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8(m)

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When we were kids, our Mothers told us we could be whatever we wanted to be. Well, while this may be true, there are some things that are out of our control. When you went to your Dad, and said, “I want to be a Center in the NBA”, he may have said something akin to – “the average height in our family is 6’ so, unless you experience a tremendous growth spurt; you’d better reassess your career prospects.” This same rationale applies to those of you who aspired to be Mick Jagger growing up, and while you now find yourself successful in commerce, you’re most certainly not living the life of a 60 year old rock star. The same sobriety must be applied to pursuit of GSA OASIS.

Sure, there are GSA Proposal companies; Capture Management companies; and everything in between that is willing to say anything in order to get your business. “You can win if you only…”; “we’ve got a $$$$%%%% client win-rate…”; and “we did DNA enhancements for Bill Walton….” Here’s the sober truth: at some point, you gotta grow up and recognize who you are, and start there.

Now, taking on the practicality of many of our Fathers (and a few Old Spice commercials); look carefully at that GSA OASIS evaluation checklist in the RFI; now look at your company; now look back at the checklist… you either are what it says you need to be or you’re not. There is simply not enough time for you to morph. So you realize now that your trying out on American Idol, while exciting, is probably not going to change your career path. You have 3 choices now:

  1. be a romantic and go after the impossible,
  2. develop an alternative strategy to still be part of the game, or
  3. quite. I am not much for quitters, so if chose option 3, you should stop reading now.

Now, this time; look carefully at that GSA OASIS RFI overall; now look at your company; now look back at the RFI… ahhh, yes, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King. You noticed that there is an embedded value proposition that you possess which you missed the first time around. It is one that is unique to each and every federal contractor – Relationships. You see, Rock Stars don’t make money without a fan base – they just as well might still be playing in their parents’ garage. What you know for certain is this: the folks that buy from you now do so because they like you. And, that is your ticket to getting backstage at the concert. Right now, you should be completing a response to the RFI – not for the purpose of competing, but for the purpose pre-selling GSA OASIS to your current clients and subsequently to the eventual Rock Stars to become a glorified Rodi.

But you have another problem… the Rock Stars don’t know who you are.

Well, we can help with that; the “Teaming Exchange” was incepted and formed for the practical purpose of meeting folks where they are, and helping as many Smalls to monetize this contract vehicle as possible – while mitigating risk for all involved. While we may not end up with every Rock Star on the planet; all we need is one U2, perhaps a Led Zepplin, and maybe a Foo Fighter; we won’t make all of the money – but we’ll certainly carve out a noticeable chunk.

To determine if our framework may work for you, forward your completed GSA OASIS RFI checklist for scoring; mailto: contracts@anvil-incus.com by May 10th for urgent consideration – after that, no guarantees on review prior to the final RFP.

If you don’t stand a chance, we’ll tell you; if you’re a Rodi, but not Rock Star material, we’ll tell you that too. But whatever you are, we will meet you “where you are” and help find a way to get you a job at the concert – being a Rodi, and making money, beats the hell out of being a Groupie, and getting pimped, any day.

For more information on the GSA OASIS Teaming Exchange Business Case, visit: http://bit.ly/gsa-oasis

Join OASIS Teaming Group on LinkedIn @ http://linkd.in/ZZMbk7

Now, this is a true story. Let me qualify what you are about to read by saying I personally have assisted many 8(a) firms in transition to full & open. However, there is one firm owned by a gentleman so unassuming that you could easily presume him inconsequential. But, when looked at from the lenses of true scalable operations, sound management, leadership – and did I say performance? This firm’s record can only be declared as phenomenal.

But why, you ask , do I wish to share this story? I share this story for those of you 8(a)’s who believe that if you are the best at what you do; if you do the right thing; if you bring value to the federal agency(s) that you work for while in the program, you will be able to leverage that performance on its merits. Although, it used to be that way in the not so distant past; its not anymore.

The 8(a) program, like SDVOSB, and HUBZone, has become a means negotiated proxy whose value is not measured by performance and value per tax-payer $$ spent; but by favor to firms’ ran by minorities committed to soon to be retired personnel. I write this, not to have you give up, or presume hopelessness – no, not by a long shot. I tell this story, so that those of you who are doing everything right and enjoying the results of your labor, nevertheless, don’t presume to relax and believe that a 50/50 portfolio upon graduation is a sufficient cushion to propel you into the full & open with sustained momentum – it’s not.

