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Introduction to SBA's 8(a) BD Program

Published: May 20, 2018

Federal Contracting Made Easy - 001

Published: Apr 29, 2018

Why Should You Become A Federal Contractor? -002

Published: May 1, 2018

HOW TO FIND AGENCIES TO MARKET TO? - 003

Published: May 1, 2018

Capability Statements-What they are and why you need one - 004

Published: May 7, 2018

Finding Opportunities Before Anyone Else - 005

Published: May 13, 2018

How To Overcome “No Past Performance”?

Published: 03/11/19

Ever feel like the chicken and the egg?  You need past performance but how do you get it if the government will not give you a try?  Like any other business, the government requires contractors to have past performance.  So how is a small business supposed to get experience to overcome this stumbling block?

6 Ways to Gain Past Performance

Today, we are going to discuss 6 ways to gain past performance experience. By following the six techniques below you will be able to build your government past performance.

1.     Use relevant commercial experience in your proposal.

The problem with past performance is the Government picks winners based on their track records and not necessarily the promises in the proposal.  This does make a lot of sense and is like the way the commercial arena selects their vendors.  This results in companies paying more attention to successful performance and customer satisfaction because they understand that their past performance evaluations will make or break a company.

The problem with past performance evaluations is that it is extremely difficult for new small businesses to do business with the Government.  New businesses will have no record for the Government to evaluate.  The Government is not supposed to penalize a company and are to give the company a “neutral” past performance rating.  In truth, this is the kiss of death.

So, what is a small business that wants to get into government contracting to do? The majority of past performance evaluations follow the process recommend by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), which has a best practices manual for conducting past performance reviews.

Government Wants Contractors Who Submit deliverables on Time and within Budget.

Most of the time the past performance evaluation will include a survey of customer projects that are similar to the work the government is asking for.  The focal points of the survey include whether you submitted the deliverables on time, and did you complete the project within budget.    You can complete your own past performance evaluation by evaluating previous completed projects that are like the work that Government is asking for.

The Government tends to have a language that is different from the commercial world.  Your job is to write your performance evaluation in the Government language.  Present your commercial projects using the terminology used on the past performance survey form.  Make sure to describe your project’s scope, processes, and requirements using the terminology of the RFP.  Don’t forget to align the project’s attributes with the evaluation criteria in the RFP.

Remember your project description should read like it was a Government project. We all know it was a commercial project, but the goal is to take your past performance and translate it into the Government language.

Government projects tend to have more structure than commercial projects.  Government projects processes are usually formal and documented, along with milestones and deliverables.

The last step on the past performance evaluation is for the Government to reach out and contact the customer.  Let your customer know that the Government may call them and ensure that you provide a valid customer phone number.  Also, it is good to have an idea of what the customer may say about you.  Remember that a successful past performance evaluation requires the participation of your customers.  This is an imposition commercial companies may be reluctant to make.  Send a copy of the survey form to the customer so they know it is coming.

2.      Consider Micro-purchases.

Micro-purchases as the name implies, are small purchases generally under $10,000 that do not requirement competitive bids.  Seventy percent (70%) of the government procurement transactions are micro-purchases and are processed on credit cards. Once you win a micro purchase you now have Government past performance and can put this on your Capability Statement.

To get started, contact your local Small Business Specialist.  Each Agency will have someone assigned to help small businesses and that is the person you want to talk too.  The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) is where you will find the Small Business Specialist.  Small Business Specials support small businesses by helping them market their products and services to their Agency.

3.      Obtain Subcontracts

Subcontracting is the most used method for obtaining past performance.  As a subcontractor you not only get to perform the work, but you come familiar with the government’s processes without the risk.  To find subcontracting opportunities visit https://eweb1.sba.gov/subnet/client/dsp_Landing.cfm.  For more information see the video on Subcontracting.

4.  Team With a More Experienced Contractor

Teaming with an experienced contractor is a great way to win a contract.  However, be careful who you team with.  You need to be diligent and do your homework on your proposed teaming partner.  Does your teaming partner have a good reputation with the federal government?  Do they have any current teaming relationships?  Do they have working capital?  How is their past performance?

