How to Enter the Federal Market Quickly

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Is this a good timefor your firm to enter the federal market?
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How to Enter the Federal Market Quickly

  1. 1. www.zweigwhite.com How to Enter the Federal Market Quickly >Briefing for A/E, Construction, and Environmental Services Firms that Traditionally Have not Participated in this Market Presented by: David J. Alexander Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.LincolnStrategies.com Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC
  2. 2. Topics Is this a good time for your firm to enter the federal market? Substantial opportunities for your firm? Why try to enter the market quickly? Does it make sense for your firm? Where are the specific opportunities? How can you find them? How can you enter the federal market quickly? What can your firm do right now to help prepare for upcoming opportunities? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 1
  3. 3. Target audience... You are a leader in an A/E, construction, or environmental firm Your firm has little or no experience in the federal market... – ...you have shunned the federal market in the past; AND/OR – ...previous attempts have failed. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 2
  4. 4. In the past, many firms have avoided the federal market. Time Risk Entry point Incumbent strength Middling growth in non-military federal markets Actual or perceived conflicts Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 3
  5. 5. Part I Why re-consider? The big picture. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 4
  6. 6. Why reconsider? Federal Market Push Downturn in non- gov’t. markets. Competition is more brutal. Corporate clients are less predictable. Pull Potentially massive increase in spending by federal agencies & departments. Aspects of the “crisis”—federal priorities and evolving procurement policies. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 5
  7. 7. Crisis = Opportunities for A/E, construction, environmental firms Focus on Emphasis on Real “scoring Property green” Evolving Imperative: Fed. Spend Procurement quickly Demand Policies Side Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 6
  8. 8. Crisis = Opportunities Incumbent Creation of new contractors: federal contract “constructive vehicles will lag indifference” to demand smaller projects Procurement Incumbents: policy shifts: Will be will favor stretched Supply smaller firms Side Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 7
  9. 9. But also, Crisis = new potential issues New Scrutiny New Constraints New Reporting Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 8
  10. 10. New Reporting New Constraints New Reporting For example... American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will require contractors to report on... Estimated impacts on jobs retained or created Timeline to “completion” ...and more. See Federal Register, March Screenshot of: 31, 2009, Pages 14,621-23. www.federalreporting.gov, as of 4/2/2009 Supplements current reporting requirements Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 9
  11. 11. New Constraints New Reporting New Constraints Additional application of Buy American Act to some contracts. Possibilities of novel “limitation of future contracting” clauses. Greater emphasis on fixed price contracting. In some cases, this might: − Unfairly skew risk-sharing. − Create barriers to normal partnering between federal clients and contractors. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 10
  12. 12. New Scrutiny New Constraints New Reporting Article: Copyright 2009 NextGov.com http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20090330_5144.php Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 11
  13. 13. Enter the federal market quickly? The opportunities are there, but... Advantages & Sufficient Market? Disadvantages? The decision. Find Specific Practical Strategies? Opportunities? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 12
  14. 14. Key screening issues • Market size Opportunities • Purchasing habits How big is the federal • Recent history Decide market for your firm’s • Methods of whether to services? procurement pursue federal market Practical Strategies • Can they be done entry on rapidly? Are there practical strategies available for • Would they require sea expedited your firm, given your change in how you do basis. firm’s characteristics? business Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 13
  15. 15. Part II Invest in effort to measure the market for your firm? 3 iron laws to consider first. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 14
  16. 16. 3 Iron Laws of federal market entry.. #1: Niche Markets “Stimulus” and “Recovery” programs do not #2: Contract Vehicles change the iron laws—they reinforce them. #3: “Safe Buys” Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 15
