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Build Loyalty Within Your Company

Cultivating a sense of loyalty amongst your employees is one of the most important things to be doing right now. We say right now because there’s a global talent shortage that’s hitting companies everywhere, GovCons not excluded. So retaining your people is more of a priority than ever.

But there are other reasons you want the loyalty of your employees.  People who are emotionally invested in their work tend to do it better. They also go above and beyond when the company needs them to.

Essentially, you want your people to want to come to work each day, or as close as you can get to that.

Below, we’re going to talk about some ways that your government contracting company can work to build loyalty within your organization.

Your Company Culture Is the Foundation of Loyalty

The first step to building loyalty is ensuring that your company culture is one that people want to be a part of.

Your company culture should reflect the values that you hold as an organization. It should also be a place where people feel like they can be themselves, and where they feel supported by their colleagues.

If your company culture is strong, your employees will be more likely to feel a sense of loyalty to the organization.

Make sure that you’re regularly communicating your company’s values to your employees, and that you’re living those values in the way that you operate.

And it’s true that there’s a stigma about government contractors not having much of a culture. Of course we know that’s not the truth of things, but there’s no denying that the perception is there. Be the GovCon to change that perception. Keep things interesting, and keep your people invested.

Give Your People What They Want

True, you might be investing a lot into your employees, but are you really giving them what they want?

Your employees want to be challenged at work, and they want their accomplishments to be acknowledged by their bosses and their peers. They want to feel like they’re learning and growing in their roles. They also want to have a good work/life balance and feel like their job is flexible enough to accommodate the rest of their life.

You’d be surprised how many government contractor companies are throwing benefits and perks at their employees without accomplishing those things. Could be that your company is doing just that and you don’t even know it. For example, maybe you’re buying lunch for everybody twice a month from Joe’s Big Beef Shack while being totally unaware of the fact that a third of your employees are vegetarian.

So the question now is how do you go about finding out what your employees really want? It’s actually very easy. You ask them. Or, more specifically, you work with your HR department to find a way to ask them.

Once you know what it is that your employees really want, you can start working on providing it to them.

Foster Pride in Your Mission

When it comes down to it, government contractors are working for the people of the United States.  That’s a pretty big deal, and it should be something that your employees are proud of.

Make sure that you’re constantly communicating the mission of the company to your employees, and make sure that they understand how their work contributes to that mission.

You can do this by sharing stories about how your company has helped achieve success on a project, or by sharing articles or blog posts about the work that you’re doing.

When your employees feel proud of their work, they’ll be more likely to feel loyalty to the company.

We Can Help You With Recruiting and Retention

At BOOST, we help government contractors by providing an array of back-office services. Whether your company is looking to recruit the best candidates, or you need to keep the people you have, we’re the right team for the job. Contact Us today, and let’s talk about how we can assist.

The Power of No

After what can only be described as a waffling phone call earlier this week with a potential client, it made me want to issue this PSA:Saying “no” to an opportunity, a service, a contract, a teammate, or even a prospective employee, is one of the best gifts you can give.

When you concretely say “no,” you are valuing the other person’s time and energy. Whether that’s during recruiting, contract negotiation, or anything in between, it’s the right thing to do. They no longer have to put you on the follow up list, they no longer will spend mental energy trying to figure out where they stand in the process.  They are empowered to move on and spend their energy on other opportunities.  THIS IS A GIFT to all parties. 

Too many times people are scared to commit to an answer.  They are scared of losing out, so they drag out the relationship and suck up energy and effort on both sides.  They don’t want to hurt the other party’s feelings. They don’t want to own their decision. They don’t want to address their answer.   But what they fail to recognize is that this is a mental drain on themselves.

The best answer you can give anyone requesting something or a candidate during recruiting is “Yes.”  The second best answer is “No.”  Ambiguity or playing out the answers until you are 100% sure is a mental suck.  

Embrace making a decision.  Embrace follow up and providing a solid “Yes (or ‘no’ if applicable), or follow up with me in XX months.”