Make sure that you do your homework and check out the business that you want to team with.  The best way to test a relationship is do a small contract together.

5. Find awarded contracts on FedBizOps.

You never know when a small business that has recently won a contract may be needing help.  Establish a relationship with the company.  This may lead into a teaming relationship in the future.  Make sure that you do your homework on the company.

6.         Set-aside Certifications

Are you claiming all the certifications that your business is eligible for?  Can you qualify for any Small Business Certifications such as 8(a) and HUBZOne Programs?  Both programs help small business stand out from competitors.   For more information see our 8(a) and HUBZone videos.

By implementing any of the above strategies is a great way for a small business to get started in government contracting and build their past performance.  It is not impossible to get started in Government contracting but it does require you to think outside the box sometimes.

For more articles.

New Episode

Ostensible Subcontractor Rule

Published: 03/8/19

All government contractors need to understand the ostensible subcontractor rule and how SBA makes the determination.  This is especially true for new government contractors who lack past performance.  Even if a prime contractor is following the limitations on subcontracting, it does not mean that SBA cannot find affiliation between them.  Small business government contractors that rely too much on another business for subcontracting could raise concern for affiliation under the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule.

What is Ostensible Subcontractor Rule?

Ostensible contractor affiliate happens when a small business holds a prime contract, but a subcontractor ends up controlling the work.  SBA will review whether the subcontractor performed the primary and vital work of the contract.  If the subcontractor performs the primary and vital work on the contract, then SBA will deem that the small prime contractor is affiliated with the subcontractor based on the ostensible subcontractor rule.  The Ostensible subcontractor Rule also states that a small business is overly reliant on a subcontractor may be deemed affiliated for size determination purposes.  Therefore, small businesses must understand the potential risks under this rule when hiring subcontractors for government contracts.  By the way, this rule can also come into play when using teaming agreements and subcontracting agreements.

How This Rule Came To Be?

The rule was implemented to stop large businesses from entering relationships with small businesses to get around SBA’s size requirements.  Please see 13CFR121.404(d)(5) for the regulations governing this rule.

Let’s take a deeper look into this rule.  By now, you are asking yourself how SBA determines the primary and vital work of the contract.  That is a great question, unfortunately SBA does not provide any information on this matter.  The small business prime contractor must determine the main requirements of the contract and ensure that it is performing these tasks with its own employees.  If you let your subcontractor perform those tasks, you will have given SBA more reason to find affiliation. 

Another Factor

There is another factor that you must take into consideration and that factor is unusually reliant on your subcontractor.  In fact, in order to protect yourself you need to meet both conditions; perform primary and vital requirements AND cannot be overly reliant on your subcontractor.  These two items are independent and if you do not meet both you could be found affiliated with your subcontractor.

SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals has stated that SBA must examine all aspects of the relationship, including the terms of the proposal, and any agreements between the firms.  When the prime contractor and its subcontractor perform the same type of work, the firm that will perform the majority of the total contract must be deemed to be performing the primary and vital contract requirements.  This is different the primary and vital requirements. 

Four Key Factors

Below are Four Key Factors that will lead to unusual reliance:

  1. Proposed subcontractor is the incumbent contractor that is not eligible to compete for the procurement;
  2. The Prime Contractor plans to hire the large majority of its workforce from the subcontractor;
  3. Prime contractor’s proposed management previously worked for incumbent on previous contract;
  4. The Prime contractor lacks relevant experience and must rely upon the experienced subcontractor to win the contract.

The first factor alone is not enough to show unusual reliance but add one or more factors and you are opening yourself up to a protest based up ostensible subcontractor rule.  Another important fact is SBA will look at the final revised proposal.  Don’t think that you can later make changes to this final proposal and fix your errors.  This will not work.

Conclusion

The goal with today’s topic is to make you aware of the ostensible subcontractor rule and provide some guidance for you.  If you are in doubt, contact your legal representative and run the circumstance by them. 

For more articles.