  17. 17. Iron Law #1: All federal markets are niche markets. Ignore the “total market size” numbers. Nobody is pursuing “$400 billion.” Sophisticated and successful federal contractors ignore the headlines. So should you. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 16
  18. 18. The “federal market” is not the target. Every A/E, construction, and environmental firm in the federal market operates in niches of that market—even the largest firms in the market. None of the successful firms worry about “the federal market.” They focus on specific federal market niches. Nobody knows all of the niches. The “recovery” and “stimulus” programs will: – Expand some existing niches. – Create some new ones (evolving rules; additional spending). Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 17
  19. 19. Each federal niche has unique features, such as: Bias (or not) towards incumbents How “A/E” is defined around the edges Special rules Spending habits Preferences for geographic proximity? Openness Willingness to use government-wide contracts Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 18
  20. 20. Potential Advantages & Federal Niches Disadvantages for YOUR firm Aggregate figures are of little analytic value Size of federal niche(s) for your firm? How to perform actionable research? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 19
  21. 21. Case study: Mid-size design-build firm; small geographic range. (“Acme”) $700,000,000 $600,000,000 Total Contract Awards: 80-mile Radius of Acme, Inc., Fed. Fiscal Year 2007 $500,000,000 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes $400,000,000 Other Arch. & Construction $300,000,000 Engineering Svcs. Construction of Utility Structures $200,000,000 Construction of Buildings, Facilities $100,000,000 $0 Total Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 20
  22. 22. The largest “local” federal clients were easy to pinpoint... U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Dep't. of Housing and Urban Development Dep't. of State Defense Logistics Agency Bureau of Reclamation U.S. Forest Service Trans. Security Admin. (TSA) Other Agencies (e.g., IRS, SSA) Ag. Research Svc., Dep't. of Interior Dep't. of Interior Dep't. of the Air Force Nat'l. Park Service FAA U.S. Coast Guard NASA Public Buildings Service, GSA Dep't. of the Navy Dep't. of Veterans Affairs Dep't. of the Army $0 $50,000,000 $100,000,000 $150,000,000 $200,000,000 Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 21
  23. 23. ...and the “local” federal agencies awarded a lot of work without set-asides. Not Competed, Restricted 8(a) Competition, Task Order, $37,832,006 Competition, $11,413,756 $30,826,627 $70,068,400 8(a) Competition (HUBZone Pref.), $31,426,723 8(a) Sole Source, $48,179,539 Full and Open Competition, $379,584,639 Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 22
  24. 24. But the actual “niche” available to “Acme” was relatively modest. $184 million in  $200,000,000 awards... $160,000,000 $120,000,000 Full and Open Competition Task Order Restricted Competition or Sole Source $80,000,000 $40,000,000 $0 Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 23
  25. 25. But the actual “niche” available to “Acme” was relatively modest. $184 million in  $200,000,000 awards... ...but $109  million went to a  $160,000,000 few “Top 10”  firms. $120,000,000 Full and Open Competition Task Order Restricted Competition or Sole Source $80,000,000 $40,000,000 $0 Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 24
  26. 26. But the actual “niche” available to “Acme” was relatively modest. $184 million in  $200,000,000 awards... ...but $109  million went to a  $160,000,000 few “Top 10”  firms. $120,000,000 And another  Full and Open Competition $44 million was  Task Order unavailable to Acme Restricted Competition or Sole Source (e.g., 8(a) awards). $80,000,000 $40,000,000 $0 Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 25
  27. 27. But the actual “niche” available to “Acme” was relatively modest. $184 million in  $200,000,000 awards... ...but $109  million went to a  $160,000,000 few “Top 10”  firms. $120,000,000 And another  Full and Open Competition $44 million was Task Order unavailable to Acme Restricted Competition or Sole Source (e.g., 8(a) awards). $80,000,000 $40,000,000 ...leaving $31 million in awards to firms “like” Acme. $0 Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com
  28. 28. Iron Law #2: Contract Vehicles are critical. Federal buyers cannot assign projects to you if you don’t have a contract vehicle— no matter how skilled or cost-effective your firm is. “Recovery” and “stimulus” spending might make it easier for first-time entrants to find certain types of contract vehicles. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 27
