Be honest. Try as you might, you don’t always follow through with prospective customers, whether feds or partners. You always intend to follow through, but a host of new priorities, distractions, or just life itself gets in the way. While this happens to everyone now and then, if you find it happening regularly, that’s a sign that you’re way over committed. Failure to follow through leaves your prospective customer or team member hanging and, while your first impression may have been good, what they’ll remember is that you dropped out of site just when they were expecting follow up information. Not following up brands you, and potentially your company, as being someone or something that customers and team members may not be able to trust. Needless to say, this is not a recipe for federal business success. What to do? Absolutely resist the urge to be everywhere at once. Successful companies focus on a few clients at a time. Take on only the opportunities that you can truly handle. It’s better to hit two long shots to the green and make par than to record a snowman (an “8” for you non-golfers). Also, remember that just because it took a federal contact weeks to get back to you, they expect you to get back to them in days. Anyone who’s been or had a teenager knows the mantra, “Life isn’t fair”. You’ll hit more of what you’re aiming at if you follow through.
Can you parallel park a camel? GSA officials have said that they may have as many as 800-900 OASIS contractors once they are finished adding new smaller businesses and promoting current OASIS smalls to the unrestricted contract. Of these, about 500 companies would be on OASIS small business and its derivatives, with the rest being incumbents on the unrestricted vehicle or newly promoted companies to it from among the current OASIS small business contract. GSA is also contemplating the creation of OASIS small business “pools”. At least one, for example, would be an 8(a) pool. To attract this many companies, the agency is being very flexible in how prospective contractors can show that they meet experience requirements. Team member or partner experience can be used in specific circumstances, opening the door wider to newer companies that may, themselves, have fairly narrow areas of expertise. Despite this openness, successful firms know that there is a big difference between obtaining a contract and doing business through it. Each step requires a specialized skill set. That’s important to keep in mind whether your company is pursuing a new OASIS contract, being promoted, or working with a partner who is entering into this segment for the first time.
No, we’re not talking about gun ownership here at The Week Ahead, but rather a common sense approach to developing sustainable government business. Way too many companies look at the smorgasbord of government opportunities and try to say “yes” to all of them. Just like an over-fed person at the buffet, you’ll get indigestion from trying to consume too many potential clients at one time. You don’t have to believe just us, either. Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition states, “Round out the intelligence you have rather than throwing something at the wall and seeing what sticks.” The “Selling for Winners” website says, “Stay Focused, Make Money, Have Fun”. Still, many sales and business professionals think that calling 50, 100, or 200 federal contacts a day is the only way to build business. It’s a way to build something, all right, but what you’re building is frustration. It’s pretty easy to find out who’s previously brought what you’re selling in federal agencies and not too much harder to figure out who might be buying it in the future. Start with who has money and then understand what their priorities are. While not everyone has to speak “FAR”, knowing some lingo is important, too. New market entries, for example, typically don’t tailor their sales pitches for the federal market. That means they talk about “profit” instead of “mission” or other dead give-aways that they just got off at the federal market depot. Staying focused and doing just a little advanced research increases the chances that you’ll close more of what you chase.
“(V)irtually every national security and criminal threat the bureau faces is cyber-based or technologically facilitated,” according FBI Director Christopher Wray. Echoing Wray’s concerns was DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who said that threats from nation-state adversaries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are at the highest levels since the Cold War, largely due to leveraging cyber to conduct espionage and related operations. The duo made these comments at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing just last week. These statements are certainly attention-getting, not because they’re necessarily new, but because they point to the reality that internet connectivity is globally pervasive and impacts almost all daily functions. There is a substantial need, and opportunity, for contractors who can provide both traditional and non-traditional cyber security solutions. To put this in perspective, FBI Director Wray stated at the hearing that China is “the broadest, most complicated, most long-term counterintelligence threat we face.” That mandates non-traditional thinking, including such insights as to how Chinese culture comes into play in the formulation of cyber strategies. Internet connectivity isn’t just an IT thing anymore, it’s everywhere, and so, too, must be cyber security.
Everyone likes low prices, right? Your company probably likes giving them, too, especially at the end of the month. If you’re a GSA Schedule contract holder, though, discounting to a commercial customer could have a negative impact on your Schedule contract. Don’t know what we’re talking about? You need a class in Schedule contract compliance! Allen Federal conducts multiple classes each year, in addition to consulting services, to ensure that your company can both comply – and sell through – your GSA Schedule contract. We CAN help! Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what we can do for you!