On another note, if the party who was told no asks for any feedback, most of the time it’s not because they want to change your mind (although that absolutely does happen on occasion).  If they are like me, they just want to know where they could do better.  What about our proposal didn’t resonate, what didn’t hit right with you?  It’s no different than asking for a debrief after putting blood, sweat and tears into an RFP response and losing.  Providing just 5 mins worth of feedback is incredibly helpful and allows that person to grow.  And isn’t that what we all want?

If you’ve just had it with recruiting, negotiating contracts, or any of the back-office work that comes along with operating within the world of GovCons, that’s totally okay. Sometimes the idea of having to deal with all your yes-or-no obligations is exhausting in itself. 

At BOOST, that’s what we do. We make operating your GovCon business that much easier by handling those things for you. Whether it’s HR, accounting, contracts, or recruiting, we’ve got you covered. 

Trust us, this is one of those things you’ll want to say “yes” to.

Mid-Year Accounting for GovCons, What You Need to Know!

It is mid-year planning time, and our Accounting Team would love to share with you a few items that should be on your radar. We are here to help you succeed, and we are committed to Quality, Proactiveness, and Communication.

Let’s jump right in!

 

  1. Budgeting and Forecasting – Budgeting and Forecasting are very important to track projected gains or losses. A few items to think about: Are you forecasting quarterly? If not, you should! Ensuring full visibility on how your projections are going against actuals is extremely important for stability and planning for growth. Additionally, if your 2021 budget is not trending upward as expected, you need to know why, and what is causing the variance. For 2022 budgets, August and September are the perfect months to start planning before the end of the year rolls around and you are scrambling to get one set up.
  2. Pipeline – Planning for growth requires a lot of effort, specifically creating a healthy pipeline. Make sure you keep on top of your projections as well as your winning strategy. Review your pipeline no less than bi-weekly. What changes are needed to ensure success? Do you have the right partnerships/subcontractors? Are there any events occurring that would put you in the game? Are you marketing to the right people? Do you have the right credentials needed to win more work?
  3. Pricing – This is a big one. When was the last time you reviewed your pricing? Are you competitive enough? If you do not feel comfortable with your pricing, now is the time to take action. In the govcon space, you cannot afford to be asleep on the wheel. Taking a proactive approach to monitoring your pricing and making adjustments is a must.
  4. Accounts Receivables – Cash is KING! How is your AR trending? Do you have a lot of uncollected cash sitting in your 60-90 days of aging? It is imperative that you review your AR monthly, and if in a cash crunch, review it weekly. Keep on top of sending collections reminders and make it very easy for your clients to make payments, whether that be offering ACH options or a 3rd party service like bill.com. Bottom line is to make it extremely easy for them to pay.  Additionally, do you have amazing clients that pay promptly? If so, and if your company can afford it, offer an incentive or discount for prompt payments! Relationship building is key to the success of your business.
  5. Accounts Payables – On the contrary, are you paying your vendors extremely fast? Are you seeing your AP aging is less than 30 days? It is important to know how these quick-pay behaviors impact your cash. It is ideal to keep vendor agreements to 30-45 days, and only priority vendors as less than 30 or pay upon receipt. It is a great time to review your vendor payment terms and renegotiate if needed.
  6. Vendor Analysis – How long has it been since you last negotiated payment terms with your vendors? When was the last time you looked at your priority vendors to ensure a mitigation plan is in place should such vendors cease to exist? When was the last time you rated your vendors’ performance, quality, and services? This is the perfect time to put thought and energy into these pieces!
  7. 1099 Preparation – Do you have W9s for all qualified vendors? 1099 submission deadline is right around the corner (end of the year) and taking a proactive approach to ensure you have all W9s would ensure compliance. If you find you don’t have W9s, reach out to your vendors now and give them plenty of time to reply with one. Create a folder to keep track of them, or make sure to upload them to your accounting system. Additionally, you should have them marked as 1099 in your system for reporting the total value paid. If you have paid a vendor more than $600, they will need a 1099 from you. Other considerations should be taken into account, however, it’s best practice to ask for one from all your vendors and keep records of such requests. Any vendor not complying, make sure to note that too.
  8. Indirect Rate Monitoring – When was the last time you looked at your actual monthly indirect rates and compared them to your company’s provisional billing rates? How are you trending? Have you had material change and need to submit a revised incurred cost submission? All things to consider before the end of the year.
  9. Salary, Wages & Bonuses – Have you heard of “The Great Resignation”? This is the time to review your employee’s performance bonuses, wages, and payouts. Are you competitive enough for the current job market? If not, this is the time to do a quick check for end-of-the-year bonuses and raises! How is your benefits plan matching up to your employees’ expectations? Do you need to set up a 401K matching program? Reach out to your HR representative to ensure the best benefits package is being offered, and if not, what changes are necessary? Cost-benefit analysis is key here to ensure your return on investment (ROI) is worth it.
  10. Policies and Procedures / Handbooks – Your Accounting Policies and Procedures manual should be up to date, however, if not, this is the perfect time to review and make sure it is. Do you have segregation of duties? Are you in compliance with all govcon regulations; how about GAAP? Is it documented? What is your capitalization policy? Additionally, do you have a corporate handbook that you need to revise? This is the time to make sure all your ducks are in a row and it’s well documented. Policies for HR, IT, Accounting, et all need to be in place.
  11. Tax Strategy – Have you had mid-year tax planning with your CPA? If not, this is your friendly reminder to reach out to them ASAP! Are you making estimated quarterly payments? Are you trending for a high net income and need to plan for additional expenses before year-end? Do you have any capital expenditures on hold that need to be re-evaluated? Lastly, have you made sure your 2020 tax filings have been processed and submitted due to an extension? Any changes in equity? Mergers and Acquisitions are also a hot topic this time of the year – valuations are well underway.
  12. Legal Entity Re-evaluation – Make sure that the business structure you have is the right one for your legal needs. If you are not sure, reach out to your Tax CPA and ask! Additionally, make sure you know the legal implications of any changes should you decide to make one. Do not forget, that an unfortunate event can occur at any time, and you need to be prepared. Make sure you have a succession plan and or a trust set up if anything should happen to you or a business partner!