  29. 29. Iron Law #2: Contract Vehicles are critical. What is a “contract vehicle?” Overblown (but much-used) word for “contract.” Federal government’s only way to “get” to a contractor, except for trivially small projects. Contractor’s only practical way to do work for federal government, as a prime contractor or a subcontractor. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 28
  30. 30. Competitive differentiator in the market for “Recovery Act” projects. Contracting vehicles can be difficult to put in place... ...but “Recovery Act” programs create timing pressures... ...making a firm’s availability of contract vehicles—or its ability to obtain them—an even more important competitive differentiator. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 29
  31. 31. Who sees the competitive advantage? Contractors Federal government agencies that provide other agencies with access to their contract vehicles. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 30
  32. 32. GSA sees “contract vehicles” as its own competitive advantage. Ad that GSA runs in GovExec.com’s on- line newsletter. Audience: Government personnel. www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid Excerpt from GSA website. Audience: =42430&dcn=e_gvet Government personnel. www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do? contentType=GSA_OVERVIEW&contentId= 25465 Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 31
  33. 33. “Stimulus” and “Recovery” policies do not trump acquisition rules. Before Now Insert picture WITH recovery banner. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 32
  34. 34. What does this mean for potential new entrants? You need a strategy for “contract vehicles.” Savvy competitors: often can offer vehicle solutions. – GSA – Existing task order contracts—A/E or otherwise Think about “prime” and “subcontracting” vehicles. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 33
  35. 35. Dozens of different types, sub-types of federal contract vehicles Single or multiple award Narrow or broad scope Definitive vs. Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Periods of performance vary dramatically Single or multiple agency use Cost reimbursable, T&M, fixed price, mixture Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 34
  36. 36. What does a “good” federal contract vehicle look like for your firm? Dozens of variables; two key categories: Acquisition Method Contract Structure Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 35
  37. 37. What does a “good” federal contract vehicle look like for your firm? Dozens of variables; two key categories: Acquisition Method, e.g.: Contract Structure, e.g.: Single or multiple award Nature, breadth of its scope Full-and-open or restricted (set- Definitive—or Indefinite aside) competition Delivery, Indefinite Quantity RFP (e.g., environmental) or (IDIQ) Standard Form 330 (e.g., Cost reimbursable, T&M, fixed architectural) price, other Price/cost evaluation method For single agency, multiple Weighing of factors for “best agencies, or gov’t.-wide value” Contract clauses Special situation (e.g., sole- Period of performance source award) Downstream requirements Impact on commercial practices Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 36
  38. 38. Example: Multiple Award; A/E; SF 330; Quality Based Selection; Task Order Contract (indefinite) Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 37
  39. 39. Example: Single award; RFP; “cost/ technical” best value tradeoff; definitive project Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 38
  40. 40. Iron Law #3: Federal clients want to make “safe buys.” Create reality of “safety”—and convey it effectively. Prove your ability to Know the rules. comply; don’t merely assert it. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 39
  41. 41. Iron Law #3 can be especially tough on new entrants. Learning the rules. Convincing federal purchasers that you know the rules, even without a track record in the federal market. Any doubt by potential federal clients = you will not win a contract award. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 40
  42. 42. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) ~2,000 pages. http://acquisition.gov/far/ Nobody is an expert in all of the FAR. Successful firms: – Understand the rules that apply to their niches... – ...and sometimes select niches that resonate well with the rules they can live with. Key FAR Subparts for A/E, construction, and environmental firms: – FAR Subpart 15 (Contracting by Negotiation) – FAR Subpart 36 (Construction and Architect-Engineer Contracts) Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 41
  43. 43. Agency-specific rules. Agency supplements to the FAR. For example: EPA’s supplement = EPA Acquisition Regulation (EPAAR) Agencies’ unique internal operating procedures. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 42
