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 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
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
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
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
Part I


    Why re-consider? The big
    picture.




Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC   www.zweigwhite.com   4
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
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
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
But also, Crisis = new potential issues



                                             New
                                           Scrutiny

                                     New Constraints


                                         New Reporting

Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC          www.zweigwhite.com   8
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
...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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
Example: Multiple Award; A/E; SF 330;
    Quality Based Selection; Task Order
    Contract (indefinite)




Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC   www.zweigwhite.com   37
Example: Single award; RFP; “cost/
    technical” best value tradeoff; definitive
    project




Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC   www.zweigwhite.com   38
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
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
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
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
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
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
Part III


    Are there federal market niches
    that offer substantial
    opportunities for your firm?



Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC   www.zweigwhite.com   45
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Part IV


    Should your firm enter the federal
    market? Advantages and
    disadvantages.



Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC   www.zweigwhite.com   63
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Part V


    How can you find specific
    opportunities for your firm?




Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC   www.zweigwhite.com   72
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
GSA eLibrary
    Identify GSA Contract Vehicles that might be
    good fits for your firm.




Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC   www.zweigwhite.com   83
GSA eLibrary
    Identify GSA Contract Vehicles that might be
    good fits for your firm.




Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC   www.zweigwhite.com   84
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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Enter Federal Market Quickly

  • 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. 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. 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. 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. Part I Why re-consider? The big picture. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 4
  • 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. 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. 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. But also, Crisis = new potential issues New Scrutiny New Constraints New Reporting Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 8
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. ...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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. “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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Example: Multiple Award; A/E; SF 330; Quality Based Selection; Task Order Contract (indefinite) Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 37
  • 39. Example: Single award; RFP; “cost/ technical” best value tradeoff; definitive project Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 38
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Part III Are there federal market niches that offer substantial opportunities for your firm? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 45
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Part IV Should your firm enter the federal market? Advantages and disadvantages. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 63
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Part V How can you find specific opportunities for your firm? Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 72
  • 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. 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. 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. “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. “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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. GSA eLibrary Identify GSA Contract Vehicles that might be good fits for your firm. Copyright 2009 Lincoln Strategies, LLC www.zweigwhite.com 83
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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