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  • 11 Nov 2019 12:16 PM | Deleted user

    On Tuesday, November 6, 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the formation of the new Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF). This new unit is aimed at deterring, detecting, investigating, and prosecuting procurement-related antitrust crimes such as bid-rigging and price-fixing conspiracies. The unit will seek to protect taxpayer-funded projects at the federal, state, and local levels from antitrust violations and related crimes. Contracting fraud only serves to drive up government costs and limits the level of competition and participation in government procurement.

    The new PCSF will be an inter-agency partnership consisting of prosecutors from DOJ’s Antitrust Division and 13 U.S. attorneys’ offices, FBI investigators, and inspectors general offices of the Defense Department and the Postal Service, among others. In addition to investigating and prosecuting procurement fraud, the PCSF will also engage in training procurement officials nationwide to detect and report suspicious practices.

    Procurement officials will be taught the following MAPS analysis for detecting collusion (https://www.justice.gov/atr/red-flags-collusion):

    M = MARKET

    Who is in the market for this award?

    Find out how many vendors could compete for the award and which vendors are best positioned to perform the award. The award may be the target of collusion if:

    • There are few vendors in the market that offer the good or service. 
    • A small group of major vendors controls a large share of the market.
    • The good or service is standardized, so that the determining factor in the award is price rather than other competitive factors (such as design, quality, or service).


    Are there similarities between vendor applications or proposals?

    Closely examine the proposals or applications submitted by the competing vendors and look for similarities. The award may be the target of collusion if:

    • Two or more proposals contain similar handwriting, typos, or mathematical errors. 
    • Two or more proposals are sent from the same mailing address, e-mail address, fax number, or overnight courier account number.
    • Two or more proposals reflect that last-minute changes (such as white-outs and cross-outs) were made to alter price quotes.
    • The document properties of two or more electronic proposals show that the proposals were created or edited by one vendor.


    Have patterns developed among competing vendors?

    Review the outcome of prior awards for the same product or service to identify patterns over time. The award may be the target of collusion if:

    • Over a series of awards, competing vendors rotate as the award winner.
    • Over a series of awards, routine competing vendors win the same or similar amounts of work.
    • Over a series of awards, one vendor always wins, regardless of competition.
    • The vendor that wins the award subcontracts work to losing vendors or to vendors that withdrew their proposals or refused to submit proposals.
    • As compared with prior awards, a smaller number of vendors submit proposals for the current award.


    Have vendors demonstrated behavior that suggests that they worked together on the award?

    Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior that indicates that vendors worked together rather than competed for the award. The award may be the target of collusion if:

    • A vendor submits a proposal for a procurement or grant award, and you know that the vendor lacks the ability to provide the goods or services requested.
    • A vendor brings multiple proposals to an in-person procurement or grant process or submits multiple proposals.
    • A vendor makes statements on the phone or by e-mail indicating advance knowledge of a competitor's prices or likelihood of winning the award.

    Incentives for Good Behavior

    The DOJ provides incentives for companies to comply with antitrust laws, so that a company may avoid prosecution for criminal antitrust violations should they occur.

    The Leniency Program provides companies and individuals that meet certain conditions an opportunity to avoid prosecution for criminal antitrust violations. To qualify for leniency, a company must self-report the conduct and fully cooperate with the Antitrust Division’s investigation. Additional conditions are outlined and more details are available here (https://www.justice.gov/atr/page/file/926521/download)

    In addition to the Leniency Program, a company may qualify for a deferred prosecution agreement. The company would be required to self-report its offense and demonstrate that it had an robust and effective antitrust compliance program in place at the time of the offense.

    What does this mean for contractors?

    There are major consequences for public procurement corruption including being barred from government contracting, paying large fines/damages, as well as the possibility of criminal prosecution. The formation of the Procurement Collusion Strike Force will drive increased scrutiny of government procurement as well as better coordination of agencies during investigations.

