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Government Contractor’s Blog

Empowering Entrepreneurs: Unveiling the Force Behind Women’s History Month 2024

In March, we honor women’s achievements, resilience, and innovation during Women’s History Month. Women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) play a crucial role, in driving economic growth and diversity. GSA proudly empowers women business leaders, exceeding WOSB goals for the past 16 years. With over 12 million WOSBs in the US, they’re a potent force, creating jobs and shaping our economy. (GSABLOG Office of Small Business Utilization March 19, 2024)

The Associate Administrator for GSA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs. GSA ensures WOSBs have access to government contracting opportunities. The Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program is a premier vehicle for government sales, empowering small businesses to thrive. With just a small investment in time, WOSBs can position themselves for success. (ibid)

Federal government agencies favor buying from MAS Schedule contract holders because they are procuring approved products and services. In addition, GSA has performed the groundwork and negotiated the best price. (ibid)

For WOSBs ready to secure GSA schedules contracts, here’s how to start:

  1. Register on The primary database for contractors doing business with the federal government. For more in-depth information see the factsheet. (ibid)
  2. Connect with your local OSDBU small business specialist. These specialists are a great resource for training, education to assist you to successfully navigate the federal marketplace. (ibid)
  3. Utilize the Forecast of Contracting Opportunities Tool. this tool can assist you in locating contracting opportunities and building business plans. (The GSA Forecast Tool Factsheet explains how to use the tool and its features.) (ibid)
  4. Benefit from GSA OSDBU support and training opportunities. has an Events and Training page, in addition to videos and information on doing business with GSA. (ibid)

GSA is proud of its track record, having awarded over $651 million in prime contracts and $3.7 billion in subcontracts to WOSBs in FY23. In FY24, they’ve already awarded over $187 million. Women’s History Month 2024 is a tribute to the boundless potential of today’s women-owned small businesses, driving innovation and inspiring future generations. GSA continues to support them as a vital force for economic growth and progress in our nation. (ibid)

Want to know more about how your WOSB can get a GSA Schedule? Give us a call.

Are you listening, it’s me your government customer?

Business development expert Nic Coppins reveals eight habits that government contractors exhibit, alienating customers and stakeholders. While many deny these habits, they do exhibit them. This begs the question, are you customer-focused or just acting?

  1. Talking Too Much: Dominating conversations hinders engagement, prioritizing your voice over the customers’. Remember, if you are talking, you are losing. (Washington Technology, February 23, 2024)
  2. Jargon Overload: Speak plainly to ensure clarity; ditch confusing acronyms and tech terms to ensure your message hits home. (ibid)
  3. “Solution-itis” is an actual disease: Slow down, diagnose first, and tailor your solutions to fit customer needs. (ibid)
  4. Question Quality: Craft insightful questions to uncover unique challenges and differentiate yourself from the competition. (ibid)
  5. The Disengaged Listener: Be present and engaged; absorb what’s being said instead of rehearsing responses. (ibid)
  6. Self-Centered Approaches: Align with the customer’s needs, not overshadowing them with your agenda.
  7. Skipping Personal Connection: Take time to build rapport and trust before diving into business.
  8. The blame game, look inwards: Take responsibility for your communication style and actively seek feedback.

Confront these habits head-on to improve customer relationships and prioritize effective communication and genuine engagement.

Not certain how to get back on track? Give us a call.

SBA aims to boost Black Business Dollars

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) aims to boost federal contracting dollars for Black businesses through an upgraded government contract training program and other initiatives. The agency is revitalizing its SBA 7(j) Training Program, now known as Empower to Grow (E2G), to enhance small, disadvantaged businesses’ readiness for federal contracting, as stated in a recent SBA press release. (Black Enterprise February 5, 2024)

This revamped program coincides with the release of new data from fiscal years 2022 and 2021, indicating record-breaking federal contracting dollars for small businesses across various demographics, including an uptick in contracting dollars for Small Disadvantaged Businesses. (ibid)

In line with these efforts, the Biden-Harris administration has announced measures to broaden small business access to federal contracts, recognizing the federal government’s significant purchasing power globally. The White House specifically acknowledges the E2G program when discussing strategies to bolster support for small businesses and ultimately building wealth in underserved communities. (ibid)

President Joe Biden has set an ambitious goal of allocating 15% of federal prime contracting to small, disadvantaged businesses (SDB) by fiscal year 2025, potentially injecting $100 billion into minority-owned and underserved businesses. (ibid)

The SBA underscores that the E2G program represents just one facet of comprehensive efforts by the Biden-Harris administration and the SBA to achieve the SDB goal. Already, these efforts have resulted in a half-billion-dollar increase in federal contracts awarded to Black-owned small businesses in 2023. (ibid)

SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman emphasizes the role of small business growth in job creation and community strengthening, highlighting the administration’s commitment to equity and a level playing field for all small business owners. (ibid)

