Cyber Strong

It’s Friday the 13th with Halloween just a few short weeks away (side note: where did this year go?). What frightens you, growing GovCon? Often its lack of differentiation, lack of funding, stale growth, stiff competition (at lower rates!), budget cuts and finding qualified, capable teammates. Here’s one more ill to add to the pile…Cyber Compliance.

At BOOST, we’ve been lucky to have amazing Cyber experts as clients. We love this community – they get shit done. Whether they are on the offense or playing D, they love a good fight, they love to find the loopholes, they challenge the established, and they do it well. This mindset goes well beyond the traditional, old school, fill-in-the-seats GovCon. These types of companies are exactly what the government needs to fight the bad guys.

Having these people in our network has helped open our eyes to the new regulations at the end of the year circling around the new FAR clause that includes CUI compliance. As we all scramble towards the path of compliance, take a step back and ask yourself, what is your organization doing to keep its information secure? What would you do if your organization was compromised or hacked? Do you have a plan? More importantly, is this even on your radar?

All things cyber can be quite scary for a startup, especially if cyber and/or IT is not your background. We must rely on the experts and their guidance. They are out there – many newly established, single -person consultants who are trying to ride the wave of doom and gloom on CUI. Be careful when choosing with whom you’re going to work. BOOST’s partner has been in the business for 10+ years, talks the talk and walks the walk. The company has published books on cyber compliance and is well known in the industry. (Shout out to EmeSec!)

In short, don’t fear the compliance changes that are coming but look to strengthen your company in areas of risk. Grow your network to include expertise in this area. It’s not going away and can help reduce your liability as you grow and scale. Cyber security isn’t simply an industry; it’s a necessity for your business.

If you need a recommendation or introduction, I know a group. Reach out and let’s get you on the path to strong cyber, [email protected].

Island Life

The ubiquitous aspiration of many a small government contractor is the $100MN revenue mark followed by the sale of their business (no doubt at a lofty multiple) coupled with the purchase of a private tropical island complete with oceanside beverage service.  Much like an old wives’ tale, the reality in such assumptions is lacking but always makes for good fodder at a Tyson’s Corner M&A networking event.

But as you grow your government contracting business, being an island unto your own is exactly the opposite of what your strategy should be. We all covet the position of being the Prime Contractor; subcontractors are always at a disadvantage when it comes to workshare, profitability and customer relationships. However, isn’t having a piece of something better than always going it alone, with zero to show for it?

The government contracting industry is awash with stories of mistreatment by partners, workshare-greedy primes and small businesses who think they simply can do it all.  Most have been subjected to an unfortunate teaming experience that has negatively influenced their thinking, or have bought into the idea that their company is the federal contracting equivalent of Superman and can do anything. Let me be the first to tell you, it’s not. It’s hard to do everything in GovCon, even more so as a small business. Teaming with others will allow you to CREDIBLY expand your capabilities, utilize other’s strengths and provide a more robust solution to the government.

How you choose to find and vet a partner is critical. Are you relying on your business development lead’s Rolodex (and why do we still say Rolodex)? Going to the same group of folks for the same boilerplate response is not innovative, nor compelling. Try relying upon a formulaic and methodical approach for teaming by expanding beyond your network to find other likeminded companies with the past performance or capabilities that you need for a winning bid. govmates, an online teaming platform for growing GovCons, can help with this. Once a potential teammate is identified, really vet the company.  Having a similar bidding style, rate structure and overall corporate culture is critical and will help in execution.

No one likes to go it alone.  There is safety (and revenue) in numbers, especially in the small business federal contracting community.

Need help finding a teammate?  Send me a note at [email protected]