Contractors seeking additional information on what FY’24 spending levels and priorities might look like should monitor multiple hearings taking place on Capitol Hill this week. At least six major cabinet officials, and several other top executive branch representatives, are testifying before various House and Senate appropriations subcommittees. Each witness is going into deeper detail on what the President’s FY’24 budget request means for their agencies and specific programs. Just some of the witnesses include DOD Secretary Lloyd Austin, Treasury head Janet Yellen, and VA Secretary Dennis McDonough. Not only can contractors pick up additional information from the publicly available prepared testimony of each witness, but key insights and potential changes can be gleaned from questions and answers between appropriations panel members and witnesses. Contractors seeking to shape the appropriations process need this information in order to make their own best presentations on why they think spending should be supported in some areas, but perhaps re-ordered in others. Industry will have a narrow window to get their points across over the next two months, but should take every opportunity to offer their views. Congress is not only holding hearings on appropriations right now. Agency officials from GSA, DHS, and other agencies are increasingly being called to testify or provide reports on a host of issues on which Congress is paying increased oversight. This poses challenges for meeting with senior federal officials, but should be notable in that the current Congress, especially the House, is paying closer attention to agency priorities and operations. This is the time of year when the legislative branch sets the stage for actions it will take on spending and policy measures later on. Contractors should understand how these actions can impact their business.
Don’t look now, but the federal fiscal year is nearly half over. Here are three things companies should be doing now to stay on track for success.
1. The Window For In-Depth New/Prospective Customer Talks is Closing: The first half of the fiscal year is typically the best time to reach out to new customers and have more detailed discussions about your capabilities and how they match with the needs of prospective customers. This is a great time to expand a company’s reach and broaden the pipeline of potential business. The window for such discussions this year, though, is closing fast. Most agencies will be moving into a different gear come June, leaving less time for initial meet and greets. Make sure you have those meetings already on the calendar.
2. The Discussion Should Increasingly Shift to How a Solution Will Be Acquired: Initial meetings usually cover the scope of potential projects and give companies a good idea of how their solutions may match. Now, though, is the time to talk about how those solutions may be acquired. Never assume that your customer agency has an iron-clad acquisition strategy in mind. Make sure your company is prepared to mention 1-3 options for how the customer can easily acquire the solutions you offer and that they, hopefully, want. A mix of IDIQ contracts, set-asides, and even non-traditional acquisition methods may be part of the discussion depending on the project and customer. Just remember, though, not to overwhelm a customer with too many acquisition options.
3. Harmonize Your Marketing and Sales Messages: Veteran industry marketing guru Mark Amtower always reminds companies that their marketing and sales messages should match. This may seem obvious, but it isn’t always. Make sure your customer hears a consistent message from you. Similarly, successful companies know that marketing is key not only to expanding business but to driving home a message that your firm is an experienced part of the government business world. Even experienced companies can be caught by surprise when they become conspicuous by the absence of marketing contacts as the pace of federal business heats up. Make sure your solution is neither out of sight, nor out of mind. Remember, too, that actual real-live government business will be transacted during the third quarter and not to focus all energies on August and September. Taking the right steps at the right time can be the key to success, or being hit by a bus. Make sure you know which is which.
The US Department of Defense’s Office of Strategic Capital (OSC) has partnered with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to launch the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) critical technologies initiative. The program aims to generate capital for small business development by increasing investment to crowd-in private capital, prioritizing areas such as semiconductors that have large applications but aren’t necessarily going directly to the things the military buys. The OSC’s strategy is to work with other agencies to support the extension of Read more
Many federal contractors think they know exactly how much federal business their company conducts and, therefore, where to allocate compliance and other resources. After nearly 33 years in this arena, we can tell you that most companies are wrong. Multiple operating units inside a company may have their own prime, or especially, subcontracts. This places the entire company at increased risk of non-compliance and an unwelcome audit surprise. Don’t let this happen to you. Allen Federal can help your company uncover business it didn’t know was being conducted and help set up a compliance program to keep you out of trouble. To see what we can do for you contact us today at email@example.com
DOD, VA, Treasury, and Agriculture could all see significant increases in personnel if key parts of President Biden’s budget are adopted. The additions would create the largest federal workforce since World War II, providing increased opportunities for contractors to provide services and solutions in support of expanded federal functions. While some believe that the president’s budget was “dead on arrival” in Congress, others point out that key parts of previous budget proposals are usually adopted in whole or in part by the time Congress has finished its Read more