New Episode

Limitations On Subcontracting EP-055

Published: 03/4/19

3/4/2019

Limitations on subcontracting for prime contractors is an important topic. Especially now that the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) are NOT in
agreement. Let’s get into this topic in more detail, shall we?

Background

In January 2013, the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) became law. This Act made major changes to the limitations on subcontracting. The law changes the way the government determined compliance with the limitations on subcontracting for prime contractors. By the way, limitations on subcontracting applies to service and supply contracts. The old way was formula based upon “cost of personnel” and “Cost of Manufacturing”, to formulas based on the amount paid by the government. Most importantly the 2013 NDAA allowed small primes to claim performance credit for “similarly situated entities.” In essence, this would make it easier for a small prime contractor to meet his self
performance requirement. A prime contractor could use the work performed by the first tier subcontractor and add it to his self performance to meet the requirement.

3 1/2 Years Later

Three and a half years after the 2013 NDAA became law, SBA finally published a final rule implementing the changes. See 13 C.F.R 125.6. SBA’s regulation took effect on June 30, 2016. The Department of Veteran Affairs declared a Class Deviation incorporating the reference from SBA regulations almost immediately after SBA regulations went into effect. However, contracting officers from other agencies continue to use the old formulas and did not acknowledge similarly situated entities. (Note FAR 52.219-14 applies to small businesses and 8(a) contracts. For HUBZone, , non-VA SDVOSB procurements, and WOSB/EDWOSB contracts the regulation specifies the clauses already.

5 Years Later

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FCME uploads new episodes every Monday & Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. MST. Topics include proposal writing, bonds, types of contracts, why do business with the federal government, 8(a), business services for veterans and women, where federal opportunities are listed, and more. You can listen to the podcast here or with your favorite podcast provider (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher). FCME is also active on social media and launched the Federal Contracting Made Easy YouTube channel on January 1, 2019.

On December 4, 2018 the FAR Council finally took the first major step toward implementing the changes. The FAR Council published a proposed rule in the Federal Register. As of today 2/17/19 the FAR has not been changed.

The result

As one would expect this led to a ton of confusion. Which regulation does the prime contractor
follow? SBA regulation? FAR clause? Both? Contracting officers took the position that the FAR clauses take precedence until they’re amended. However, the CFR takes precedence over the FAR. What if you had a joint venture formed under SBA’s regulation must pledge to comply with 13 CFR125.6. What a mess.

Proposed FAR Changes

What are the changes recommended by the FAR Council? Instead of a mixture of clauses the FAR Council is recommending consolidating the clauses for all small business programs. This makes
sense. The proposed rule would also allow prime contractors to use similarly situated entities to meet their performance thresholds. What does this mean for small businesses? It means that if you are a small business and you subcontract to another small business first tier subcontractor, you can claim their work performance as part of your performance. Here is an example, an 8(a) company can subcontract to another 8(a) company and use their subcontract performance to meet your performance expectations.

The proposed rule could change before the final rule based upon public comment. We will have to wait and see what happens. When will the final rule come out? I am not sure but you can always do the research yourself.

Hopefully the final rule will resolve the confusion for small businesses. In the meantime, I would recommend that small businesses read the FAR, CFR and talk to the contracting officer. Remember you must follow what FAR clauses are in your contract. If you are still confused, I would suggest that you talk to your attorney and get legal interpretation.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, sometimes the rules are not clear, and you must use your best judgement. You will find the clauses pertaining to your limitations on subcontracting in your contract. Always read your
contract. If you have any questions talk to the contracting officer first and if you still are unsure call your attorney. Remember I am not an attorney and am providing you with the best information that I have.

For more articles.

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FCME uploads new episodes every Monday & Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. MST. Topics include proposal writing, bonds, types of contracts, why do business with the federal government, 8(a), business services for veterans and women, where federal opportunities are listed, and more. You can listen to the podcast here or with your favorite podcast provider (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher). FCME is also active on social media and launched the Federal Contracting Made Easy YouTube channel on January 1, 2019.