While we are positive that we provided you a lot to chew on, BOOST also has the SMEs to back it up. If you’d rather have a conversation to dive deeper into any or all of these pieces, reach out to our accounting team at [email protected]. We’re ready to help get your books locked and loaded for your next phase of growth.

 

Eyes Forward, Eyes Back – Mid-Year Planning for GovCons

July.  How is that even possible???  We slugged through half of the year, most folks are considering a return to the office in some manner, everyone is back to working full time, and we haven’t seen a sourdough bread post in a really long time.

As we take stock of the first half of the year and start to turn toward planning out the rest of the year, here are some key things to consider:

  • Office Space. What are you doing?
    Are there additional costs associated with your plan going forward?  Fewer costs?  Remember to take these into account as you ramp up or go completely virtual or downgrade for the hybrid model.  If you need help finding space, let us know – we’ve got some great commercial realtor friends on speed dial.
  • Fringe Pool. How are your health care costs running this year?
    If you are on a self-pay plan, it might be time to take stock of how the plan is doing.  Will there be a nasty surprise at renewal time?  Start prepping now with your broker so you aren’t caught off guard.  Most brokers we know generally have more time during the summer (so many clients are on 10/1 or 1/1 renewals).  Have you reached out lately?
  • 401k. Is it part of your model?
    If you make your company contributions in chunks (i.e. not with every payroll), have you put this in your cash flow model?  While employers can take until the filing of taxes, no employee likes waiting forever for the promised match.  See if you can plan to dump the cash by year-end (if only for tax planning).
  • Speaking of which…Taxes. Have you applied for forgiveness?
    It’s been a wild 18 months, especially with PPP and CARES funds.  Have you consulted with your CPA on the impact to your taxes?  Now’s the time to start modeling out a few paths forward so you know where you need to be by year-end.  For the owners, time to start paying the piper in September for estimated taxes versus waiting for the crunch in January.  Painful no matter when you pay taxes but plan now.
  • Budget. How are your indirects running this year?
    Have you taken into consideration any changes to the business?  New contract awards (or losses)?  The costs mentioned above? Now is the time to assess and potentially rebaseline or plan.  Especially with those on CPFF contracts – how are you running against your billed rates?  No customer wants the surprise at the end of the year.
  • Incurred Costs Submissions. Did it get submitted to DCAA?
    Most were due on 6/30 (assuming a 12/31 fiscal year close).  There may be a little grace period here if you ask nicely…but get it done. One less thing to worry about. If you have ICS Questions – you can catch up with our ICS Webinar replay here.
  • HR Reports. Are you ready for submissions?
    Many are due in the next few months.  Are you starting to prep for them and pull the information required.  Is someone taking the lead on the filing?  Don’t just assume they will magically get done.
  • Pipeline Report. Are they updated and realistic?
    By now we’ve got a clearer view on what’s still potentially viable for the rest of the year.  If you were planning on POLARIS or CIO-SP4 revenue this year…that’s cute.  Time to scrub the low probability wins out of the report and get real clear on what’s feasible.  Are those P-wins really accurate?

