Posts

Calendar Year End Prep for Government Contractors

The end of 2022 is fast approaching, and there’s a lot of work to be done to make sure everything is wrapped up nicely for 2023. The better you’re able to get things in order now, the less catch-up you’ll have to play next year.

In this article, we’ll talk about some things you can do to get ahead of the game and be prepared for a successful next year.

First Thing First – Take a Moment to Breathe and Reflect

It’s hard to believe that the clock is just about to turn to 2023. To be honest, we’re still processing 2020. But here you are, ready to turn the page onto another year and start fresh to make these coming months your most successful yet.

Take a moment to reflect on this past year. What were your biggest wins? Did you land some contracts that really elevated your business? Dig into your successes and analyze what you did that worked, and what you could do better. Be as honest as you can about your failures as well as your wins, and take a long, good look at how you could have done things more efficiently, professionally, and successfully.

Experience is one of the most powerful tools in government contracting, so make sure you’re getting the most out of yours while looking ahead to the new year.

Know Your Deadlines

Government contracting is a very deadline driven industry, so it’s important to have your due dates and requirements written down somewhere in an easily accessible format. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute or miss out on contracts because of a poorly organized system.

Perform a Cash Flow Analysis

It’s important to have a good idea of how much money you’ve got coming in and where you sit financially before planning ahead. Analyze your cash flow so that you can prepare a budget and know where you’re at going into the end of the year.

One way to go about this is to track your cash in and your expenses on a monthly basis. This will give you a good idea of where your money is going and what areas you can cut back on.

If your CFO is up to their neck in work, you can use a consultant to help you with your analysis while saving your own staff time for more pressing things. This is also a good idea if you’re not sure where to start or if your financial situation is more complex. At BOOST, we can help you get a clear picture of your financial situation heading into the new year.

The bottom line is that you want to ensure that you’re using your cash as efficiently as possible for your business objectives and goals, tax planning, and capital injection needs. Having a clear view of your cash flow will help you accomplish that.

Plan Your Company’s Budget for the Next Calendar Year

Once you have a good handle on your cash flow, it’s time to start preparing a budget for the next calendar year.

There are a few things to keep in mind when doing this:

-Your company’s overall financial goals

-What worked and didn’t work in the current year’s budget

-Changes in the market or industry that could impact your company’s finances

-Any big projects or initiatives that will be taking place in the next year

It’s also a good idea to get input from your senior leadership when putting together the budget for next year. They may have ideas of where money can be saved or areas where they’d like to see more investment. You should also select a budgeting process that fits your way of doing things, i.e. a bottom up vs. top down process, etc. 

Prep for 2022 Taxes

Before doing anything, know that you’ll want to work closely with your CFO and your tax accountant when doing your tax prep. They’ll be able to help you figure out what deductions and credits you’re eligible for, as well as give you an estimate of how much you’ll owe.

The first step is to get your books in order. This means making sure all of your expenses are accounted for and that your revenue is accurate. You’ll also want to make sure you have all of the relevant documentation for your expenses. This can include receipts, invoices, and bank statements.

Getting your books in shape will go a long way towards making tax time less stressful. You’ll have everything you need and you won’t be scrambling to find documentation at the last minute.

The next step is to start thinking about deductions and credits. There are a lot of different deductions and credits that businesses can take advantage of, so it’s important to do your research and figure out which ones apply to you.

Your tax accountant will be able to help you with this, but it’s a good idea to have an idea of what’s available. That way, you can make sure you’re taking advantage of everything you’re eligible for.

Some common business deductions include:

-Office expenses

-Travel expenses

-Employee benefits

-Business insurance

-Interest on business loans

There are also a number of different tax credits that businesses can take advantage of. These can include credits for hiring employees, investing in research and development, and more.

Again, your tax accountant will be able to help you figure out which credits you’re eligible for. But it’s a good idea to have an understanding of the different types of credits that are available.

The last step is to start estimating how much you’ll owe. This can be tricky, as there are a lot of different factors that go into it. But your tax accountant will be able to give you a good idea of what to expect.