You now need to start competing for (and winning) small business set-asides (outside of 8(a)) in years 4 and 5… but back to the story. Once upon a time, an 8(a) started the program with a solid strategy, solid private-sector past performance, and strong agency relationships – or so they thought. As a result and expected, they hit the ground running. Built a portfolio of solid contract vehicles, set-aside and not; and enjoyed 9 years of 8(a) bliss. Management negotiated good faith contract transitions for program off-ramp in a fashion that would be on par with private sector risk management. Again, they did it right.

But, then the fears of post-career unknowns visited upon the relative contracting officer personnel office and Maslow’s Hierarchy was descended by these folks like it was Jacob’s Ladder and all bets were off. For you see, cloaked in the statement “gov’ts best interest” is many times some bureaucrat’s self-interest. Despite stellar past performance over 9 years, forged relationships, and commitments made between Men as men have done for decades in this space; we watched this “example of excellence” be thrown unapologetically under the bus asif it were a form of Cesar reincarnated.

So, I say to you -do not believe, despite past-performance is no longer prologue for positive leverage post graduation. Take all commitments, even those executed in writing, by bureaucrats as having a shelf-life not communicated. Establish a reserve beginning with the your 1st 8(a) win above the line of profit – and title it “fund for defense and claims on portfolio.” Soci-economic programs are now on par with Vegas; the house is not happy to see you leave with any winnings; you may have to fight if you plan on leaving of the front door…

Smalls gotta learn how to swim with the Sharks

For fiscal year 2013, this is the best graphical summation of the competitive federal procurement landscape that we could put together; no matter how you scratch it, Smalls will need to dive into the deep end to survive. Here’s why…

During FY 2012, civilian opportunities were valued at $12.8 billion and defense opportunities accounted for $5.6 billion. For FY 2013 these numbers have changed dramatically with defense opportunities valued at $9.5 billion and civilian opportunities totaling $2.5 billion.

Also, federal agencies are continuing to procure their requirements through small business set-asides more often than through other small business categories, such as 8(a) and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs).

SUMMARY TAKE-AWAY

  • Small business prime contracting spending has been on the decline.
  • Small businesses are being disproportionately affected by spending cuts.
  • The majority of this year’s top Small business opportunities will be procured by defense agencies.

AGENCY PROCURMENT STRATEGY

By utilizing small business set-asides, agencies can not only get credit toward their small business goals, but it also gives them leeway to award contracts to any category of small business for maximum control over meeting goals.

SMALL BUSINESS COUNTER-MEASURE

The net-effect to Smalls is fewer but larger opportunities, with more varying capability needs. To aggressively adjust to this shift, Smalls must form solution focused joint ventures – maintaining membership in a multiple simultaneously.

Aljucar & Co. | http://www.aljucar.com

Right now, there are many very nervous small business government contractors, that provide a primarily services footprint, who don’t know which particular programs are going to be cut within the federal agencies they currently contract, due to budget cuts and the potential sequestration, and thus can’t do much in terms of proactive decision making.

At the same time, due to the highly variable cost structures and declining task-order availability, many firms are considering the prospects of what used to be a viable means of restructuring, Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, this may not be the viable option that it once was. The rules have changed significantly over the years. Today, if your firm goes into Chapter 11, the odds of you keeping the business are much lower.

The Supreme Court’s 1999 LaSalle decision has given unsecured creditors a huge advantage, and the result is the cost of bankruptcy has gotten so high that the ability to continue your firm under current ownership has reached almost zero. The key issue is the expansion of the ‘363 sale’. As many of you may be aware, the 363 sale was originally designed to allow companies to sell off spoilable product, like fruit. If you were in the grocery business and you filed bankruptcy, it allowed you to sell off assets. The Lionel case expanded that so you could sell major assets, virtually including the whole company. Thus, giving unsecured creditors a very logical reason to avoid a plan of reorganization.

These, and many other changes, say to the world that the chance of your small business surviving bankruptcy is much lower. And if it’s much lower, the banks aren’t going to give debtor-in-possession financing, and rightfully so. The D.I.P. financer gets a priority lien; last in, first out, but the contingency is that your business survives to have the money to pay that super-priority lien. In addition, in Chapter 11, you are required to pay for the attorneys, accountants and consultants of the creditors’ committee; including any investment bankers that may be involved. Essentially, you are paying your creditors to oppose you. In short, Chapter 11 is tilted to the unsecured creditor side of the equation.

Given these facts, Chapter 11 should be an absolute last-resort strategy. A better approach may be to merge your firm with another small business to create one survivable company.

http://www.aljucar.com/

“To our VSBA membership: If they’re not CBDC™ certified, do business with them at your own risk.”