Time to reassess and plan out the second part of the year.  The industry is heating up – we all are chomping at the bit to get back out on the road, and see customers, employees, and partners.  Take the time to do a gut check before it gets crazy. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, reach out! BOOST has a variety of partners and friends to help meet your needs.

Polaris and CIO-SP4 – A Podcast Discussion

Click the Image to Play the Episode

In this episode of GovCon Untethered, Meg sits down with Jonathan McClure of Global Services to discuss proposal-related topics as they pertain to Polaris, CIO-SP4, and more.

Episode Action Items:

– Know your bid, no-bid strategy to make informed decisions.
– Prepare ahead of the RFP drop, the draft will give you a good starting place for building your proposal.
– Catch the Industry Days when possible to get your questions answered OR to see what others are asking that you may not have considered.

Connect with Jonathan McClure here.
Connect with Meg Kerns on LinkedIn.
Follow Global Services on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Follow BOOST LLC on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Polaris GWAC Blog

Two Communication Breakdowns that Put Proposals at Risk and How to Avoid Them

 

Budgeting for GovCons 2022 – Do You Get December-itis

December starts a very interesting month for those in business. It’s usually the winding-down of a calendar year with holidays, celebrations, and a chance to breathe. This year, as we already know, is one like no other. With less opportunity to party or travel it allows for the time to look ahead, set new goals, budget for the coming year, and plan for new services, products, and opportunities. But where should you start?

Luckily BOOST is seasoned in transitioning to new opportunities and building your business from the last notes of Auld Lang Syne all the way through the new year. Here’s what we recommend and a hint: the central theme is Plan for Your Growth.

Budgeting for GovCons:

What are the things you’ve neglected this year that you wanted to add but didn’t because of “the budget” or more importantly because of 2020? Did you skimp on marketing, hiring, or company culture-building activities? Add these into the 2022 budget (if you haven’t already) to help make sure they happen. Also, over-shoot the budget just a little. Give yourself wiggle room for hiring that stellar BD person or to celebrate new milestones that you didn’t expect to hit just yet.

Hiring:

Growth is good. Growth also means you’ll need to work on delegating some of your, or your team’s tasks to new hires. Where do you find these new hires? Great question. We recommend working with a talent acquisition team that can be dedicated to finding and delivering the best potential fit for your team. Once you’ve welcomed your new hires on day one, don’t forget about the ongoing onboarding process. Solidifying your onboarding processes prior to hiring will help you and your new employees to have a stronger (and more loyal) relationship in the long run.

Partnering:

Let’s talk about lawyers, not many people like them, but everyone in business needs them. (We’re exceptionally lucky that our lawyer is amazing and if we like you, we might even share them.) Beef up your legal teams, your outsourced accounting, CPAs, bankers, your IT service professionals, and beyond to pick up the slack in places that you don’t excel. Partnering with companies who can feed you referrals and vice versa will help you sustain growth and mitigate time spent researching these areas before it’s a three-alarm-fire for your business. If you need recommendations across the GovCon industry, BOOST can help, just ask. We’ll be happy to make an introduction.