    Contractors should expect an increased chance that their bids may be reviewed and should proactively implement robust and effective antitrust compliance programs.

  • 05 Nov 2019 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    When we met GCA member, Keith Anderson, a year ago we KNEW there was something extra special about him. Keith learned of GCA’s offerings through a close relative and thought it couldn’t hurt to explore the opportunities of membership. And he was absolutely right!

    Keith Anderson is the founder and owner of KAG-1 which is a veteran owned logistics company based in Charlotte, NC. Keith understood that to get the most out of his membership, he would have to commit to traveling occasionally for some trainings and special programs offered by GCA. One event in particular was the Small Business Connection Series (SBCS) event entitled Heavy Hitters Big Spenders featuring the Capability Pitch contest back on August 22 nd of this year. “I traveled to take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate with Ms. Prudence Howard from the VA and delegates who traveled from Korea to be here for the event,” reported Keith.

    Traveling to Atlanta paid off as KAG-1 was one of the guests invited to South Korea to present at the Global Healthcare Conference last week. “The experience was overwhelmingly successful! The Korean delegates embraced KAG-1 and stated that I was the type of partner they were looking to work with,” stated Keith. “I presented on supply chain and how the VA & GSA schedules have a need for medical supplies. Through education and consistent weekly communication with each of the Korean companies, I have been able to a grow a connection that will lead to opportunities.” Consistency is key as we have seen so many business owners start the relationship building but not continue to pursue the follow through.

    As we celebrate all veterans and veteran business owners in the month of November, the Government Contractors Association is especially proud of KAG-1 for representing his business, our organization, and serving our country for 20 years in the U.S. Navy. GCA will be honoring all Veterans at the November 12 th association event at 6pm. (Click to register https://www.govassociation.org/event-3592707 ). Refreshments will be served and parking is free.

    Want to connect with Keith Anderson? Contact him directly at keith@KAG1inc.com or call 844-524-5241.

  • 29 Oct 2019 9:00 AM | Deleted user

    Are we at risk of another government shutdown?

    There is always the risk of a government shutdown. Right now, the parties in Congress are at odds again and another possible government shutdown may happen as this year comes to an end.

    What is a government shutdown?

    Congress meets each year to pass a fiscal year budget.

    When they cannot agree on a budget, then they will general issue a Continuing Resolution to keep the government going until a budget agreement is reached.

    If a budget is not agreed on and the Continuing Resolution ends, then a government shutdown will occur.

    What things are NOT impacted by a government shutdown?

     Unemployment checks

     Social security

     Medicare reimbursements

     Farm subsidies

     Veterans' benefits

     Interest payments on the national debt

    Who are required to report for duty? (Essential Personnel)

    Essential personnel are required to report for duty. Although they do not know when their next paycheck will come.

     Active duty military

     Aircraft controllers

     Federal law enforcement agents/ Border patrol officers

    Who are not required to report for duty? (Non-Essential Personnel)

    Non-Essential personnel are furloughed and will not be paid.

     National parks

     National Zoo

     Smithsonian museums

     Diplomats

     IRS workers

    How are Government Contractors impacted by a government shutdown?

    Washington Post reports:

    Nearly 10,000 contracting companies impacted by the government shutdown

    According to Bloomberg, the shutdown may cost contractors $200 million each day, or almost $1.5 billion per week.

    What does this mean for you as a business trying to get into the government market?

    It does not impact you much at all, if any.

     Delay in RFP/RFQ’s being issue.

     Delay in you meeting with potential agency buyers.

     Delay in your marketing and capture plans.

    What does it mean for you if you are an active government contractor?

    If and when there is a shutdown, you may receive a STOP WORK ORDER if your agency or your project is impacted by the government shutdown.

    What is a STOP WORK ORDER?


    52.242-15 Stop-Work Order.

    As prescribed in 42.1305(b), insert the following clause. The “90-day” period stated in the clause may be reduced to less than 90days.