At BOOST, we can help you get your taxes in order and make sure you’re taking advantage of all of the deductions and credits you’re eligible for. We’ll also help you estimate how much you’ll owe so that you can plan ahead.

BOOST Can Help You Prepare for 2023

At BOOST we’re a team of experts dedicated to helping small and mid-size government contractors handle their back-office operations, so you’re free to focus on the more important stuff. We’ll help you stay compliant and stay on top of everything from human resource operations to your accounting.

If you’re a government contractor, and you’re looking for some help, contact us today and let’s talk about what BOOST can do for you.

Human Resources Improves your Company’s P&L!

Most people who are not in Human Resources look at this function in a few different ways.  It is the department that hires and fires people, the team that ensures your company has benefits and holiday parties. They are the team that we go to with our problems.  I, too, viewed HR this way for many years, mainly when I worked in Corporate America.

While working at BOOST, I‘ve had an epiphany of sorts. HR professionals help companies remain profitable! They tirelessly work to drive organizational change and keep a company compliant with the ever-changing laws, including federal, state, and local regulations, Government Contracting obligations, employee benefit requirements, and even the new trend in COUNTY level paid time off regulations. That’s right; it is not only the states that make laws that are prematurely making our HR team turn gray, but many counties also have additional paid time off regulations. Add all that to the tight labor market, and our HR professionals are more critical than ever!

If you want to ensure you maintain more of your company’s profits on your P&L, here are a few areas to focus on with HR professionals:

  1. Culture – Employees want to work at and be a part of companies with encouraging, enjoyable, and supportive cultures. HR can transform company culture only if the entire C-Suite is part of the process and buys in completely.
  2. Benefits – One of the top 3 reasons employees leave a company is poor benefit offerings. Make sure your benefits are not only competitive, but best in class, or you risk a higher employee turnover. We know benefits are also the 2nd most significant expense after wages, so ensure you offer benefits that your employees value the most.

A recent study asked employees to rate the importance of their benefits as “very important” to “not at all important.” This study showed the following percentage of employees surveyed felt the benefits offering was “very important” and influenced their choice of employer:

  • 93%: Strong 401K Plan
  • 67%: Paid Time Off
  • 63%: Health Insurance
  • 37%: Life Insurance

Based on the above findings, one can conclude that Paid Time Off is a more important benefit than Life Insurance to employees. Be sure to emphasize and spend wisely on the benefits your employees value.

  1. Learning & Development – If you are not growing, you are dying; that is the same with employee development. If you are not developing your employees, your company is slowly dying compared to your competitors.
  2. UPDATED Policies and Procedures – This doesn’t sound fun! Make sure your policies and procedures are updated regularly to meet the current needs of your employees. Having compassionate policies and procedures will allow your employees to know the “rules” and that they work for a caring company.  For example, many of your employees may have parents and grandparents who are baby boomers, and these baby boomers are not getting any younger. Having policies and support available to employees dealing with caregiving responsibilities or with a death of a loved one will be remembered; not having that support will also be remembered.
  3. Retention – Retention is not just a metric; it needs to be a strategy, or your P&L will suffer. Hire right, promote, and retain. Bad hires cost money, reduce revenue and punish the bottom line.

So how do all these things tie back to the P&L? It is simple – TURN OVER. Good cultures driven by the items above result in a lower turnover. Keeping your talented people allows you to take on and complete more projects per year, reduces recruiting costs by not having to replace team members, and encourages satisfied employees to refer their friends to your company. When you add all of that together, not only do your expenses go down, but your revenue goes up, and that is a real P&L improvement.

BOOST has a team of expert Senior HR Professionals that can provide SME-level, project Level, or day-to-day HR support.  Let us know how we can help you grow your GovCon business.

Leading Your Troops

Editor’s Note: This Article Has Been Updated November 9, 2022

Much has been written about management versus leadership.  There are many overly shared images about what characteristic leaders have versus those who are considered ‘just’ being a boss. Many books have been written on the subject yet we still find an abundance of poor leadership.

GovCon Management vs. GovCon Leadership

But what does it mean to be a leader in the GovCon world?

