NGLCC Federal Contracting Series | Part II: Federal Contracting is right for me, now what?

| By Sarah Jester

 

 

Post-Webinar Resources:

VIDEO replay of the webinar: CLICK HERE

SLIDES from the presentation: CLICK HERE

 

Aired on August 25, 2020

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (“NGLCC”) in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, Leidos, Northop Grumman and Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)  has launched a series of virtual education sessions tailored to educating suppliers on the exciting – but often tricky to navigate -- world of Federal Contracting.

NGLCC Senior Vice President, Jonathan Lovitz, and Statewide Director for Virginia PTAC, Lisa Wood, kicked off the second of these virtual webinars entitled “Federal Contracting is Right for Me, Now What?” 

Team NGLCC opened by providing an overview of the NGLCC, the only third-party certifier of LGBT-owned businesses recognized by both the public and private sectors. As NGLCC continues to score victories in having its Certified LGBTBE® suppliers included in public sector procurement policies, leveraging this powerful certification to succeed in the federal contracting space has played an integral role for many of its suppliers. PTAC’s Lisa Wood followed by adding expert advice on the following key topics that were discussed:

Finding Opportunities: Where are the government dollars flowing?

DoD spending topped $402B (USD) in 2019, marking a five-year increase of 43%. Government Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) have nearly doubled in five years; however, Small Business Spend has held steady at 23%.

Smaller businesses can fight this stagnation by taking advantage of Other Transactional Authority (OTA). OTA has reduced red tape in this process, thus expanding opportunities to non-traditional, smaller players. This has expedited awards in technology and development and increased by $6B in five years. Ensuring that you can accept government purchase cards, as well as optimizing the Micro-Purchase Threshold, will reduce administrative costs and improve prospects for smaller firms newer to the space.  

How to create a marketing campaign tailored to your ideal government customer?

There is a nearly bottomless arsenal of resources available to help you create a capabilities statement that will help you compete successfully in the government market. These websites include but are not limited to the following: 

The Veteran Business Outreach Program (VBOC) provides a wealth of opportunities for veterans. Please take advantage of this if you have experience serving our country.  Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Subcontracting Opportunities Directory posts all of the prime contracts with subcontracting plans that have been awarded annually on November 2nd of each calendar year. Contracts valued at $7M or higher are reported daily at the following extension site.

Additionally, all agencies must report all of their forecasting to receive money from Congress through the Office of Small Business Programs (DoD). Forecasts are cataloged and searchable at the following location. Forecasting plays two key roles: it can allow you to understand your best customer targets, and most importantly, during the due diligence process to create these forecasts, government customers often find potential contractors!

All of these resources have additional resources earmarked for COVID-19 relief. The Center for Integrated Technology (CIT) provides training and resources to raise seed money. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) provides similar resources for businesses owned by marginalized communities. Statewide resources are available at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Where can you find and efficiently search for opportunities?

Build your reference library! While the U.S. Government buys everything, not every agency requires the same levels of goods and services. While the wealth of free resources above will allow you to understand what these potential customers are looking for and provide a foundation to prospect successfully, the following resources will help you find opportunities. 

FedBizOpps (now part of Beta Sam) shows contacts that are greater than $25,000. Millions of dollars get left behind in sources sought, which then become ‘open’ bids ripe for the taking. Category searches can be conducted at the e-library of the General Service Administration’s (GSA).

Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) provides direct access to their online DIBBS bidding systems as well. State procurement bidding systems are kept by National Association of State Procurement Professionals (NASPO).

How has COVID-19 impacted the federal contracting space?

While the majority of these online-resources have COVID-19 specific sections, you should pay close attention to the contracting guidance at the Federal Agency for Emergency Assistance (FEMA), the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

What are best practices and tips for marketing to the government customer?

Your capability statement is your key sales collateral to highlight your core competencies--- take the time to get it right. Keep it pithy- no more than one page-and be sure it reflects the professionalism and specificity of your brand. Do not use Gmail or Yahoo email accounts, and ensure your website is safely accessible behind government firewalls. Please limit large graphics and ensure keywords are written via text. This will allow you to show up appropriately in any sort of Dynamic Small Business Search. Understanding your competition and what may set them apart from you will also help you tweak your marketing plan accordingly.