    Stop-Work Order (Aug 1989)

    1. (a) The Contracting Officer may, at any time, by written order to the Contractor, require the Contractor to stop all, or any part, of the work called for by this contract for a period of 90days after the order is delivered to the Contractor, and for any further period to which the parties may agree. The order shall be specifically identified as a stop-work order issued under this clause. Upon receipt of the order, the Contractor shall immediately comply with its terms and take all reasonable steps to minimize the incurrence of costs allocable to the work covered by the order during the period of work stoppage. Within a period of 90days after a stop-work is delivered to the Contractor, or within any extension of that period to which the parties shall have agreed, the Contracting Officer shall either-

    a. (1) Cancel the stop-work order; or

    b. (2) Terminate the work covered by the order as provided in the Default, or the Termination for Convenience of the Government, clause of this contract.

    2. (b) If a stop-work order issued under this clause is canceled or the period of the order or any extension thereof expires, the Contractor shall resume work. The Contracting Officer shall make an equitable adjustment in the delivery schedule or contract price, or both, and the contract shall be modified, in writing, accordingly, if-

    a. (1) The stop-work order results in an increase in the time required for, or in the Contractor’s cost properly allocable to, the performance of any part of this contract; and

    b. (2) The Contractor asserts its right to the adjustment within 30days after the end of the period of work stoppage; provided, that, if the Contracting Officer decides the facts justify the action, the Contracting Officer may receive and act upon the claim submitted at any time before final payment under this contract.

    3. (c) If a stop-work order is not canceled and the work covered by the order is terminated for the convenience of the Government, the Contracting Officer shall allow reasonable costs resulting from the stop-work order in arriving at the termination settlement.

    4. (d) If a stop-work order is not canceled and the work covered by the order is terminated for default, the Contracting Officer shall allow, by equitable adjustment or otherwise, reasonable costs resulting from the stop-work order.

    (End of clause)


    A stop work order means to stop work and stop incurring cost.

    You must stop work immediately upon receiving a stop work order

    If your company receives a stop work order from Contracting Officer…

    Get clarification and comply by it.

    Notify any effected suppliers and subcontractors

    The government makes no guarantees it will take any further deliveries whatsoever, regardless of the contract type.

    The government makes no guarantee of payment after the stop work order if you continue work.

    If you have received progress payment for work or products, complete that which you have been paid for because they have ownership rights.

    If you’re in the middle of the work, (work-in-progress) then determine a stopping point with the contracting officer.

    If the government has not paid you for items which you have ordered, they have no claims to it and you can resell it if you choose to. When things recommence, you can provide a new quote.

    Manage your risk and treat the stop work order as if you will not continue again or hear from the again.

    If and when the CO has funding to recommence work, you can submit a proposal and renegotiate the scope of work, the amount and delivery date. NOTE: FAR provisions allow for both price and delivery under the equitable adjustment within the spirit of the original contract. 



    GCA or its representatives are not attorneys and are not providing legal advice. Everything discussed here are for educational purposes only.

  • 30 Apr 2019 4:30 PM | Deleted user

    I am quite the HGTV junkie and on an old episode of House Crashers, Josh Temple said “When given a choice, always take the Magic Beans and Trade the Cow!” Six years later, I still remember it. For those of you who may not remember the show, the basic premise was that a contractor stakes out a home improvement store for unsuspecting Do-It-Yourselfers to take him home and do a renovation of a room in 3 days. All for FREE!!!!!

    Those of us who watch, and even you reading this who may never have heard of the show, are thinking, well that’s a total no brainer. But I challenge you to take a moment and do some self-reflection to see if you really have the faith, trust, wonder and belief required to take such an offer. To, in essence, take the magic beans and trade the cow.