How can you lead a team of folks who mainly work on the government site and tend to identify with their customers (i.e. going native)?
How do you lead when your re-compete is up and you’ve got to reduce your team’s salaried personnel by 25% to win?
How do you enforce the rules and compliance in an overly regulated industry that doesn’t always make sense?
How do you continue to motivate and push your staff when you are beholden to 2% cost of living raises and a focus on keeping the multiplier down?

As you can already tell, there are a variety of situations that compound the already overwhelmed concept of leadership in GovCon. I believe there are many theories out there, but two common themes that have resonated with me are communication and authenticity.  At the heart of practically every conflict or issue in this world is communication.  If you cannot effectively communicate as a leader, even with the best intentions, you will fail.

Communication in GovCon Leadership

What is effective communication?  Saying what you mean, leaving nothing for wild interpretation and being authentic in your message.  Hollow sentiments or glossing over issues will only come back to bite you.  Having hard conversations is never easy, but it’s part of the job.  If you must cut salaries to be competitive on a bid, say it.  Say it clearly and unequivocally.  Provide your rationale and allow for feedback, but make it clear that you are responsible for this decision. Take ownership and allow those looking to move on, an opportunity to volunteer if possible. Communication is vital but so is being authentic.

Read more about communication and internal controls in your GovCon.

Authenticity in GovCon Leadership

What is authenticity? Providing and promoting an image that is sincere and true to your character as a leader or a company.  Employees, stakeholders, partners and clients can all spot a fake.  You can fake it for a bit, but eventually your true colors come out and the damage will be near-impossible to correct.  Instead of hiding your personality, embrace your strengths, and be yourself. The effort that it takes to hide or cover your personality can be better spent on leadership decisions and building a reputation on trust and authority. It is much easier to act on the truth than it is to remember and perform on a fallacy.

Regardless of your journey to leadership once you find yourself in a position of authority focus on solid communication and reputation based authenticity. Most companies that find themselves consistently winning awards and crushing the re-compete are those that excel in communication and authenticity. To effectively lead your troops into the GovCon space you must be clear and focused, always.

Let us help you recruit strong leadership for your GovCon with our GovCon recruiting services.

Proposal Hell

Editor’s Note: This Article Has Been Updated November 9, 2022

Government Contract Proposal Season

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?

Government Contract Proposal Strategies

As government contracting organizations mature, their proposal strategy evolves.  Let’s face it, in the beginning, a GovCon is 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.

Let us handle your contract proposals 

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.

Government contracting 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 GovCon proposal assistance or back-office support visit BOOST LLC or send an email to Stephanie Alexander at [email protected]

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.

Building Business Opportunities in the GovCon Arena

In this digital event Robin Desmore Scott, BOOST’s Director of Contracts is joined by Dwight Gibbs and Scott Keough of Contraqer Corp to discuss Building Business Opportunities in the GovCon Arena with Award and Opportunity Search.

Our presenters discuss:

• Business & Opportunity Practices
• Where to Find the Necessary Data
• Process Tips
• Best Practices for Opportunity and Historical Award Searches
• & More

 

The biggest question from our audience centered on the best places to find reliable information on award searches, announcements, and contract details.
The recommended websites from our panelists are:

Federal Procurement Data System: https://www.fpds.gov/
Contract Data Reports from https://beta.sam.gov/
FedBid: http://www.fedbid.com/ or https://www.unisonglobal.com/
USA Spending: https://www.usaspending.gov/

Our next digital event in this series is slated for Tuesday, February 23rd and we encourage you to keep an eye on your email for more details to come.

Please direct any questions to BOOST or Contraqer for discussion or clarification!

Branding for Your Business 

📣 Attention all businesses with a website (you should have one), this message is for you. 📣 

Branding is more than a set of colors and a logo. Today, branding refers to how your business stands and speaks when you are not personally doing the talking. It refers to your content, your audience, the platforms you choose to be active on, and how often you interact with your digital community.  

We’re going to take a direct approach and provide you with an actionable checklist of items to update, create, or utilize as you configure your business’ brand going forward. 
Take a moment to answer the following questions.  

Branding:  

 Do you have a cohesive brand voice?
 Does your voice online resonate with your leadership and employees?
 Do you know your ideal audience/avatar?
 Do you know how your audience wants to receive information?
 Are you incorporating your company culture into your brand’s voice? 