New Episode

How To Become a Government Subcontractor? EP-054

Published: 03/1/19

 

FCME uploads new episodes every Monday & Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. MST. Topics include proposal writing, bonds, types of contracts, why do business with the federal government, 8(a), business services for veterans and women, where federal opportunities are listed, and more. You can listen to the podcast here or with your favorite podcast provider (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher). FCME is also active on social media and launched the Federal Contracting Made Easy YouTube channel on January 1, 2019.

 

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054 How To Become a Government Subcontractor?

Introduction

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We all know that the government is the largest buyer of products and services in the world. The competition is fierce for prime contractors. As a result, there are companies that are building relationships with these prime contractors in hopes of receiving a subcontract.

Many small businesses have gotten into government contracting by utilizing this method. The goal of today’s episode is to introduce you to subcontracting. So let’s get on with it.

What is a Subcontractor?

A prime contractor is the one that received the contract from the government. A prime contractor is the point of contact on this contract and deals directly with the customer. Whereas, a subcontractor participates with the prime contractor to help complete the project for the client. As a subcontractor your contract is with the prime contractor. Simple enough! Consequently, depending on the contract a subcontractor plan may be required.

Subcontracting Plan

Federal contracts may require a subcontracting plan. When they do, the prime contractor must hire subcontractors. When is a subcontracting plan required? Well, that depends on the contract value and type of work being performed. Large prime contractors with contracts for goods and/or services other than construction, valued greater than $700,000 must establish subcontracting plans and goals for subcontracting with small businesses. For those prime contractors in the construction industry they will require subcontracting plans when the contract is greater than $1.5 Million. What does this mean to you? In short, it opens the doors for small businesses to become subcontractors. FCME uploads new episodes every Monday & Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. MST. Topics include proposal writing, bonds, types of contracts, why do business with the federal government, 8(a), business services for veterans and women, where federal opportunities are listed, and more. You can listen to the podcast here or with your favorite podcast provider (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher). FCME is also active on social media and launched the Federal Contracting Made Easy YouTube channel on January 1, 2019. Website Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Website Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube

 

Steps to Become a Subcontractor to a Prime Government Contractor?

Next, we are going to list the steps to streamline the process of becoming a subcontractor. In short, just follow these steps to get ready to become a subcontractor.

Step 1. Get Your Official Paperwork in Order

1. To protect your personal assets from liability you must structure your entity correctly.

2. DUNS Registration. This is your business credit score.

3. Register in the System for Award Management (SAM.GOV). This registration is free, and it is essential for being paid by the government and government contractors.

 

After your paperwork is in order go to step 2.

Step 2. Research Agencies and Prime contractor directories for subcontracting needs.

Now that your paperwork is in order it is time to research prime contractors and find opportunities within our niche.

Many federal agencies have Subcontracting Opportunity Directories that you can review. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a database called SubNet which allows large prime contractors to post opportunities for small businesses to serve as subcontractors. I have known many small businesses that have used this system to find prime contractors.

General Services Administration (GSA) has a subcontracting directory for small businesses that are looking for subcontracting opportunities with prime contractors. The directory lists large business prime contractors that are required to have subcontracting plans and goals for subcontracting with small businesses.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has a similar directory for large prime contractors that small businesses can use to find subcontracting opportunities.

We have listed a few resources to help you get started finding subcontracting opportunities. Let us know if you find more. In the meantime, use the websites above to get started. FCME uploads new episodes every Monday & Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. MST. Topics include proposal writing, bonds, types of contracts, why do business with the federal government, 8(a), business services for veterans and women, where federal opportunities are listed, and more. You can listen to the podcast here or with your favorite podcast provider (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher). FCME is also active on social media and launched the Federal Contracting Made Easy YouTube channel on January 1, 2019.

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As you can see, the government wants large prime contractors to use subcontractors. They have even gone out of their way to make it easy for you to find these opportunities. Don’t wait start using these listings now. After you have completed step 2 move on to step 3.

Step 3. Attend Outreach Events

Now that step 2 has been completed it is time to find outreach events to attend. Many prime contractors will hold outreach events, publish notice of sources sought, or solicitation for subcontract work. To start, you will need to create a Capability Statement to share with government contracting officers and prime government contractors. Don’t know what a Capability Statement is or how to write one? See our video here.

