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Government Contractor’s Blog

The SBA is serving our entrepreneurial veterans

Last Friday, the Small Business Association (SBA) announced that it would invest $3.5 million in grant funding to create veterans business outreach centers (VBOCs) in seven new locations, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, and South Carolina. The purpose of this investment is to expand entrepreneurial training and counseling services for veterans and military spouses who own and operate small businesses. (ExecutiveGov April 24, 2023)

The VBOCs will assist veteran-owned small business in various aspects such as business planning, loan application, marketing and outreach efforts. Additionally, grants will be set up to support Boots to Business classes to help active duty service members transition and determine whether entrepreneurship is a practical transition strategy.(ibid)

Isabella Casillas Guzman, administrator of the SBA, stated that “with this expansion of our veteran-focused network of small business centers, we can help more transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses start and grow their businesses and advance our economy.” (ibid)

Interested in grant funding for your veteran owned small business? Give us a call.

The Bad, the Ugly and some Good

Small businesses experienced a mixed bag in their pursuit of federal contracts during fiscal year 2023. On one hand, the government allocated a record-breaking $178.6 billion to small businesses, marking a significant increase from previous years. However, this surge in funding was accompanied by a concerning trend: a decline in the number of small businesses securing prime government contracts, dropping by 2.2 percent compared to the previous fiscal year. (INC. May 1, 2024)

Despite receiving a larger share of federal contracting dollars, small businesses faced formidable challenges in competing for contracts. The competitive landscape remains dominated by larger, more established players, placing smaller enterprises at a disadvantage due to their limited resources. Contract bundling further exacerbates the issue by consolidating contracts into larger, more complex opportunities that are often inaccessible to smaller firms. (ibid)

Another hurdle for small businesses is the complexity of federal contracts, which can be daunting to navigate. The House of Representatives recently passed a bill aimed at simplifying the language within federal contracts to make them more accessible and comprehensible to small businesses. This initiative seeks to level the playing field and enhance the competitiveness of smaller players in the federal contracting arena. (ibid)

Despite these challenges, the Small Business Administration (SBA) under Administrator Isabel Guzman has implemented initiatives to expand contracting opportunities for small businesses. This includes revising size standards to broaden access to agency programs, benefitting thousands of entrepreneurs across various industries. While progress has been made in meeting procurement spending targets for certain small-business categories, there is still work to be done to ensure that all small businesses have equitable access to federal contracting opportunities. (ibid)

Do you have questions about size standards or a particular upcoming opportunity? Please give us a call.

Too Small, Too Big, or Just Right

Midsized government contractors find themselves in a challenging position, squeezed between the advantages afforded to small businesses and the resources available to large corporations. While small firms benefit from set-aside contracts and large enterprises have the capacity for significant growth, midsized companies often struggle to compete for both small and large contracts due to restrictive requirements and certifications. (Washington Technology May 2, 2024)

The government contracting landscape favors small businesses, with an increasing number of contracts set aside for socio-economically disadvantaged enterprises. Conversely, large corporations have the financial backing and resources to pursue growth through acquisitions. This leaves midsized firms in a precarious position, with limited opportunities for growth and survival. (ibid)

Structural impediments further compound the challenges for midsized contractors. Stringent compliance requirements and certifications are necessary to win larger contracts, but acquiring these credentials can be a catch-22. For instance, firms may need certifications like the Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR) to qualify for certain contracts, but they can only undergo these reviews if they already have contracts that require them. (ibid)

For instance, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) may require companies to undergo a Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR) to verify their efficiency and effectiveness in managing government funds once their anticipated annual sales surpass $50 million. This requirement is logical. However, if a firm lacks an ongoing contract mandating the DCMA audit, they cannot undergo the review, making it nearly impossible to pursue new contracts with similar requirements. This lack of flexibility defies logic. (ibid)

Despite these challenges, midsized firms can leverage the Goldilocks Effect to their advantage. By combining the agility of small businesses with the resources and experience of larger corporations, they can offer tailored solutions and personalized attention to agency customers. Strategies such as tailoring solutions, demonstrating delivery success, and cultivating long-term relationships can help midsized contractors establish themselves as reliable and innovative partners for government agencies. Through patience and differentiation, midsized firms can transform obstacles into opportunities and position themselves as valuable partners in the government contracting ecosystem. (ibid)

Midsized firm looking to capitalize on your experience through innovative partnerships with government agencies? Give us a call.

