Prognosis – what Small federal contractors are experiencing right now is the euphemism of a ‘BLACK-SWAN’ event

There’s a lot of symptoms being experienced right now by Smalls in federal contracting, but unfortunately the cause of what ‘REALLY’ ales is not part of the conversation; because the folks doing all of the talking aren’t organic to Smalls and thus can’t diagnose. BTW, wasn’t that the reason I created VSBA in the 1st place? Of course, but I digress… regarding that cough…

Here’s the x-ray – thanks to the impact of sequestration, continuing resolution, and the current debt ceiling issues > compounded by the glut of GWACs issued by every procurement agency exec looking to make a name; what Smalls are experiencing is ‘contract vehicle over-saturation with minuscule market demand support’ with a dose of regulatory imperative – a perfect storm or ‘Black-Swan’ event by any other name.

Black-Swans are, of course, those highly improbable but painfully consequential events that strike from the blue. These types of events can cripple, vulnerable Smalls that are caught off guard; destroy financial performance or kill the business outright. Because they are rare and almost impossible to predict, black-swan events normally fall outside the scope of most Small Business risk management programs (assuming a Small has such a program at all).

So, now that we have a prognosis – what’s next? Well unlike the common cold, or the flu, the ‘one shot antibiotic fits all’ mantra won’t work. The remedy for each Small is unique, taking into consideration such variables as industry, size, product/service type, diversity, prior preparation, etc. – you get the picture. And, that is why we are experiencing such a influx of noise from the kabuki theater crowd – the truth is, most of these folks don’t want you to know that they are just as clueless as you right now.

So, if this is familiar – I implore you to get back to the fundamentals of why you started your business in the first place. Time to re-validate; are you still relevant? Does the market still need what you offer? These are boardroom questions that need to be answered. And if you don’t have the stomach for it, then I guess you have your answer – don’t you?

Finally, I have heard some diagnose this time a ‘Black Death’ event as opposed to Black-Swan – but I don’t agree. If this were a Black Death event, all of your fates would be left to chance and determined by your immunity to a single pathogen; but that’s not the case here. You can survive, and indeed thrive, if you recognize or remember your firms’ identity, stay in your lane, and above all watch your 6 o’ clock – cause when some folks run out of food, animal instincts kick in and they/we start eating each other. And, then, my friends – stage 2 Black-Swan will become the Black Death. Stay Frosty.


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