Where are these events held? These events are held all over the country. See the list below for events that you may want to attend if you cannot locate one close to you. To find more opportunities use Federal Business Opportunities and search special notices. Lots of time the government will list opportunities there.

1. GCO Consulting Group is an SDVOSB that holds events in the Washington DC metro area.

2. Solvability is a government contracting consulting firm which holds annual events in Florida GovCon Summit.

3. AFCEA West connects military and government leaders with industry professionals.

4. National 8(a) Association Small Business Conference brings together small, minority and 8(a) businesses and offers educational sessions and resources.

 

After you have completed this step go on to step 4.

Step 4. Research Prime Contractor Websites

Prime contractors know that they cannot win a government contract unless they have a pool of subcontractors that they can refer to. Therefore, most large prime contractors’ websites contain information for potential subcontractors. These websites will explain how to register with the large prime contractor and the types of small businesses they are looking for. 

Below are a few prime contractor websites for you. Please note that these prime contractors are not listed in any order.

Top Prime Contractors (Not all listed)

  • • L3 Technologies – https://www.l3t.com/suppliers/small-business
  • • Boeing – http://www.boeingsuppliers.com/
  • • Honeywell – https://www.honeywell.com/contact-us/small-business
  • • Pratt & Whitney – https://www.pw.utc.com/company/doing-business-with-us
  • • Lockheed Martin Corporation – https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/suppliers/information.htmlhttps://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/suppliers/information.html
  • • General Dynamics – https://www.gd.com/suppliers/become-supplier
  • Raytheon – https://www.raytheon.com/suppliers
  • • Kiewit – https://www.kiewit.com/services/procurement/
  • • PCL Constructors Inc. – https://www.pcl.com/Partners-in-Building/Pages/Subcontractor-and-Supplier-Registration.aspx

 

We have only listed a small portion of prime contractors above. You will need to spend some time and find prime contractors within your geographical area. Once you have your registered on the website it would be a good idea to start building a relationship with the procurement person within the company. Call and setup a meeting to introduce yourself and discuss your capabilities with them. Give them a copy of your Capability Statement. Remember to follow up after the meeting and continually after the meeting. After you have been to some meetings it is time to go to the next step.

Step 5. Prepare your administrative and accounting requirements for being a subcontractor.

Before you start work as a subcontractor you will need to ensure that you are familiar with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation (DFAR) and other acronyms that the government uses. Even though you are not the prime contractor you need to understand what is required of you.

  • You will need to become familiar with the rules and regulations associated with government contracting. For example, FAR Subpart 19.7 The Small Business Subcontracting Program and DFARS Subpart 219.7 (Remember DFARS is the supplement to the FAR for DoD). Also, you will need to get up to speed on FAR Part 44 Subcontracting Policies and Procedures.
  • Explore training opportunities with SBA, DoD or PTAC. SBA has online and in class training opportunities available. For online opportunities go here. For in class opportunities see your local SBA office.
  • Have you established internal financial controls and are they in compliance with Generally Acceptable Accounting Practices (GAAP)? If you do not know please contact your accountant. If you don’t have an accountant, then you will need to get one. It is advisable to have a good accountant, and attorney that you can reach out too. Don’t think of these professionals as an expense but rather there are part of your team. The same goes for your bonding agent.
  • Will your company need a loan if awarded a contract? Look at financing options BEFORE you need one. It is better to have funding available before you need it.

 

Once you have completed this section it is time to make sure you know your correct set-aside. After you finish the above steps move on.

What is Your Business Ownership Status?

What percentage of the business do you own? Is it greater than or equal to 51%? Why do I ask? Because in order to qualify for set-aside’s you will have to declare your ownership percentage. If you do not own at least 51% or more of a company than you cannot claim that status. Also certain certifications require that you be certified by SBA. For example, you cannot claim the 8(a) or HUBZone status unless SBA has issued that status to you.