Planning:

Even before the planning stage you’ll need to know where you stand with your current business. Are your books in order for tax season? Do you have an updated HR Manual? How are you reaching and signing most of your clients and customers? Do you have your newly awarded contract roles filled appropriately? Knowing where you currently stand in all areas of your business will help you to plan appropriately for the future in ways you can reach and exceed.

Educating:

If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t know, what we don’t know. Take time to survey the landscape of what your industry is discussing and read up on the pieces that matter, but don’t quite make sense. Do you need ISO or CMMC certifications? Are you adequately maintaining a secure cyberspace? Do you need a new accounting system? Join in on conversations, digital events, and information regarding the topics that matter to your business now and in the future you’re looking to build.

 

Take some time this month to reassess where you are, where you’re going, and where you’d like to be. BOOST can assist with introductions, assessments, and planning for your growth to help you kick off this next year in the best way possible. Goodbye 2020 (finally), and hello future.

Government 4th Quarter… Who the Heck Knows?

‘Tis the quarter of last-minute proposals, mad scrambles for key personnel, task order bidding, and trying to keep everything straight between whose team you are on and for what.  Add that to trying to manage multiple folks on vacation and everyone suffering from a bit of summer head (i.e. we’d rather be at the beach mentality).  Oh, and COVID… can’t forget work-from-home-forever, COVID.

It’s a time when some folks lose all strategic perspective and go whole-hog into the throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what hits strategy.  What is the difference between 5 proposals or 6 they think?

But….2020.  Need we say more?  Our response to practically everything these days is…2020.
Keeping all of that in mind, what does this government 4th quarter actually look like?

We’re hearing mixed results.  Some folks seem to be business as usual (which means crazy).  Our pricers are busy as are the proposal peeps.  There are a significant number of folks going after 8a STARS right now too.  But some folks are reporting that things seem quiet….eerily quiet.

For those on the quiet side, the question becomes, is there a true lack of opportunities?
Potentially, and here’s why:

  • Everyone is still focused on COVID related acquisitions
  • Money was spent on other priorities (IT infrastructure and/or pandemic related)
  • Acquisition process is slower these days due to remote work
  • Less intel opportunities since everyone is running at 50%
  • Less opportunities that are not on the large GWACs/IDIQ vehicles
  • Category management has effectively become the have and have nots, squeezing small business
  • Lack of access to government officials – everyone’s home, wandering around for snacks, not wandering the halls for business

Whatever the case may be, what’s important is that business owners and business development folks keep on top of the rumors, what they are seeing in their business and talk to their frenemies about their experiences.  Don’t be complacent that what you are seeing or experiencing is the same everywhere in GovCon.  Don’t fall into the trap or get lulled into a significant pause on your growth strategy or BD goals.

Not only do we spout great advice, we take it too. In our conversations with partners and frenemies, we’re continuously gathering new data on trends and gut feelings. Luckily for you, we don’t keep it all under wraps. BOOST is sponsoring the upcoming govmates Institute with Wolf Den & Associates titled, Virtual First: Business Development in a Post-COVID World. This event is free to govmates members. Check out the institute page and apply for a seat at the virtual institute ASAP.

What are you seeing in your line? Head over to our LinkedIn Page and join the conversation about current industry trends and where businesses are going from here.

Top Tips for Choosing an Accounting System

As we discussed previously, accounting implementations are like dentist visits (sorry dental friends), necessary but definitely not fun. Yet, before we get to the implementation part, we have to go through the process of system selection; identifying and choosing the best system for your business.

We’ve compiled what we consider to be the top tips for choosing your new system.

  1. Have a team to evaluate your options.
    The minimum number of systems you should be evaluating for implementation is three. We’ll say that again: Evaluate a minimum of three systems (but probably no more than 5) to find the best fit for your company. This means you will need a team of people from your company who understand your business processes and the nuances of your business needs to take part in the evaluation. The key stakeholders in the decision to implement a new system are:

    • Executive Leadership
    • Accountants
    • Project Managers
    • IT Admin (hosting/software)

Including people from all of these stakeholder categories will ensure that (hopefully) all needs are met when choosing a new system.