  44. 44. Informal rules: the “code.” Do not allow your client to be blindsided by contractual requirements. Know when to say “no.” Understand the distinction between your direct client and your Contracting Officer. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 43
  45. 45. From the perspective of the federal purchaser, the “safe buy” imperative outweighs stimulus goals. Commit $ Commit $ Quickly Safely Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 44
  46. 46. Part III Are there federal market niches that offer substantial opportunities for your firm? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 45
  47. 47. Don’t be blinded by “stimulus euphoria.” Do your research. Your firm’s federal profile, objectives Potential Federal Other firms in federal Market Niches for market: benchmarks, Your Firm. competitors Nature of “demand”: federal purchaser’ profiles Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 46
  48. 48. Find the intersections (if they exist) for your firm. Your firm’s profile Benchmark Federal firms, purchasers’ competitors preferences Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 47
  49. 49. Defining Federal Market Niches Your firm’s federal objectives, profile Services Financial Administrative Risk Tolerance • Geographic • Pricing • Accommodate • Requirements ambitions constraints cost- for near-term • Scope of • Minimum/ reimbursable? success services maximum • F&A • Performance • Program focus project size infrastructure risk • Agency focus • What level of • Investment in • Compliance revenue contract risk defines administration • Financial risk “success?” support • Profitability • Proposal- goals? writing • Profitability capacity timeline? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 48
  50. 50. Defining Federal Market Niches Nature of “demand”: federal purchasers’ profiles Procurement Services Contract Scopes Risk Sharing Style • Types of • Full-and-open • Highly focused • Cost- services competitions vs. bundled reimbursable? purchased vs. restricted requirements • Fixed price? from A/E, competitions • Definite • Mixture? construction, • Winner-take- quantity vs. • Likelihood of and/or all, single Indefinite follow-on work environmental award vs. Delivery, as a reward for firms multiple award Indefinite stellar • Place of • Use of GSA or Quantity performance? performance other multi- (IDIQ) • Preferred agency • Level of skill location of contract required contractors vehicles Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 49
  51. 51. Defining Federal Market Niches Benchmark firms, competitors Size, Federal Location Federal Clients Socioeconomics Contracts Won • Overall sizes of • Locations of • Types of • Which firms firms contracts departments, • Small business • Places of • Nature of agencies? (by NAICS of performance of competitions • How do they interest)? their federal • Sizes of buy? • Other contracts contracts • How much socioeconomic • Prime vs. sub advance notice characteristics did they (e.g., woman- provide? owned)? • How was the underlying RFP or combined synopsis/solicit ation structured? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 50
  52. 52. How to Do the Research: Sizing Federal Market Niches Can generate a lot of data quickly. Are their Requires analytic rigor. federal Electronic Sources market niches of high potential Learn the rules. value to your Can yield superior firm? results. Human Intel Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 51
  53. 53. Sizing Federal Markets Key Electronic Sources Federal Procurement Data System FedSpending.Org Federal Business Opportunities Active Contracts Lists GSA Schedule Sales Query Traditional Web Searches Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 52
  54. 54. Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) www.fpds.gov Powerful “ad hoc” reports Complex query setup procedure... ...but user support is good. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 53
  55. 55. FPDS (cont’d.) ~100 data elements. A few Query Example examples: • Federal agency or dep’t. • How much did the federal • Contracting office government spend on • Services procured construction: • $ amount of contract • In the City of X • Period of performance • Via design/build contracts • Type of acquisition method used • In 2008 by federal agency • By federal agency • Principal place of performance • By contractor name • By type of competition (e.g., set-aside vs. full-and-open) Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 54
  56. 56. FedSpending.Org www.fedspending.org Relatively easy to use Better than FPDS at spanning years Especially quick tool for researching your benchmark firms and competitors Virtually no ability to customize output Most output reports contain too much information Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 55