Why does this matter in subcontracting? Because government agencies will define goals for their contractors for specific types of set-asides for certain certifications. The certifications include, but are not limited to 8(a) BD companies, HUBZone companies, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, and Woman-Owned Small Business.

In other articles we discussed each of these set-asides in detail. If you are not familiar with them check out our other articles. It is important to make sure that you claim the correct set-aside for your business. If you misrepresent yourself, the government can take action against you. Or worse, you could be suspended or debarred from government contracts. 

Now that you have declared your set-aside status it is time to move on.

Do I need any documents as a Subcontractor? Do I need to have a license?

The prime contractor and the industry in which you are in will determine the documents. A license will be needed if you are seeking subcontract work that otherwise requires state or federal licensing. If you are not sure that your business requires a license check with your State’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. In addition, to the documents mentioned in step 1. Other documentation you will need to consider creating include:

  • A Capability Statement. This is a marketing document that will be required as a prime or subcontractor.
  • Proof of General Liability Insurance Coverage. The amount required will be dependent on the industry. Your company may also be required to obtain bonding. This is industry specific. If you are in the construction industry you will need bonding. Why would bonding be required? Doesn’t the prime contractor take care of the bond? Your prime contractor may require that you bond your portion of the job. This is especially true if a large portion of the work to be performed is by one subcontractor.
  • Proposal Documentation to submit to the Prime Contractor. For more information see FAR 15.404-3.

 

Small Business Financing

Because the government pays prime contractors after invoicing, it is necessary for subcontractors to have access to enough financing to cover the period between beginning the work and receiving the invoice payments. You could be required to demonstrate the availability of financing prior to being award a subcontract as part of showing the financial sustainability of your business. You can obtain a financial capability letter from a lender.

By the way, if you are having difficulty obtaining financing, consider using SBA’s 7a loan program. Contact your local SBA office or your lender for more information.

Conclusion

Becoming a subcontractor is a great way to get familiar with the government contracting. The information that we have gone over is a great way for you to get started as a subcontractor.

 

FCME uploads new episodes every Monday & Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. MST. Topics include proposal writing, bonds, types of contracts, why do business with the federal government, 8(a), business services for veterans and women, where federal opportunities are listed, and more. You can listen to the podcast here or with your favorite podcast provider (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher). FCME is also active on social media and launched the Federal Contracting Made Easy YouTube channel on January 1, 2019.

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Please remember to subscribe to our podcast, and YouTube channels as we provide more information in future episodes.

Please help support our podcast by purchasing from our store. https://teespring.com/stores/federal-contracting-made-easy

New Episode

How To Discover Your Passion

Published: 02/25/19

I answered the  phone the other day and the gentleman on the other end of the line stated that he wanted to start a business.  I responded “Okay what type of business are you interested in?”  His response was “the one that sells the most to the Federal Government”.  I have heard that response before.  In reality, he did not know what type of business he wanted,  he just wanted to sell to the world’s largest purchaser of products and services. I then proceeded to tell the man that he needed to find something that he was passionate about doing before he decided to go into business.

PASSION

When one is passionate about their business they have the drive to work on their business day in and day out.  They are driven to put the time and effort into something and no longer think of it as work.  They are eager to get up in the morning and invest more time on their business.  In other words, they are excited to get to work and it is all that they can think about.

Many small business owners started their businesses because they were tired of working in a 9 to 5 job that they hated.  How many of you cannot wait for Friday evening and dread Monday mornings?  How many hate to go to work and feel trapped  like there is no way out?  Staying in your current job is not going to make you any happier but it will stop you from reaching your full potential.

Imagine that you get up early and jump out of bed ready to go to work.  You are so lost in your work that you lose track of time.  Work is no longer work but something that you love to do.  This is what passion is.

Steps to finding Your Passion

1.  Start With An Open Mind

The first step is to open your mind to all possibilities. At this stage nothing is off limits.  You need to believe that you can do this and find something(s) that you are passionate about.  One way to do this is to surround yourself with people who are living their passions.  If you friends and family are not living their dreams then it is time to expand your circle of friends.  Look and find people that are living their dreams and be inspired by them.