    You see, most of us are cynical. I mean if you are past the age of 25, you’ve likely gotten burned in life a few times, and each of those experiences of being hurt, lied to or cheated on become the filter through which we see all other experiences. It takes an incredible amount of faith and courage to see each person for who they are and to see each situation for what it is. It is impossible not to carry your prior experiences into each new interaction, but it is possible for you to choose not to let prior experiences taint the purity of the present.

    I believe we all have been given instincts, intuition, and judgment but we don’t always use it. When we are young and naïve we, oftentimes, don’t trust our instincts and as a result suffer the consequences. Therefore as adults we taint the present because of mistakes made in the past when we may not have been mature enough to follow our intuition. That can be a vicious cycle.

    Rarely in life will you be confronted with a scenario like they depict on House Crashers; but there will be many times in your life when you have to give up what you know to brave the unknown. These are all Magic Bean vs. Cow moments. The “Cow” is the status quo, what you’ve always done the “safe” bet. But the “Magic Beans” are the possibilities, the what-if’s. The Magic Beans will take you places that the Cow never will. Why? Because the Cow represents doing the same thing you’ve always done and the Magic beans represent taking a risk.

    So in business, as in life, you have to make these Magic Beans vs. Cow decisions; but in business you not only have your personal filter through which you are viewing situations, but also the business filter that you’ve acquired  with every business encounter. It’s OK to be a little hesitant about choosing the Magic Beans; since you can’t be sure that the beanstalks will sprout and grow, nor what’s at the top. But you can be certain that if you choose the Cow, you’ll never find out.

    The next time you are presented with a Magic Beans vs. Cow decision take the following steps and you won’t go wrong:

    1. Take a moment to check in with your intuition. Your gut is rarely wrong
    2. Remove the filters you’ve acquired and view the experience with untainted eyes
    3. Choose the Magic Beans, Plant them and Hold on for the ride!

  • 28 Feb 2019 2:54 PM | Deleted user

    Call me one of those naïve entrepreneurs who believe that together everyone achieves more, but that is the way I see the world. One of the reasons I struggled toward the end of my corporate career was because of the “Leader Board” System. Let me assure you that I am not one of those parents who believe that there should be no losers in the soccer game and that everybody should win. But it was hard for me to be in that type of competitive environment at work. Maybe it was because for those on top of the leader board, management believed they could do no wrong and for those who weren’t… Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I also saw firsthand how some people would cheat their way to the top of the leader board; and experienced how painful it was to be stabbed in the back when I wasn’t willing to do the same the get to the top.

    Despite the hurt and betrayal I experienced in Corporate America, I still believe that in business one’s gain is NOT another’s loss. You don’t have to step on everyone and anyone who’s in the way to get your slice of the pie because the pie expands! I believe that the more you give, the more you get; and the quickest way to get what you want, is to help as many people as you can to get what it is they want.

    Give, and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38). As an entrepreneur, I oftentimes collaborate with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. The purpose of collaborating isn’t to get any immediate benefit; the purpose is to exchange ideas or to share knowledge. What I have discovered is that every time I give of myself and my time with no expectations, I always get some unexpected benefit. ALWAYS! It’s a spiritual principal.

    This happens to me so much in business that I’ve learned to just expect it. When I get down or discouraged – and believe me, that happens to ALL of us – I just remember some of the past blessing and then do these 3 things:

    1.      Ask for what you want – Oftentimes we struggle because we fail to ask for what we need. (Matthew 7:7)

    2.      Act on opportunities – Act on the opportunities that are given to you. When we ask, it is always given… ALWAYS. But many times, it is in the form of an opportunity that we need to take action on. You will never get an unsolicited check in the mail when you ask for money folks; but the opportunity that landed in your lap will often provide exactly what you asked for

    3.      Stand in AweSome folks would call those opportunities and circumstances that align luck or coincidence, but I know a blessing when I experience one. Stand in awe of the awesome power of God and the Universe and continue to be willing to give.