Despite progress, disparities persist, with Black-owned small businesses receiving $9.5 billion from federal contracts in 2022, up $490 million from 2021, while Native Americans captured $19 billion, up $1.62 billion from the previous year. However, these figures pale in comparison to the almost $163 billion spent on all federal contracts that year.(ibid)

Acknowledging these disparities, the SBA is actively addressing barriers to entry for Black businesses in securing government contracts. Additional resources are being allocated to assist more disadvantaged business owners, including Black firms, in overcoming these barriers. (ibid)

Program enhancements to E2G include customizable one-on-one coaching and expanded offerings tailored to the needs of Black-owned firms, with the aim of facilitating connections with state and local contracting opportunities.(ibid)

E2G will introduce new tools to access $2 trillion in state and local bid opportunities, further bridging the gap for Black-owned firms seeking state and local contracting opportunities. (ibid)

The SBA emphasizes that the program’s impact on contracting dollars for Black-owned businesses hinges on participation, with the bid win rate expected to rise due to the heightened emphasis on added E2G resources. (ibid)

Would you like to know more about the program enhancements, one-on-one coaching and expanded offerings of E2G? Give us a call.

GSA streamlines and saves you time

The General Services Administration (GSA) appears to have successfully modernized its catalog management system for the Advantage! program. (Federal News Network February 5, 2024)

GSA is increasing the user base of the new FAS Catalog Platform (FCP) after a successful trial period with Office Supplies 4 vendors. (ibid)

Mike Shepherd, the director of GSA’s catalog management office, explains the significant improvements of the FCP over the previous SIP system. He states that the FCP, replacing SIP, offers new features benefiting suppliers, acquisition workforce, and customers. It integrates with e-modification, capturing catalog updates and automating publishing modifications to GSA Advantage!. This greatly reduces the time it takes for vendors to add new products and delete items. It saves vendors an averge of 34 days by adding the products to their catalogs. Catalog deletions take place within 1 to 2 days of a modication submitted by the contractor, whereas it was common for it to take 10 or more days to delete products prior to the improvements. (ibid)

In addition to addressing long-standing issues, the platform includes automated data validation, a central hub for catalog actions, access to catalog history and a shared user interface. (ibid)

GSA plans to add more users and initiate a pilot for professional services on the platform. In addition, GSA aims to migrate the majority of Advantage! catalogs to the new platform by fiscal year-end. The plan also includes expanding the catalog platform to services contractors later this year, aiming for a simplified submission process. (ibid)

The new catalog is part of a broader effort to modernize GSA Advantage!, including consolidating schedules and updating user tools and backend systems, that both run and feed Advantage!. (ibid)

GSA will continue to gather feedback from users to address challenges and ensure ongoing improvement.(ibid)

Questions about the FCP improvements and how they might affect your contract? Give us a call.

A Quick Dive into GSA’s Game-Changing Proposed Economic Price Adjustment Clause

The General Services Administration’s (GSA) recently proposed to revise the General Services Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) Federal Supply Schedule Economic Price Adjustment (EPA) clauses. Issued on November 16, 2023, the rule aims to align with commercial standards and practices by eliminating specific EPA requirements and introducing a standardized clause: 552.238-118, Economic Price Adjustment, Federal Supply Schedule Contracts. (Federal News Network, January 12, 2024)

This new clause mirrors the principles outlined in GSA Acquisition Letter MV-22-02 from March 2022, which temporarily suspended certain procedural limits within FSS clauses. This move provided contractors with increased flexibility in processing EPAs, responding more effectively to shifts in the commercial market. The proposed rule extends this market-driven flexibility into the GSAR. (ibid)

The EPA proposed rule is defined as the “agreed-upon procedure” for adjusting pricing throughout a contract period.” The proposed clause empowers contracting officers and contractors to negotiate the mechanism, timing, and frequency of price adjustments. This streamlined, flexible approach is poised to enhance responsiveness to market changes. (ibid)

When contract prices are based on commercial catalog pricing, adjustments can align with changes in the catalog price. Similarly, if an index determines adjustments, changes in the index can dictate price adjustments. These mechanisms, being part of the contract, underscore the proposal’s pragmatic approach. (ibid)

For the success of this flexible EPA, implementation across the FSS program is crucial. Proper training for the acquisition workforce, focusing on pricing context and accurate data usage, is paramount. The proposed rule’s success depends on aligning the FSS program with the commercial market, necessitating revisions to current policies such as Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Policy and Procedure (PAP) 2021-05. (ibid)

The PAP, as it stands, contains contradictory guidance inconsistent with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, escalating data submission burdens on FSS contractors. To streamline the EPA process effectively, reforming, revising, and reissuing the PAP in accordance with legal and operational goals is a logical starting point. (ibid)

Beyond reducing regulatory burdens, success hinges on comprehensive training, clear guidance, and accountability. Stakeholders, including coalition members, stand ready to assist the agency in operationalizing the rule successfully. (ibid)

Questions concerning price adjustments to your current contract? Give us a call.