  57. 57. Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) www.fedbizopps.gov Maintains substantial amount of recent award data; it’s not just a tool for looking for future opportunities Use it in combination with FPDS and FedSpending.Org Often is the best way to obtain details on how competitions were structured. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 56
  58. 58. Active Contracts Lists Look on Web sites of individual federal agencies and departments Some are sophisticated—allow Web-based queries Others are static (e.g., PDFs) Example: Dep’t. of Energy’s Can help you find details Active Contracts List http://padsonline.energy.gov/ regarding contracting types, default.cfm amounts spent, contracting style; but typically provide no detail on competition types Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 57
  59. 59. GSA’s “Schedule Sales Query” http://ssq.gsa.gov Some details on sales under GSA contracts—e.g., by GSA contractor; service area, such as “Env. Remediation;” and by fiscal year & quarter Does not identify federal agencies or departments ordered the services. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 58
  60. 60. Traditional Web Searches Can be an excellent complement to FPDS and other dedicated sources Can help fill in data gaps in your attempts to characterize existing federal niche markets Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 59
  61. 61. Sizing Federal Markets Key “Human Intel” Sources Federal Contracting Officers Federal program managers Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Colleagues in the industry Industry associations Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 60
  62. 62. Research yields actionable intelligence. $40,000,000 $30,000,000 $20,000,000 $10,000,000 Full & Open Competition VOSB Set-Aside Competition $0 Small Business Set-Aside Non-Competitive GSA Task Order 8(a) Sole Source Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 61
  63. 63. Research yields actionable intelligence (e.g., competitors, benchmark firms) $60,000,000 $50,000,000 Veteran's Affairs $40,000,000 USAF U.S. Navy $30,000,000 U.S. EPA U.S. Coast Guard $20,000,000 Public Buildings Service Nat. Park Service $10,000,000 FAA Dep't. of Energy $0 Dep't. of Army Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 62
  64. 64. Part IV Should your firm enter the federal market? Advantages and disadvantages. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 63
  65. 65. Re-cap Parts I, II, and III of Are there potentially good this market niches for your firm? briefing. Making a sound decision requires both types of analysis. Do you want to enter the Part IV (this part). federal market quickly? Advantages, disadvantages. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 64
  66. 66. Jump into the federal market quickly? Advantages, e.g.: Financial Diversification Morale Firm’s valuation Disadvantages, e.g.: Risk of failure Burdens of success Potential impacts on commercial business segment Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 65
  67. 67. Key Advantages of Entering Federal Market Quickly 1. Opportunity to replace revenues. 2. No credit risk and timely payment. 3. Reduce average selling costs—low-hanging fruit. 4. Can be countercyclical (an understatement in today’s economy). Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 66
  68. 68. Key Advantages (cont’d.) 5. Good training for newer managers. 6. Improved diversification: − Functional − Geographic − Sectoral—perhaps the most important in today’s economy Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 67
  69. 69. Key Advantages (cont’d.) 7. Initiate potentially long-lasting, sustainable client relationships. 8. Boost morale, image. 9. Potentially increase firm’s valuation. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 68
  70. 70. Key Disadvantages 1. Marketing risk. 2. Performance risk. 3. Known administrative burdens, such as: – Reporting – Timesheet policies – Compliance with federal requirements (e.g., VETS- 100). – Unique federal contract clauses (e.g., Price Reductions Clause in GSA contracts) Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 69
  71. 71. Key Disadvantages (cont’d.) 4. Federal cost accounting rules that apply to some types of federal contracts 5. Unanticipated burdens (e.g., changes in federal procurement policies; “bilateral” contract mods that are essentially unilateral mods). 6. Adverse impacts on commercial segments of your business—formal or informal. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 70
  72. 72. Badly-Conceived Rationales Any revenues are good revenues in this market. Our competitors are doing it—therefore, we should too. The federal government will be lucky to have us. Inside knowledge—and failure to worry about conflicts of interest or federal procurement integrity rules. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 71