    My challenge to you this week is find ways within your business that you can give - and I don’t mean give away the farm, we still gotta eat right. It doesn’t matter if it’s done by way of a seminar, a webinar, an educational video on your website, a white paper or an e-book. Choose your method and then find opportunities to give that information to the people searching for it. I promise you won’t be disappointed with the results.

  • 14 Feb 2019 11:37 AM | Deleted user

    For the past several weeks in our Wednesday Workshops, I have been presenting information about the various certifications available for you to conduct business with corporate or government agencies. During those sessions, I always use the term “Small Business”. Well, what makes a business “Small”? Who decides if your business is small? And why is it important?

    Let’s address those questions. The term “Small Business” is determined by what your business does. Every business either Does, Makes, or Sells something. That “something” defines your business; and the SBA uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code to classify it. Depending on what that code is, there are income limits or employee size limits that will define businesses within those sectors as “small”.

    Let’s look at an example. If you are a Heavy and Civil Engineering construction company that does highway, street and bridge construction, then your NAICS code is 237310.  The annual revenue for your company would have to be less than $33.5 Million in order to be considered small.  If however, your industry was in food manufacturing and you processed fresh and frozen seafood, your NAICS code would be 311712 (1) and your company would be considered small if it had 500 employees or less.

    The tricky part is that most businesses have multiple codes that define what they do. One of my clients is an environmental remediation firm and their services fall under several codes including Environmental Consulting Services, Building Inspection Services, Remediation Services and Testing Laboratories.  Well those 4 codes have 3 different amounts to be considered small ranging from $7MM to $19MM (2).

    So what is a business to do? You know as well as I that business fluctuates. Very few small companies have the annual revenues in 2018 they had in 2013 as they were just recovering from one of the worst recessions in recent history. That may be true for your business as well. So what if your revenues are up one year and down another how does that factor in? Well, the SBA has tried to adjust for this by looking at a 3 year average. There are very specific things that the SBA considers as total annual receipts so review the guidelines (3).

    The dilemma still exists, however, when your business can be categorized in several ways and each has a different definition for small. You can’t just use the biggest one since that could land you in an SBA protest and cause all kinds of problems. Generally all SBA certifications and even the System for Award Management (SAM) will ask for your “primary” NAICS code. This code most closely defines what the majority of your business entails. Let’s look back at the environmental firm example above. Yes, building inspection is a part of what they do as is testing of the environmental hazards they find, but the bulk of their business is in remediation and environmental consulting. So by using one of those codes as primary, they can defer to those parameters for the small business requirements.

    Now you know how to quantify “Small” in SBA terms. So call me when you’re ready to benefit from the BIG advantages of being Small.

    (1) Census Bureau NAICS code lookup - http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/

    (2) Size Standards by NAICS code - http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=79f55e945db7db3fa154a4c606a52f19&rgn=div8&view=text&node=13:

    (3) Calculating Annual Receipts - http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=79f55e945db7db3fa154a4c606a52f19&rgn=div8&view=text&node=13: 

  • 31 Jan 2019 11:10 AM | Deleted user

    As I go about my business - meeting people, networking, speaking - I run into several common misconceptions and myths about certifications that’d I’d like to bust wide open.  Some of these can really get me on a soapbox so I apologize in advance if I get a little passionate.

    The first of these myths is that certifications are an entitlement program.  Nothing can be further from the truth! I say to people ALL THE TIME that certifications provide Opportunities and NOT Guarantees. What’s the difference, you ask? The difference is you get NO benefit by just “being certified”.  Having a certification does NOT mean that manna will rain down from heaven. You have to research the agencies who buy what you sell, you have to find who the contracting officers are in those agencies, you have to learn how to market your business to those individuals and you have to be pleasantly persistent about letting them know how your business solves their problems. Long story short, you still have to do the work.

    Another misconception I hear often from prospects is that certifications are a selling point. This is partially correct but only in the right context. Ten years of experience in your field is a selling point; a track record of on time/on budget delivery is a selling point; past performance with clients/projects of similar size and scope are a selling point; certifications, however, are not a selling point. Certifications are the icing on the cake or the cherry on top; it’s what folks from Louisiana call a “Lagniappe” or a little something extra.  

