
  • More Selling Services versus Products
    In the products market, end users often are familiar with the products they are buying. Did you meet with a Microsoft salesperson before purchasing Microsoft Office? Does Microsoft even have salespeople? Our company bought Oracle software and Sun servers... read more
  • Selling Services versus Products
    The degree to which a business must develop a relationship with the end user is based on the complexity of a service and its uniqueness. Think of it as a sliding scale of relationship building effort: On the lower end you're selling 10,000 glass... read more
  • Federal Marketing Activities that Work for Small to Medium Sized Businesses
    The previous installment warned that some federal marketing activities can be too expensive for small to medium sized businesses. You probably can't afford to sponsor a golf tournament in Washington, DC. The following federal marketing activities... read more
  • The Value of Federal Marketing
    Some believe that marketing is a critical component to having success in the federal market. Marketing efforts make the public, official buyers and end users aware of your company and your products or services. My definition of marketing includes... read more
  • The Role of the Contracting Officer
    As indicated above, federal contracting officers have far more influence on a purchasing decision than commercial purchasing agents. Contracting officers ensure that buys are made within the rules although the end user usually makes the final purchasing... read more
  • Options for Closing Federal Sales
    In the previous installment we discussed making federal sales up to the point of transacting the deals (signing a contract). Transacting or closing the deals can be done in several ways. The first option is for the work to be done under a subcontract... read more
  • Don't Get Caught without a Closer
    Here's an example of how the federal sales game is really played. Let's suppose a federal agency has the money to fund a large information technology project, creating a potential, although as yet unidentified, sales opportunity. Your salesperson calls... read more
  • Make it Easy for Federal Buyers
    Once you've hired the full-time sales person, made the direct sales calls, established a relationship with the end user, and sold your product or service, you figure you're done, right? No. Vendors need to make it easy for the end user or contracting... read more
  • Importance of Direct Sales
    Many companies looking to win federal contracts spend large portions of their annual budgets on marketing, business development, and capture planning. Often, these businesses are the very same companies that have not invested in one dedicated federal... read more
  • Searching for Sales Opportunities
    Products, services, and technology-based solutions are sold through relationships in both the commercial and federal sectors. In the federal arena, relationships are even more important because most federal customers are extremely risk averse -- much... read more
  • When the Sale Takes Place
    Almost all newcomers to the federal market make the mistake of thinking that a sales opportunity arises when a request for a proposal or bid is published. In reality by the time a bid is published, the sale has probably already been made. Successful... read more
  • Learn to Play the Federal Sales Game Like an Insider
    How do you play a game where the rules are stacked in favor of insiders? Learn to stack the deck for yourself or don't play. Playing in the federal market is a game in the same sense that selling in the commercial market is a game. To play... read more
  • Learn to Play in a Recession-Proof Industry
    Is the federal market recession proof? Consider the answers to these questions and judge for yourself. How many federal layoffs have you read about in The Washington Post? Is the federal government spending less? Is the threat of terrorism... read more
  • Act Immediately to Add Federal Revenue to Your Company
    We have repeatedly stressed in prior newsletters that the federal market is recession proof and an ideal source for additional revenue. Naysayers will although the market may be recession proof, it has a long sales lead time. This may be true, in... read more
  • The Future of Multi-vendor Contracts
    The federal government cannot function without multi-vendor contracts. Such contracts are being used more frequently because there isn't any other efficient method for federal contracting officers to buy everything needed by program managers. Federal... read more
  • Competitiveness of Multi-vendor Contracts
    Multi-vendor contracts limit competition and make purchasing faster and cheaper. The government, when using a multi-vendor contract, need only solicit bids from three vendors holding the type of contract in question. Those not holding such a contract are... read more
  • Turn Apprehension About the Economy Into Positive Action
    Anyone who reads the business news knows that the economy is slowing down and the probability of a recession is increasing. While we all hope that an economic downturn will not occur, smart business owners should position their companies in case one does... read more
  • Comparison of Federal Multi-vendor Contracts
    It is difficult to be a successful federal contractor without having a multi-vendor contract. The basic types of multi-vendor contracts are summarized below. Multi-Vendor Contract Comparison Features/Type GSA Schedules (MAS... read more