Many contractors know about the Federal Awardee
Performance & Integrity Information System (FAPIIS). It’s the official government web-site that is
supposed to list information on a contractor’s failure to comply with a
wide-range of rules and regulations – and not just those related to their
contract performance. FAPIIS,
though, relies on contracting officers to populate the system, a group of
people not known for being underworked.
In addition, FAPIIS information is segmented by DUNS number, so
information on a company with multiple numbers can be tough to find. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO), however,
has its own contractor web-site that is a “must read” for every company. The “Federal Contractor Misconduct Database”
(https://www.contractormisconduct.org/) is an easily
searchable site that contains information on both a company’s contract and
non-contract related legal issues. The Nader-esque POGO bills itself as, “a
nonpartisan independent watchdog”, but has consistently taken anti-business
positions throughout its existence.
Information Allen Federal found includes cost data improprieties, time
card issues, and overbilling problems, but also workplace discrimination and
commercial industry legal events. At
least one company has records going back about 20 years. Contractors should definitely be aware of
what the POGO website says about their company, but can also use it as a tool
to search on competitors. It’s
not clear whether or how much government contracting officer’s use this
website, but it’s better to be aware of what it says so you can get out in
front of any questions your company may be asked.
You’ve prepped for today’s important customer meeting. You know the topic, their needs, and how you
can help. Suddenly, sitting across the
table from your customer, they throw you a curve ball. “We’ve decided to move in a different
direction,” they say. You start
to stew inside and wonder (to yourself) “why couldn’t you have just told me
that in an e-mail and saved us all time?”
In addition, the person that you thought was going to be in the meeting
may now be, “down the hall” and you’re actually meeting with people you
may not know as well. It’s
always good to have a Plan B, or even a Plan C, when meeting with a federal
customer.Not only should you be prepared
to talk about the stated purpose of the meeting, you should also be ready to
discuss related needs, and to have that discussion at a level appropriate to
the people in the actual meeting.
Prepared contractors can actually come away with action items for new
prospective business. As recently as
this week, one company with which we work was able to turn what could have been a
ten minute “thanks for coming by” discussion into an hour-long meeting that
ended with three solid follow-up action items. The customer was impressed and no one’s time
ended up being wasted. Federal customers
most certainly approach business from a different perspective from contractors. Make sure you’re prepared for more than what
just meets the eye
An annual training day on gift giving and ethics is most definitely a
best practice for government contractors.
Although training may not prevent all mistakes, it is a sign that your
company takes compliance issues seriously so, if something bad does happen, the
consequences may not be as severe.
Ethics training doesn’t have to be like going to the dentist and
enduring pain. Allen Federal provides
ethics and gift giving training that is humorous, interactive, and
on-point. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but
you will also learn. We can tailor
training to your team on this and other matters. Contact us today to find out what we can do
for you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether or not contractors realize it, we’re already into the third
quarter of the federal fiscal year. Here
are three things your company should be working on now as we build toward the
all-important Q4. 1. Fill That Pipeline: Your tracking radar should be full of hits
by now, whether they’re potential projects, industry days, RFI’s, or even real
solicitations. This is the time
of year to cast your development net wide and begin vetting the projects you
have the best chance at winning.
Winnowing down the list can come later, but for now, you want a full
pipeline of potential work. 2. Meetings With Purpose: Introductory “meet and greets” should
primarily be behind you now. While some feds may still be able to sit down
and hear about your firm for the first time, it won’t be very long before they have to spend all of their time on
actual business. Your meetings with prospective
customers should be about specific solutions to specific problems. Ideally, they should be tied to opportunities
you’re tracking as well (see above).
Always know what you want out of any meeting before you go, but also
make sure you’re prepared to listen.
3. Ramp Up Your Marketing:Many companies wait until the end of the
year to market. That’s a tough time to
get your message heard – and will only likely have a tactical impact. The best marketing campaigns are strategic. They tell your message, but also establish
thought leadership, market presence and trust. These are key factors that can
help you get that critical meeting or improve a vital relationship. Get your campaign ready now so you can
launch it May or June. Essentially, your company should be building
a solid foundation now so that you’re ready to roll when business really heats
up. Take these steps and you’ll
definitely be prepared.
We’ve said it before, but it’s still true. Whether doing business with federal agencies
or anyone else, you’ve got to know the territory. A recent article in the current
“Washingtonian” magazine proves this point. Titled “I Fully Intend to Outlast These People”: 18
Federal Workers on What It’s Really Like to Work for the Trump Administration”,
the article paints a picture of the attitudes of many rank and file workers
with regard to their political bosses.
Despite the title, some of the interviewed career feds actually have
nice, or at least neutral, things to say.
It depends on the agency and, likely, the role each worker plays in
it. Information like this is vital to
developing a business approach to a federal agency. What’s
on the mind of the person you’re talking to?
What’s his/her concern?
Importantly, do they have one foot out the door, making your contact
with them of potentially diminished use? Knowing where your customer is coming from is
part of being able to develop a relationship with that person and, at a
minimum, helping you avoid land mines that could seriously impede your business
development efforts in an agency.
Conversely, if you can be a
pain-easer or problem solver, you’ve just increased your business chances, even
if the problem you helped solve is only tangentially related to the business
you came to discuss. If you
don’t know where your customer is on environmental issues like these, ask. Remember
that most people really like talking about themselves. What they have to say may help you close