    One of the other really common misconceptions out there is that you should get every possible certification you can. Although I’ve helped clients with multiple certifications, that isn’t the right choice for every business. It’s back to the old, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I always talk with my prospective clients about their goals with the certifications. I get to the root of who they are trying to serve and let that determine the certifications that can offer a competitive advantage for that prospective client.

    As an example, if you are a minority owned bottling equipment company your goal is to sell your bottling equipment to Coca Cola, then an MBE certification would be better than an 8(a) certification. If you are both a minority and woman owned large animal veterinarian and you want to sell your services to the Department of Interior, then WOSB certification would be a better option than MBE certification. In both scenarios above, the businesses would qualify for each of the certification, but having both may not provide additional benefits.

    These are not all of the myths and misconceptions that are circulating about certifications, but they are the ones I hear most often.  Let’s recap the realities:

    • 1.      Certifications provide opportunities, NOT guarantees.
    • 2.      Certifications are just a piece of paper until you put them to work.
    • 3.      Certifications are not the selling point; but they are the icing on the cake.
    • 4.      Just because you can get a certification doesn’t mean you should get it.
  • 24 Jan 2019 11:59 AM | Deleted user

    Do what you do best and outsource the rest. This concept totally resonates with me. There are things, important, fundamental things that should be done in your business. But if those things are not in your wheelhouse, then YOU should not be doing them. I got that message from two different meetings recently and wanted to pass it along in case you are still struggling with control issues in your business.

    There are several reasons to hire those tasks that are not your core competency so let’s discuss those.

    1.       Outsourcing allows you to spend your time generating revenue. The time you spend performing non-revenue generating tasks is doing exactly that, not generating revenue.

    2.       Hiring a professional will cost less in the long run. Whether you realize it or not, there is a dollar value attached to your time. The time you spend muddling your way through something you are unfamiliar with is time not spent working on your business. Also, it will likely take you more time to do the project than it would a professional. Worst case scenario, if you can’t complete what you start (you get in over your head) it will likely cost more to have someone fix the mess than had you outsourced it to begin with.

    3.       You don’t know what you don’t know. An expert knows all the ins and outs of their subject matter, you don’t. In many situations there are DIY checklists but those tools don’t allow you to read between the lines.

    Find yourself a team of folks to help you. If you are just starting out, or don’t have a big budget, then do your research. There are plenty of opportunities to find subject matter experts for low to no cost. As an example, at Government Contractors Association, we offer FREE government contracting training to our members.

    Remember, no successful business has ever been built entirely from one person’s effort. So, aside from your pride, there is no reason for you to go it alone either. Your business is your baby and it takes a village to raise a child.

  • 17 Jan 2019 12:25 PM | Deleted user

    “Luck is what happens when Preparation meets opportunity” - Seneca

    We have been building GCA since 2010, and, it has taken time grow the organization to what it is today. It has taken time to find the right strategic partners that can help us provide total solutions to our clients. It has taken even more time to build our membership and our list of newsletter subscribers who forward these articles to acquaintances and friends. And, it has taken time for us to create the systems we use to get results for our clients.

    All of this preparation was necessary in our business; and most of it was done as we were going about our day to day business. It’s not like you can hold everything to prepare. Some of the best preparations are born from problems. Something breaks, you fix it, and - if the process was painful enough - you build a system to prevent it from happening again. That’s preparing.

    The funny thing about preparing is that people begin to take notice. Clients notice the great work we’ve done for them. Strategic partners notice our professionalism and work ethic. Prospects notice our willingness to share information and resources to educate them about certification and procurement opportunities. And agencies notice our systems.

    Then one day, as luck would have it, opportunities start to present themselves. Referrals from past clients pour in, business associates start referring business and prospect calls come in consistently. Things begin to pop!