In Washington DC and around the country, hiring independent business development and marketing personnel has become an exercise in fear for small business owners. From exorbitant service pricing to promises made that cannot remotely be kept – small business owners, particularly those new to government procurement, are both confused and unsure about whom they can truly get assistance from. How do we know? – VSBA gets more complaints monthly from our members being duped by business development and marketing professionals than any other subject-matter.

To resolve this issue, VSBA has formed the certifying body for the Certified Business Development Consult™. Our CBDC™ certification process confirms your past performance success and commitment to the highest ethical standards. More importantly, it gives the Small Business gov’t contractor a single point of accountability and recourse for services promised and not rendered.

– OUR THREE APPLICATION STREAMS –

BASIC for consultants with a minimum of 3 up to 9 years of Business Development consulting experience as independent or internal consultants with five satisfactory clients’ evaluations.

EXPERIENCED for consultants with 10 or more years as independent or internal consultants and otherwise meeting the Basic requirements.

MANAGEMENT for high level managers with 20 or more years’ experience with at least 3 years of consulting with clients and accountability for successful completion of projects involving Business Development consultants and otherwise meeting requirements of the Basic track.

– THE PROCESS –

Submit a CBDC™ Application with supporting documentation to VSBA, including three written engagement summaries and provide contact information for five or six clients who will be contacted to verify performance.

– HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? –

The process can take as little as one month, depending on how quickly your references are submitted and client evaluations conducted.

– WHAT DOES IT COST? –

Your certification fee is determined by your VSBA member status. VSBA awards the CBDC™ to members and non-members. There is no requirement for membership in any professional association or to attend any specific course to apply for the CBDC™. VSBA member rates will apply only if you are in good standing at the time you submit payment. If you join VSBA after being awarded the CBDC mark, member rates will be applicable in the next calendar year.

Initial Certification Application and Assessment

(non-refundable)

– Member $350.00

– Non-member $550.00

Annual CBDC™ charge (prorated first year)

– Member $395.00

– Non-member $550.00

Triennial Certification Renewal (an assessment of your continuing professional development)

– Member $150.00

– Non-member $250.00

WE’RE CERTIFIED NOW WHAT?

Once certified, you and your firm will be listed in our Certified Business Development Consult™ Sub-group where our group membership of more than 7000 small business gov’t contractors will have access to contact and contract with you. You and your firm will also be listed in our VSBA Preferred Vendor List, sent out annually and published for download on our website. Finally, you will be able to include the Certified Business Development Consult™ logo on your marketing collateral to provide externally validated credibility to your professionalism.

Send your request for payment instructions and a Certified Business Development Consult™ application to: BizEvangelist@VSBAonline.com

One Voice…

By Rudy Sutherland

‘…you need to be smart, focused and critically selective about how you pursue opportunities, the structures you use to align with partners and generally how you spend your time pursuing and doing business.’

What is the net-effect of reduction in federal agency spend? A: subcontractors aren’t as necessary.

Since subcontracting is the life of Smalls, you need to become smarter and better at developing industry relationships with Prime Contractors and gleaning information about upcoming opportunities.

As I have stated time and again in previous posts; when the government tightens its belt, it applies more efficient acquisition methods and favors companies with existing contracts such as the GSA Schedule, BPAs or IDIQs. If you don’t have one or more of these, you need to venture with a firm(s) that do.

In short, you need to be smart, focused and critically selective about how you pursue opportunities, the structures you use to align with partners and generally how you spend your time pursuing and doing business.

COMPETITIVE SUBCONTRACTING

Obtaining a subcontract on a legacy contract or known solicitation with the “right” Prime contractor is a competitive process and can be quite daunting. Sending out a boiler-plate capability statement will only insure you land in your targets’ junk-mail folder. Candidate firms (Small & Micro) desiring to stand out and be competitive must provide the right information as a synopsis that is both targeted and compelling.

ALJUCAR & Co. has solid relationships with a volume of large & medium size Prime Contractors in various disciplines looking for the “right” subcontractor(s). Historically, to liaise our client base, we offer ‘Prep & Representation Services’ – we are now expanding this service offering to a select group of Small & Micro businesses.

We utilize either an hourly or retainer arrangement; attempting to bring a practical solution to the realities that sound small business face to remain competitive. To request a discrete consultation, please email your request along with your most recent capability statement to emily.parcell@aljucar.com and you will be contacted with next steps.

ALJUCAR & Co.

http://www.aljucar.com/

202.505.2182

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