2.   Examine Your Life and Find Peak Moments

Review your life and search for things that you love to do.  Try to think if money was not an object what would I spend my days wanting to do.   Make a listing of those things that we will examine in the near future.  I remember reading a great article about a woman who has going through these same steps.  The woman loves to scuba drive but was frustrated with trying to find vacations around the subject.  She realized that she cannot be the only one that is having these difficulties so she started a business to fill the void.

3.  Don’t Make It About Money

The purpose of finding your passion is to start a business but it is not about the money that can be generated.  It’s about doing something that you love.  Money is secondary to the goal.  If you make the selection process about money you will limit the options available to you.

4.  Don’t Set An Artificial Goal

You are the only one that can set your professional ceiling.  Don’t sell yourself short.  You are the only one that can determine where you will go.  Most of the people that I deal with tend to sell themselves short.  If you want more growth then you need to empower yourself!

5.  Gather Your List and Check It Twice

Now take your list and look for similar items.  What items can be put together?  Is there a problem that needs to be solved?

Remember that the world needs your passion.  So don’t waste another minute sit down now and find your passion.  Your passions will always guide you right so take the chance and let’s get started now!

New Episode

Using FOIA To Improve Your Proposals EP-053

Published: 02/22/19

The Freedom of Information Act, otherwise known as FOIA, allows individuals to request federal agency records or information.  However, there are exceptions, nine in fact, and three special law enforcement record exclusions.  We will go through the list of exemptions and exclusions for your benefit.  Remember, the more educated you are, the better your FOIA requests will be.

New Episode

How To Make a Great First Impression

Published: 02/18/19

When you meet someone for the first time, they instantly form an impression based upon your age, gender, race, height and weight. People will also judge you based on your body language. Do you look someone straight in the eye? Do you cross your arms? Do you stand up straight? Your total impressions are a combination of all these factors. So what does this have to do with 30 seconds to make an impression? Everything! Though you cannot change your age, gender, race, height or weight you can change the way you stand, whether or not you fold your arms or legs.

Average Attention Span

In business you need to capture the attention of everyone you meet within the first 30 seconds. Why within the first 30 seconds? That is the typical amount of time it takes to ride an elevator from the bottom floor to the top floor of the building. Thus this is where the name elevator speech or pitch came from. Add to this the fact that the average attention span of a human is between 8 to 20 seconds and you soon realize how important this speech is. So what if you take longer to deliver your speech? What could possibly happen? You lose the chance to capture your audience. Once you lose their attention you’re lost the opportunity to sell them your product or service. That is the whole purpose of developing your 30-second elevator speech.

Remember you only have one chance to make a great first impression! Don’t risk losing a client because you did not prepare your elevator speech.

What is an elevator pitch or speech?

An elevator pitch or speech is a short persuasive summary used to define a product, service or organization. When used correctly it will peak the interest of the person you are talking too. As the name indicates the summary is delivered between 25 to 30 seconds. The speech communicates who you are, what you have to offer and what are the benefits.  It can some time to get your pitch right. Be prepared to go through several iterations before getting the finalized pitch.

Steps To Creating a 30 Second Elevator Speech

1. Identify the Goal

First start by thinking about the objective of your pitch. For instance, do you want to tell potential clients about your organization? Do you have a great new product idea that you want to pitch to your banker? Do you want an engaging pitch to explain what you do for a living?

2.  Explain What You Do

Start by explaining what your organization does. Focus on problems that you solved and how this has helped your clients. If possible, add information or statistic that reflects value in what you do.

3.  Add Your Value Proposition

Explain why a potential customer should buy a product or service from you. What makes you different from the competition? What value does your product or service provides that is better than or solves a problem better than the competition?

4.  Ask an Open Ended Question

The main goal of this section is to leave your potential clients wanting more!!! This step will engage your potential client into the conversation. You need to ask questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no answer. By sparking their interest in your product or service will keep them engaged and lead to a longer conversation.

5.  Now Put It All Together

Now put each section of the pitch together. Then read it aloud and time the speech to see how long it takes. It should take between 25 to 30 seconds at the most. If the speech is a little long look for items that can be removed so that you are within the timeframe. Remember that your speech needs to grab and hold the interest of your potential customer.