Website:  

 Is it updated to 2020?
 Does it have your correct phone number?
 Is there an active “contact us” page?
 Do you have a page for news/blogs?
 Does it showcase your leadership?
 Are your capabilities clearly conveyed?
 Is it easy to navigate? 
 Does it load quickly?
– Do the links work? (Yes, ALL of the links.)
– Are your social profiles linked? 

Social Platforms: 

 Do they link back to your website? (Activate Your Buttons.)
 Are you speaking actively to your community?
 Is your contact information visible?
 Is your leadership following the pages?
 Are you updating them consistently (see our blog on consistent content here) 

 

In the world of marketing, statistics say that new clients and customers will take time to visit your website, social profiles, and more before reaching out to talk to you. Put your best digital foot forward before getting on the phone or connecting through an email. If you answered no, or have several question marks next to the items above we recommend seeking a branding update, stat. The experts at BOOST are able to provide you with a digital diagnostic to identify areas of strength and recommendations for improvementWe know these tasks have been on your to-do list for a while now, let’s dust them off and get them taken care of before the start of the new federal fiscal year.  

Creating Value in Growing Government Contractors

Every business owner dreams of building a Company so that they may reap the rewards sometime in the future.  However for many entrepreneurs, these dreams never materialize, falling short of building value within their organization,  Do you understand the true value drivers that make a difference in creating value inside of your business?  How does one create value that is sustainable and where do most companies fall short?

Join our panelists as they explore:

  • What are the value drivers in the current market conditions;
  • Why having the end goal in mind and planning are crucial for managing your business decisions;
  • What are the common pitfalls that can catch a business owner by surprise that can prevent value creation;
  • What are the most fundamental focuses for a business owner as they grow their business to create value.

Protest Basics: Pre-Award, Post-Award & Case Examples

Join BOOST’s Director of Contracts, Robin Desmore and Maria Panichelli of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP for the first of a two-part virtual series on the Protest Basics: Pre-Award, Post-Award, and the Process.

Our presenters will discuss:

• The Bid Protest Process
• The Types of Protests
• What Issues ARE Protestable
• Protest Scenarios
• and the Answers to Audience Questions

 

Protest Basics for GovCons: Pre-Award, Post-Award, and the Process

Recently BOOST’s Director of Contracts Robin Desmore and Maria Panichelli, Partner and the Chair of the Government Contracting department at Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP discussed the first of a two-part virtual series on the Protest Basics: Pre-Award, Post-Award, and the Process.

You can view the replay of the event here.

Here are some of the notable pieces from the discussion:

What are the Different Types of Protests: 

• Solicitation

• Contractors Submit Responses to Solicitation

• Evaluation of Contractors/Source Selection

• Awardees Chosen

What are the Common Protest Deadlines: 

• Pre-award Protests Based on Errors in the Solicitation need to be submitted before the response deadline.

• General (GAO) Rule: 10 days after the basis of the protest is known (or should have been known)

What are Some Protestable Issues: 

• Pre-award protests based on errors in the Solicitation:
• Ambiguous or contradictory terms
• Inclusion of prohibited terms/exclusion of required terms
• Unduly or overly restrictive terms or specifications
• Improper use of LPTA
• OCI Issues
• Set-aside/“rule of two”/Kingdomware issues
• De Facto responsibility determination
• Pre-Award Competitive Range/Post-Award Protests:

• Common Non-Price Evaluation Factor Issues

• Unstated evaluation criteria or subfactor, etc.
• Error in applying evaluation criteria/assigning ratings
• Unequal or disparate treatment of offerors
• Meaningful/misleading/uneven discussions
• OCI Issues

• Common Price Evaluation Issues

• Price Reasonableness
• Price Realism
• Escalation, Adjustment
• Balanced Pricing
• HUBZone Preference

UPDATE: On November 17th, 2020 BOOST Hosted Part 2 of this series: Where OCIs Meet Protests.
Our presenters discussed:
• Award Protests
• OCI Considerations
• Protest Scenarios
• and the Answers to Your Questions

Please visit this link to gain access to the replay.