A New Rule for Cleaner Contracts

The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and NASA have jointly issued a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation to enforce the procurement and utilization of sustainable products and services as identified or recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This initiative aims to align federal agencies with environmentally responsible practices, promoting the purchase of products and services that meet specific sustainability criteria. Notably, the rule mandates the acquisition of WaterSense-label water-efficient products and services, as well as Safer Choice-certified products containing safer chemical ingredients, as outlined by the White House. (Executive Gov April 22, 2024)

In addition to the specified product requirements, the final rule compels federal agencies to adhere to the EPA’s recommended environmental standards and ecolabels, which were updated in October 2023. These standards serve as guidance for purchasers to accurately identify and procure environmentally preferable products and services, contributing to the overall sustainability efforts of the government. EPA Administrator Michael Regan emphasized the significance of these enhanced purchasing standards in advancing the administration’s environmental objectives while concurrently bolstering domestic manufacturing and fostering economic growth nationwide. (ibid)

Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Brenda Mallory, underscored the role of the new standards in supporting President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. By prioritizing the purchase of sustainable products and services certified to EPA-recommended standards and ecolabels, federal agencies can contribute to job creation within the United States while advancing climate action and environmental sustainability goals. Ultimately, this final rule is aligned with the Biden administration’s Federal Sustainability Plan, which aims to achieve net-zero emissions and other procurement objectives by 2050, signaling a significant step towards a more sustainable future.

Looking to align your contracts more closely to the GSA/NASA final FAR regulation? Give us a call.

A great LinkedIn profile might land you a Government Contract

State and local government procurement specialists are increasingly relying on online platforms like LinkedIn to evaluate potential vendors. A poorly optimized personal profile could lead to missed opportunities for vendors aiming to secure government contracts. Lumino, a B2G marketing agency, conducted The Pulse of Procurement Report, surveying 100 state and local government and 100 federal government budget owners to understand their vendor selection process. (Government Technology April 1, 2024)

According to Lumino’s report, 35 percent of state and local government respondents exclusively vet vendors online. This statistic highlights the significance of maintaining a strong online presence. Jenny Karn, Lumino’s CEO, emphasized the importance of being easily discoverable online and ensuring that a company’s website presents a positive impression to potential clients. (ibid)

Establishing a robust web presence coupled with a solid SEO strategy is crucial, as revealed by Lumino’s research. Seventy-one percent of state and local agencies and 61 percent of federal respondents find vendors through company websites, often starting their search on search engines like Google or Bing. Karn stressed that being discoverable online is essential, as competitors with stronger online visibility are more likely to attract attention from government agencies. (ibid)

LinkedIn emerges as the preferred social media platform for government agencies to find new vendors, according to the survey results. Government budget owners often review not only a company’s main profile but also the personal LinkedIn profiles of its employees during the RFP review process. Karn emphasized the importance of maintaining a complete and keyword-optimized LinkedIn profile to demonstrate seriousness and professionalism to potential government clients. (ibid)

Although the Internet plays a crucial role in vendor discovery, Lumino’s survey also highlighted the continued value of in-person interactions, particularly at trade shows. While 83 percent of state and local governments attend trade shows to discover new vendors, only 74 percent of federal respondents do so. Additionally, trade shows serve as a platform for evaluating new vendors, with 37 percent of state and local respondents and 26 percent of federal respondents reporting that they assess vendors through these events. Thus making trade shows invaluable to being evaluated as a potential contract holder. (ibid)

Need some social media platform assistance or help figuring out which trade shows are best for your company? Give us a call.