  73. 73. Part V How can you find specific opportunities for your firm? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 72
  74. 74. Objectives... As far in advance as possible—”over the horizon” Federal opportunities in your niches Understand your competition Distinguish between “projects” and “contract vehicles” You need both. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 73
  75. 75. How to Find “Quick” Opportunities Can be overwhelming; stick to your niches. Rarely is sufficient. Identify federal Electronic contract Sources vehicles and specific opportunities in your firm’s The rules are complex. market niches. Networking, sharing is a “force multiplier.” Walk the halls. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 74
  76. 76. Finding Opportunities in Federal Markets Key Electronic Sources “Recovery Act” Lists Posted on the Web Federal Business Opportunities (redux) Acquisition Forecasts Active Contracts Lists (redux): Expiring Contracts GSA eLibrary GSA eBuy Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 75
  77. 77. “Recovery Act” Lists via Web Example: Excerpt from DOD Report to Congress on Implementation of Recovery Act www.defense.gov/recovery/plans_re ports/2009/march/Final_ARRA_Rep ort_to_Congress- 24_Mar_09ver2.pdf “Recovery Act” reports to Congress can provide well- organized sets of potential leads. Key challenge: matching them up to actual procurements. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 76
  78. 78. “Recovery Act Lists”: another example (GSA Public Buildings Service) All $ in $000 Example: Excerpt from Public Buildings Service Report to Congress on Implementation of Recovery Act http://www.gsa.gov/graphics/pbs/American_Recovery_and_Reinvestment_Act_2009.pdf] Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 77
  79. 79. FedBizOpps: Forward looking FedBizOpps www.fedbizopps.gov Most opportunities >$25,000 (with notable exception of most competitions for GSA task orders) Powerful search tools: e.g., “search agents” Automatic notification tools Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 78
  80. 80. Acquisition Forecasts Example: EPA Procurement Forecast www.epa.gov/oam/ Look on federal agency and departments’ websites Are often outdated... ...but can provide valuable starting points for human intelligence gathering. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 79
  81. 81. Acquisition Forecasts: Another example (GSA PBS) Example: Public Buildings Service/GSA Forecast of Contracting Opportunities www.gsa.gov/ [Search on “forecast of contracting opportunities”] Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 80
  82. 82. Active Contracts Lists—Look for expiring contracts Example: Department of Energy http://padsonline.energy.gov/ Default.cfm Search for contracts with expiration dates in the medium-term future. Can be excellent networking resource. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 81
  83. 83. GSA eLibrary GSA eLibrary www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/ Identifies different types of GSA contract vehicles, and provides easy way of reviewing their scopes Provides easy way of finding the appropriate solicitation document. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 82
  84. 84. GSA eLibrary Identify GSA Contract Vehicles that might be good fits for your firm. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 83
  85. 85. GSA eLibrary Identify GSA Contract Vehicles that might be good fits for your firm. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 84
  86. 86. GSA eBuy GSA eBuy www.ebuy.gsa.gov/advgsa/ advantage/ebuy/start_page.do Identifies competitive task orders for GSA contractors. Of limited use to firms that don’t yet have GSA contracts. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 85
  87. 87. Finding Specific Opportunities Key “Human Intel” Sources Have continuous contact with other firms in the market – Potential subs – Potential primes – Sources of market intelligence Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 86
  88. 88. Finding Specific Opportunities Key “Human Intel” Sources (cont’d.) Share intelligence with firms that are already successful in the federal market. Participate in industry-based forums and meetings aimed at federal sector, such as Society of American Military Engineers; Associated General Contractors of America. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 87
  89. 89. Finding Specific Opportunities Key “Human Intel” Sources (cont’d.) Reach out to Contracting Officers in your federal niches. – Come armed with your research on the niche. – Do not hesitate to ask about contracting vehicles for quick response, “Recovery Act” projects. Federal program managers. Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 88
  90. 90. Part VI Realistic options for entering the federal market for the first time. What can you do right now to prepare? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 89
