Government Contracts: A Strategy?


We heard from quite a few people on our blog recently, “Rule You Can Break:  The GSA Schedule“.   Responses generally came from two sources:  (1) companies-wanting-help with the GSA (General Services Administration) process, and (2) consultants-wanting-to-help companies with the GSA contracting process.  The companies-wanting-help generally cited concern over the time involved working through a confusing process.  The consultants-wanting-to-help generally cited their ability to bring insight and speed (relatively speaking) to a time-consuming and difficult process.

I thought about these comments as I sat in the doctor’s office this morning awaiting treatment for the inevitable high blood pressure that comes with selling to the government.  I  did some searching on my mobile device and ran across the Wiki section on Contracting with the United States Government.  Wow, what a nice write-up…very comprehensive and well-written with lots of insight.  Some of the important take-aways, outside of significant detail on how the federal contracting process works:

  • Federal government contracts are governed by law…not a commercial lawyer or procurement person’s idea of what would generate the best value for a company.  That makes the process significantly different when dealing with government vs commercial sales and contracting.  (There can be no procurement unless there’s a law somewhere somehow authorizing it.)
  • Federal acquisitions begin with identification of a requirement, then acquisition planning.   (This is an important one, the one where our company focuses its efforts.)
  •  “Contracting is all about risk allocation and minimizing risk.”  (It would be a good idea to read that one a few times.)
  •  “Proposal writers should bear in mind that the first thing they must do in their proposal is focus on what the Government wants to see in the proposal – namely information directly related to the specifics of the solicitation”.  (In other words, beware of “fluff”.)

Reading Wiki (or anything for that matter) won’t teach you how to win business through the government.  There’s a lot involved.  Time and time again, we see companies naively thinking getting on a government contract is a strategy.  (Get on the contract, and orders will come in.)  It’s not a strategy, just one tactic that needs a solid strategy around it.  If you’re intent on getting on the GSA or other government contracts, first read the Wiki post referenced above.  Then, find a good consultant who specializes in helping companies with the GSA schedule.  Don’t tackle this alone.  If you can’t find one, contact us and we’ll give you some suggestions.

All the best,

Rick

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