Who Do We Love?

As we wind down February, we wanted to take a quick moment to show some love to a few folks in the GovCon industry. We think these resources are valuable for growing GovCons.  If you think we might be forgetting anyone go ahead and share the love!

  • The Pulse – this is a must-read for anyone in business development in GovCon. Their latest edition covers over 114 Opportunities. They have a compiled list of industry days, outreach events and things you need to know about. Their snarky is our brand of snarky and we love them for it. Better yet, it’s Free. Seriously. Join their distro list here.
  • PTACs – If you are just starting off in the industry, our best advice is to not waste time or money on service providers but use your local PTAC and SBA office. They can help you register on SAMS, work on your first capabilities statement, provide insights on getting your business off the ground. Many of their classes are taught by experts and are low-cost. We particularly heart Anna Urman at the Virginia PTAP. Anna knows her stuff and practically everyone in the industry.
  • Insight from the Experts – The GovCon industry has many, many events and it’s sometimes hard to wade through them. We find that when industry guru Kevin Plexico speaks, we listen. His data is always on point, his research is sound and is a great wide view of the federal landscape. We also love Bloomberg events. They bring in speakers with a wide variety of expertise and experience. Most of the events are free and great for sniffing out trends.
  • myFedBeacon – It’s all the power of FBO in your pocket. This app allows you to stay on track of your opportunities, your competitors and your frenemies. We love the approach of “spend 10 mins a day to keep the stale pipeline away.”
  • NVSBC Washington Chapter (National Veteran Small Business Coalition) – If you are an SDVOSB or looking to team with one, you have got to come to the best networking event around with the NVSBC. The boot camps are informative; the networking is real and the view is amazing.
  • govmates – Yes, we’re biased, but you would be too! govmates is a free online teaming platform (think match.com for GovCon). Small contractors enter in their profile (should take less than 10 mins). Large contractors or those priming and looking for teammates ask us for specific criteria and we prepare a report with those that match. We email introductions and then it’s up to you! govmates has also launched its new conference offering for matchmaking. Know of any organization that wants to take its matchmaking offering to a new level? Email us to help!
    Now you know who we love! So, who do YOU love?

March MADNESS in GovCon

As we work on our brackets here at BOOST (okay, Lisa is working on her bracket…she’s already dominated in fantasy football), I’m compelled to write on a few bouts of madness that we’ve observed this year.

  • Chasing Phantom Work – If we got paid for every time someone approached us with “my prime will give us workshare if we just find the right candidate,” we’d have cashed out years ago. Folks, the whole “best athlete on the field” thing on an IDIQ vehicle does NOT pay your bills. It’s a way to increase revenue for the prime while filling impossible slots that their recruiting shop has chewed through over the past four months. If you have an elusive TS/SCI with Poly doing cool stuff – demand more workshare or try to funnel it to you as a Prime. Don’t chase workshare that doesn’t exist.
  • Using your friends and family network – While everyone relies on their network when they first start, if you are still using your unqualified nephew to run your contracts, accounting or BD shops after your first couple million in revenue…STOP. Move the family relations back to Sunday dinners and focus on your business. You need to up your game and utilize folks who can help you grow.
  • Doing it all yourself – If you are a CEO who still is handling all your back-office, and business development, writing proposals, are direct billed and are over a million in revenue, you are doing it wrong. It’s time to stop relying on your billable margins and build a company that grows. Outsource the back-office and focus on business development, proposals, client management and building relationships. CEOs close. Period. Spend your time on growing your company, growing your relationships and your team. Give up a little in margins now so that you can enjoy the growth sooner.
  • Desk-slave – If you spend most of your time hiding behind your laptop, crossing emails off your to-do list, you are a manager, not a CEO. If you, as CEO, don’t get out from behind your laptop and engage with your clients, your employees, your business partners and your providers, you will be forgotten. Partners want to team with folks who know Intel. Clients want to know that you are engaged. Employees want to see you occasionally. Quit hiding and thinking that your business will grow. Get out there and HUSTLE. Attend events. Stay on top of the industry. Know your competitive landscape and who is winning and losing.

I know, all harsh truths are easier to say than to do. But you are in control of your growth. Merely being an observer gets you nowhere. Own your success.

As you take a hard look at these truths and discover where you can improve, let BOOST LLC help to support you in those efforts. At BOOST we specialize in providing the right people to support your back office so you can do what needs doing on the front lines. As the only Back-Office Support company with a direct link to the area’s leading matchmaking company we can not only support your Human Resources, Contracts, Recruiting and Accounting efforts but your matchmaking dreams as well. For more information or to simply see what we’re about visit www.BOOSTLLC.netor email Stephanie Alexander at [email protected]

March Madness in Federal Government

So much for our brackets (okay, Va Tech was a long shot, but what the heck UVA?), we’re extending our musings on a few bouts of madness that we’ve observed this year within the government.

  • Budget – Everything about it is broken. Everything. The Continuing Resolutions. The riders for pet projects. The need to “use or lose” all the funding. The complete lack of accountability for your actions. I must believe that most agencies would agree. Yet, where is the call for actual, real reform? We beat our chests every time we get close to a government shutdown, but otherwise, there is no discussion on making real changes to the process. Industry can provide suggestions, but this is fundamentally government responsibility impacting all Americans. Fix this aspect of government and there is a waterfall impact that positively impacts the economy. Come up with a better budgeting process.
  • RFPs – While absolutely no one enjoys writing an RFP, nor responding to one, having a clearly articulated RFP with transparency regarding your agency’s needs is critical. With clarity, the industry can provide their best solution at their best price in response. Imagine the source selection team reading qualified, thoughtful solutions. The government wins. Spend time pre-RFP to talk to the industry and tailor your RFP to meet your needs. It’s not illegal…it’s encouraged!
  • Same Old Contractors, Same Old Solutions – I completely understand that we all have our favorites, but ask yourself, has your favorite really helped your agency move the ball or are they just checking time? Instead of going to your old standby or short list, how about giving a new player a chance? How often have you sole-sourced something as a check in the box without really looking to see if there are other players in the industry who can meet the need? Have you looked beyond the three same contractors who respond to your RFP? Outreach is not hard and it serves the agency to have fresh blood in the mix. Expand your network and reach.
  • Responsibility. We get that as for-profit contractors, we are often viewed as beltway bandits. In reality, many are small businesses trying to make a difference. Holding up contract mods with funding or approving invoices in the billing system has a direct impact on our business. What seems like a mundane task is one of the most important for a small GovCons. We operate on thin margins and don’t have the cash to float months of payroll. Process the paperwork in a timely fashion.
    As a government official, you have a lot of responsibility – not only to your agency but to the taxpayer. Taking the above into consideration benefits all of us in the ecosystem.

They say madness gets worse before it gets better, but how much worse are we willing to stomach? If each of us does our part to make the RFP process, solution options and budget shortfalls our responsibility, maybe, just maybe there will be a slice of pie for all of us! We all have our own bouts of madness and we’ve been happy to shine a light on ours. Where do you find madness in GovCon and more importantly, what do you propose we do to find a solution?