6.  Practice, Practice and Practice

You need to practice the speech/pitch regularly so that it flows smoothly off your tongue. You don’t want the speech to come out like an aggressive sales pitch. Remember to pay attention to your body language while delivering the speech. You want to make sure that you are not saying one thing and your body language is saying another. You don’t want the speech to sound like it was prepared. You need to refine it so that it comes out like it was prepared even though it was.

Remember to keep your business cards, and or brochures on you so that you can hand these out potential clients.   Don’t lose a potential client because you were not properly prepared.

Also you can develop different elevator speeches for each product or different services that you provide. One of the benefits of an elevator speech can help you focus on exactly what you do and whom you are doing it for. It also helps you clearly market your business.

Here are some do’s and don’ts of elevator speeches.

DO’s of Elevator Speeches

  1. Do make your elevator speech sound natural, effortless and conversational.
  2. Do make it from the heart.
  3. Do revise your speech refining it and making it yours.
  4. Do show your passion for what you do. Enthusiasm is contagious.
  5. Do pay attention to your audience and end the speech early if you detect that you have lost your audience.

DON’Ts of Elevator Speeches

  1. Don’t miss networking opportunities because you have not prepared your elevator speech.
  2. Don’t rush through the speech. Remember to talk at a natural pace.
  3. Don’t wonder during your speech.
  4. Don’t use technical terms.
  5. Don’t forget your Value Proposition

By developing a naturally flowing, compact elevator speech you will be prepared for any networking, marketing, or general questions asked by potential clients, bankers, suppliers or the general public. You never know where your next sale may come from. It just maybe the next person you meet in an elevator who happens to purchase your next product or service!!!  Now let’s get started developing your elevator speech because you never know where the next sale will come from!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Episode

Contracting Secrets Part 2 – Finding Opportunities Before Competitors EP-051

Published: 02/15/19

 

FCME uploads new episodes every Monday & Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. MST. Topics include proposal writing, bonds, types of contracts, why do business with the federal government, 8(a), business services for veterans and women, where federal opportunities are listed, and more. You can listen to the podcast here or with your favorite podcast provider (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher). FCME is also active on social media and launched the Federal Contracting Made Easy YouTube channel on January 1, 2019.

 

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Episode 051

Small Businesses Don’t wait learn these contracting secrets now!!!

In today’s competitive Federal contracting market, it is necessary to take advantage of all opportunities available. In this second part series, we discuss our secret method using an Internet Search engine for finding opportunities that have not been released for proposal yet. Why is finding contracting opportunities prior to their release so important? Well, here are a few reasons for doing so.

Benefits

1. Allows you to track federal opportunities so you know when they are going to be released.

2. You can concentrate on contracting opportunities within your niche.

3. Allows you to build a team to proposal on the opportunity

4. You can gather information from last proposal (on recurring contracts) to better position yourself by using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

5. You can market to the government.

6. Goal is to meet with the government (hopefully a contracting officer, end user or technical representative) and give your Capability Briefing along with your Capability Statement.

7. Learn how to use USASpending.gov or Federal Procurement Data System to enhance your competitive edge.

 

Relationships

The above reasons alone should convince you that it is time to start tracking opportunities before they are released. By finding out what the government thinks they are going to spend their money on allows you to start to build relationships with them. The more familiar the government is with you and your company the more comfortable they will be. The benefits of building relationships are the government may have other opportunities that are not listed that they will need some help

with. If they are familiar with you, they may just consider you for those opportunities. How will they consider you? They may ask that you bid on the project!

Conclusion

Now I do have to say that the proposed listings that I teach you how to find will have opportunities that may not get funded that year. These listings are the government’s wish list of things that need to be done but do to budget restraints they just can’t fund the project. This does not happen to all projects, but it does happen.

So, what are you waiting for? Watch your video and learn all that you can to become a better contractor.

For more topics.

Please help support our podcast by purchasing from our store. https://teespring.com/stores/federal-contracting-made-easy

 

 

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