  1. Choose an End-to-End system.
    Your accounting system, once implemented, should provide you with visibility, clear reporting, and above all more time spent on BD and other tasks instead of transaction processing. The reasons you’re moving away from your previous systems are typically due to the lack of visibility, lack of streamlined processes, and increased transaction volume. These are not issues you want to bring with you to the new system. We’re looking to ease tensions, reduce integration points, and gain efficiencies through automation of end-to-end transactions.
  2. The user experience should be intuitive.
    End users of the system should be able to navigate within the system without intense training. It should be configured with automated controls that reduce the need for redundancies that manual controls create. While each system has its own way of doing things, for the most part users should feel that the processes they’re using fall in line with their current routines versus creating something completely new.
  3. Choose a system you can configure.
    The best system is one that you can take directly off the shelf and implement with minimal configuration. You’re not looking to redesign or customize a system to fit each piece of your business. Rather, you need something that will fit into the slot and fill the needs that were identified within your previous system. The name of the game here is plug-and-play for the most part. If you’re finding that during your discovery phase, the questions you’re asking are how to change, manipulate, or redesign the system or the system provides solutions for less than 80% of your business, that system probably isn’t the one for you.

Above all, your accounting system should work with and alongside you. In an ideal world, it will be able to grow with you for a time as well. Choosing a new system should not be taken lightly and if your executive and accounting teams need guidance through this process, we would be happy to assist.

At BOOST, we thrive in helping clients to identify needs, find solutions, and get more time out of the system and back into the billable day. Find more information regarding this digital event and register here. If you’re ready to find a new system now, contact our Managed Accounting Experts here.

Staring “New-Normal” in the Face

Are we ready to start talking about “coming back?”  In our humble opinion, regardless of what any politician says, we are not “back” until we can get our kids out of our house (sanity now!), but that’s a whole other story!

Honestly, we’re not sure if its safe yet, or what “coming back” truly looks like, but we do know that there are a ton of things we should be preparing for in the meantime.

Here are a few to get us started.

Employees – First and Foremost.
If they have successfully done their jobs remotely for the past months, first ask if they must come back. Could their jobs be done remotely going forward?  Maybe they just need to come in for a few meetings on site with the customer or a few team meetings.  Assuming you’ve already made the investment in providing access (i.e. laptop, etc.), why not consider making their position remote?

Clients – Partners or Pain?
Your relationship with your government customer and/or your prime is vital to the new path forward.  How often are you communicating with them?  Are you all messaging the same information to the workforce?  Are your policies consistent in how you will handle social distancing on site, providing PPP, sick leave requests, etc.?  Consistent, direct messaging is always best, especially now when nerves are frayed, and rumors are rampant.

New Employees – Recruiting isn’t the same.
Now more than ever we are hiring people via Zoom calls.  Make sure that your recruiting process is standardized so that you aren’t discriminating against potential candidates.  Really work on the questions you will ask (there are a ton of resources currently available). This will help you get the best feel for the candidate and if they will be a good fit for your company.  Make sure your online presence is updated so they can get a feel for you as a business.  Consider extending the interview panel to not just leadership, but peers so the candidate can get a good feel for the organization.  Currently, candidates are reluctant to make a move – for them it’s about the devil you know versus the devil you don’t.  You need to be able to easily convey what your organization stands for and its culture, so candidates feel confident to make the jump.

Office Space – It’s a whole new world.
Depending on your landlord, consider renegotiating your lease.  Look in the contract for any modifications that you need to make to have a more “socially distant” office space.  Gone are the days of 2 or 3 people sharing a cube.  There will be a ton of advice coming out about this, start paying attention to best practices.  Please give up on the idea that everyone must be in the same place at the same time.  Even our intel folks are finding ways to spread out the work, spread out the timing.  This will be the new standard going forward.

There are a million landmines ahead, and we’re pretty sure the lawyers will end up making out as we traverse this new world. But our strongest bet is on common sense and doing what is right will hold up. If you need help navigating this world, give us a shout.