In the last article, I talked about some of the early considerations for beginning the path toward your first government contract. I would encourage you to take a look here before diving in on the next major question to answer when pursuing your first government contract. That question is:
What is my standing with the U.S. Government? What I mean by that is understanding that government procurements are not always level playing fields. The U.S. Government offers preference to small business and those from various socio-economic backgrounds via procurements specifically designed for small businesses. In this article I won’t get into the specific requirements for each, but simply state that it is important for you as a company to be aware of any advantage you may be afforded based on your company’s size or your ownership’s background.
Small Business Preference
The SBA does a wonderful job of explaining a lot of the early stage decisions for small businesses and I would encourage you to continue your reading there. If you need help interpreting the process of obtaining SDVOSB, HUBZone, Woman-owned, 8(a) or evaluating the likely small business size standards for a given procurement let us know. Our small-business Redstone Success Program is specifically designed to assist new small businesses with the pursuit of their first government contract and beyond. Another great resource is our friends at smallgovcon.com. Their blog is a wealth of information on the intricacies of small business procurement and they are excellent at assisting small businesses with evaluation of legal requirements that surround small business qualifications.
What Constitutes a Small Business?
If you think you are not a small business, you still may want to double-check. Employee-based NAICS codes can often be 1,000 employees or more, so while you may not feel like a small business you just might be in the eyes of the Small Business Administration (SBA). Your company NAICS code is a great place to start, but you also need to understand that it’s not your business NAICS code, but rather the NAICS code designated on the request for proposal (RFP) that determines the measure for small business on that solicitation. The small business size-standards are either revenue or employee based depending on the NAICS code and can be found here.
If You are NOT a Small Business
For large businesses, it is also important to understand that just because a procurement has been set aside for small business competition, it does not preclude you from obtaining a portion of the work. Current requirements specify the percentage share of the work that must be performed by the small business based on the type of work being performed (services, supplies, general construction or construction). Many leave a lot of room for large business participation.
Team Work Makes the Dream Work
Teaming with small businesses provides an excellent opportunity for large businesses to gain access to government opportunities that they may not otherwise qualify for due to their size. Working with small businesses takes on many different forms and may be as simple as a subcontract agreement or more formal through teaming agreements or joint-ventures. Networking with existing firms and informing them of your capabilities to help and improve standing for the opportunity in terms of technical capabilities or relevant past performance can be mutually beneficial.
Redstone GCI works with 700+ firms throughout the U.S. and internationally and often assists in locating great, qualified partners for pursuit of small business opportunities. We enjoy the opportunity to make mutually beneficial connections for our clients and would welcome an opportunity to discuss how we may be able to help you in finding the right partner for your next proposal.
In our next installment we’ll talk about some of “less fun” aspects of working with the government. Specifically, the role of audit, pricing and proposal considerations when getting ready to prepare your first proposal. Since this is such a large and important area, we’re going to break it into a few different pieces this month. Thanks for reading best wishes for a prosperous new year (hopefully with a new government contract).