  91. 91. Key action items: things you can do in the next month. Pursue Oppor- tunities Build Infra- structure Develop a Find Contract Niches Vehicle Strategy Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 90
  92. 92. Find/define your ideal federal market niche(s). Your firm’s profile Benchmark Federal firms, purchasers’ competitors preferences Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 91
  93. 93. Build infrastructure to pursue and manage federal projects. Develop or position resources, e.g.: – SF 330 software (plenty of vendors out there) – SF 330 consultants (e.g., Nancy Usrey) – Proposal writers (e.g., Kim Fletcher) Develop and implement process for scouring data sources for specific near-term federal opportunities – DIY (do it yourself) – DIFM (do it for me) Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 92
  94. 94. Build infrastructure (cont’d.) Strategic hires—a golden time to attract talented federal market stars who are ready to break free from larger, well-established federal firms. Strategic acquisitions of small, established firms. Review reasonably recent RFPs, RFQs, Combined Synopsis/Solicitation (SF 330) announcements in your niches. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 93
  95. 95. Build infrastructure (cont’d.) Register in appropriate federal government systems Central Contractor Registration (CCR) www.ccr.gov Online Representations and Certification Application (ORCA) https://orca.bpn.gov/login.aspx Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 94
  96. 96. Develop a strategy for contract vehicles. “Sure win” contract vehicle—GSA—if it makes sense for your firm. Prime Small, multiple award prime contracts. Set-aside competitions (if you qualify). Contracts Head-to-head, winner-take all contracts. Understand what prime contractors are seeking: often, socioeconomic evaluation points. Subcontracts Seek situations that can be reversed—e.g., will the prime contractor switch roles in a small business set-aside? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 95
  97. 97. Ideal contract vehicle strategy for your firm depends on... Characteristics of your target niches. Types of RFPs (best value) or SF 330 Competitions (Quality Based Selection) that are utilized within these niches. Your ability to compete within each framework. Your willingness to take on risks/rewards of being a prime contractor vs. a subcontractor. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 96
  98. 98. Pursue near-term opportunities Contract vehicles, no specific projects – Prime – Subcontract Respond to RFPs, RFQs, SF 330s Join teams, as a subcontractor (or JV partner) Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 97
  99. 99. Position your firm... Increase firm’s name recognition in federal engineering and environmental markets − Among potential federal clients − Among potential teaming partners Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 98
  100. 100. Positioning & Relationships (cont’d.) Your firm should evoke sense of: – A “safe buy”: responsive to federal clients, on technical and administrative/contractual issues – Accessible: Contractual (or subcontractual) vehicles that are easy for federal buyers to use – High-quality provider, with a proven track record – Excellent blend of expertise, resources, services – Prestigious provider of services—an industry quality leader Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 99
  101. 101. Positioning & Relationships (cont’d.) Frequently visit federal staff members Use “laddered” approach: assign appropriate staff to make contacts at all levels) - Program office staff - Program office management - Contracting office staff Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 100
  102. 102. Positioning and Relationships (cont’d.) Invite federal staff to speak at firm’s events (e.g., Executive Forums). Present briefings on topics of interest to small groups of potential clients. Frequently place speakers from your firm at conferences typically attended by current or potential federal clients. Publish white papers, blog entries, etc., customized to federal audience. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 101
  103. 103. Positioning and Relationships (cont’d.) Brochures customized for federal consulting market Customized section of your corporate web site. Don’t let your web site belie your stated interest in pursuing federal business. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 102
  104. 104. 321 Commonwealth Road Suite 101 Wayland, MA 01778 Tel: 800-466-6275, 508-651-1559 M-F 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM (EST) Anytime: Fax: 800-842-1560 or 508-653-6522 info@zweigwhite.com Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 103

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