Monthly Archives: October 2018

IT’S ABOUT TO GET A LOT MORE CROWDED AT THE OASIS AS GSA RAMPS UP

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.

IS YOUR FEDERAL APPROACH MORE “SHOTGUN” OR “RIFLE”?

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.

CYBER SECURITY NO LONGER JUST AN “IT THING”

“(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.

WHEN CAN A DISCOUNT GET YOU IN TROUBLE?

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 info@allenfederal.com to see what we can do for you!

THREE THINGS TO DO NOW THAT IT’S FY’19

October and November can be just as busy for government contractors as August and September, but for different reasons.  If you’re wondering what we mean by that, here are three things that smart contractors are doing now:

1.  Increasing Their KnowledgeWhether it’s through a training class or conference, the calendar is full of these activities and many contract and BD professionals attend more than one. This includes contract compliance and ethics training.  These may not be glamorous, but they are absolutely essential if you want the government to write you checks without your having to write checks back to the government.

2Networking:  In addition to increasing your knowledge base, events are great for expanding your network.  Whether it’s a key new contact with another company, a new federal face, or an opportunity for your own personal advancement, it is vital to remember that government acquisition is a relationship-based business.  There is no better time than right now to build on your existing network.

3.  Showing Their Customers Their FY’19 “Model Year” Lineup:  The start of the fiscal year may be the best time to roll out new solutions and services.  Think of it as your “2019 Federal Model Year”.  Prospective federal customers often have more time to meet in the first and second quarters of the year – and they absolutely do want to know what’s new and innovative.  Make sure you’ve got glossy new things to show them, in addition to the reliable stuff they’ll probably actually buy later.  The bottom line is that this is the time of year you set the foundation for sales success down the road.