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Budgeting for 2021- 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 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 main theme is Plan for Your Growth.

Budgeting:

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 2021 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 in 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 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 to sustain growth and mitigate time spent in 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 cyber space? 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 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.

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]

Frenemies

In this world, we all need close friends. Our tribe, our peeps (as I affectionately call them). People you know you can count on to help support your growth. This includes your teammates. As a small business in government contracting, you cannot feasibly do everything. Your list of core capabilities should not be 2 pages single spaced. Heck, it shouldn’t even be 1!

This is why you need a frenemy (or several!) in every set-aside category. Another company with similar and complementary caps with which you can team. Someone whom you trust to go after new work and who understands the value of being a teaming partner.  Someone that you can call when the RFP you’ve been tracking comes out as another set-aside or includes some random factor you don’t have (i.e. TS-SCI facility, offices within 10 mins of the customer, DCAA audited purchasing system or CMMI/ISO certification).

These relationships aren’t cultivated when the RFP drops. They take time to build trust, just like any relationship. Will they actually deliver on the proposal? Will their rates roll up under ours? Will they put their key folks on the reviews, not just dump it on the admin proposal coordinator? Can you count on their past performance? In short, can they deliver along the same values as you would? Spending time on these relationships now can save you during crunch time. Who hasn’t worked on 2-4 proposals (and more!) at one time? With trust comes efficiency, which can make or break you and your team during the proposal season.

Further, trust and frenemy relationships extend into contract delivery. There are several factors that can affect your alliance including aggressive workshare, respecting the role of the Prime and future teaming opportunities.

Frenemies make the case that 1 plus 1 can equal more than 2. Of course, you will run into each other as competitors occasionally, as that’s the nature of this industry. But losing to a teammate who knows you and is more likely to turn to you should they have growth is much better than losing to a stranger. I’ve seen companies contribute to each other’s growth significantly. It does happen, and it does work. And let’s face it, it’s hard enough in this industry. You need your frenemies. Keep your friends close and your frenemies closer.

Speaking of teaming partners, there’s a service to help you find the right match for your business. When searching for teaming partners with specific capabilities or set-aside statues, visit govmates.com – a free tool for small business teaming partners. Shoot me an email at [email protected] if you have a specific need.