Back At It

With another swampy DC summer under our belts, we start to move into fall, which is generally a pretty busy time for federal contractors. As we squeeze out the last two weeks before Labor Day, a few things to keep in mind.

  • Proposal Season is Complete – are you ready to execute?

Most of the end of year proposals have been submitted, and September becomes award season. Have you looked over the key staff you proposed and reached out for their availability? Are you pipelining candidates to ensure you can transition and staff up quickly? Have you started looking at project plans?

  • Senior Leadership Alignment –

Summer (despite proposal hell) is usually filled with vacation times, short weeks, and lots of in and out of the office. Does your senior leadership team need to reconnect?  Do you need to review your progress on CY17 goals and what needs to be done to meet them in the next 4 months? CY18 budgeting and planning will be here before you know it. Don’t miss the opportunity to finish this year strong.

  • Process and Procedures –

When used effectively, having standardized processes for every day can help streamline your organization, maintain higher quality and most importantly, make you efficient. When the process is too cumbersome and too overbearing, it’s either ignored or used as an excuse. Eliminate the crap you don’t use, highlight and tailor what you do use.

  • Mentality 

Small businesses and GovCon in particular is a grind. There is FAR regulation, in-sourcing, LPTA, proposals that never get awarded, protests, agencies that can’t figure out what they want, and funding issues. It is pretty easy to question your sanity in this world. To that end, make sure you have rested, recharged, spent time with friends and family and generally just realigned your head toward growth.

If you need help with any of the above, reach out! BOOST is happy to assist with a streamlined approach as well as providing you the extra brain-space to tackle your next big project! Simply email me [email protected], and we’ll get the conversation started.

Proposal Hell

As we wind down the major proposal season in GovCon, it is time to take a step back and reflect on our current process.  Did it work?  Do you feel like it was as well executed as it should be?  Did you have a plan for what you bid on and did it align with your strategy for your company?  Did you go after ‘just anything or everything’ to see what stuck on the wall?

As organizations mature, their proposal strategy evolves.  Let’s face it, in the beginning, we’re just happy to be invited to the dance, even as a sub.  So, we’ll bid on blue birds; we’ll stretch our rates, our margins, our past performance and occasionally our credibility.  How many go/no-go meetings have you been in where the phase “loss-leader” or just enough for “past performance” are mentioned?  The theory being that you’ll grow the business organically, you’ll have a leg up on the competition for any additional scope/work, you’ll have a past performance that you can cite in other bids and the idea that it adds to the direct labor base.

Too many times, this “win” becomes the anchor of the organization.  All of management’s time is spent on the contract, which turns into a dog that no one wants to work.  No raises are accounted for, the indirect rates won’t allow any extra costs, recruiting and retention become a nightmare.  Generally, it takes just one of these contracts to learn the hard lesson on being strategic in what you pursue.

Organizations eventually evolve into work that fits more in their niche.  The struggle then is that they become very comfortable with their current clients and niche.  Then more questions arise. Do you continue to push your organization to go after new clients and additional skill sets?  Do you suffer from incumbent-itis?  How do you motivate your team to approach the re-compete with the same vigor as new work, when quite frankly, all we want to do is dust off the old bid and update it?

In summary, everyone is essentially in proposal hell, no matter where you are in the lifecycle.  The important piece is realizing it, addressing the issues and turning them into an advantage over your competition.  What can you do to be better or to be heard in a crowded field?

If you’re seeking proposal assistance or back-office support visit BOOST LLC or send an email to Stephanie Alexander at [email protected]