    So, what’s the secret to staying lucky in business? Well, you have to stay prepared. Keep doing the things that earned you those raving fans as clients. Keep networking and marketing to find strategic partners that can help you serve your clients better. Keep delivering great value and content to prospects. Keep working towards your goals because, like I figured out in corporate, the harder you work, the luckier you get.

    About the author:

    Myra Cisse is the owner of Certification Consultants LLC and President of GCA GA.  She worked as a banker for 20+ years and spent the last 6 years of her banking career assisting business owners and closing millions of dollars of SBA loans.  She is now combining her 20+ years of industry experience, 6 years of SBA lending experience and her journey in entrepreneurship to provide much needed government contracting education to business owners. Visit www.govassocaiation.org to learn more.

  • 05 Nov 2017 4:03 PM | Abraham Xiong (Administrator)

    One of the most common questions many new government contractors want to know is… “What do I need to do to be successful in the government market?” After hearing this question being asked over and over, I decided to write this article with my thoughts of what I think it takes to position a company to have the greatest chance for success in the government market.

    So here they are, my top 7 KEYS to becoming a successful government contractor.

    1) RELATIONSHIPS: You win contracts because you have the right relationships. It's not what you know or who you know, but it's who knows you back. Your goal is to establish KLT = Know, Like and Trust. When you have established strong KLT with a government buyer, your chances of winning contracts are much stronger than any other factors. You may be awarded a sole sought a contract, be asked to define the requirements for a specific solicitation, or the project may be written in a narrowed scope to where you're the only company that qualifies. Yes… there is a procurement process that has to be followed, but ultimately it is a person, contracting officer(s), who trusts you and will do the awarding of the project.

    2) PAST PERFORMANCE: Past Performance is the ability to demonstrate relevant experience through previous successful project delivery. Showing that you have the capability to deliver a product or service through relevant experience gives you an advantage over your competitors. This can be your own corporate past performance, a teaming partner's past performance or sometimes, you can use individual past performance.  The government is RISK AVERSE, so they use past performance as a way to gauge your capacity to deliver. In addition, past performance is another way of narrowing down the large number of interested vendors.

    3) PROPOSAL: Writing a winning proposal is about crafting an image on paper to demonstrate that you can be successful on delivering the product/service with the least amount of risk to the agency. Your proposal is your response to the solicitation and have to meet all the requested specifications in the exact way the buyer is seeking. Oftentimes, this may be the only perception that the source board see of you before they award a contract.

    4) CERTIFICATIONS: If you're a small business, you'll need to explore which certifications you qualify for. Certifications such as, 8a, HUBzone, SDVOSB, ED/WOSB, Section 3, MBE, DBE, WBE, SWAM, HUB, or others, can allow you to win sole source contracts or set-aside contracts. Certifications often can serve as a door opener into agencies or large primes that you're trying to establish a relationship with.  If you're a large company, certifications are important to you because you'll need to develop a subcontracting business plan on larger projects as part of your proposal. Oftentimes, working with small businesses will allow you to win set-aside projects as a subcontractor to the small company.

    5) CONTRACT VEHICLES: Obtaining the right types of contract vehicles can open doors to certain agencies for your company. Contract vehicles such as: IDIQ, GWAC, GSA Schedules, BPA and more specifically; Seaport-E, Schedule 70, STARS II can limit your competitors and allow you to be more successful. Keep in mind that each agency have their own preference of the type of contract vehicles they use. Ultimately, it comes down to which contract vehicle allows them the quickest path of securing a qualified vendor with the least amount of paper work. 

    6) IMAGE: Your brand or your image is very important. Having a strong image is about how the buying agency sees you. Remember, they may not know who you are, so you have to portray a capable brand. Your business name must demonstrate a solid brand. For example, let's compare these two company name: "John Harvey Janitorial Services of Mossy Point" vs. "Janitorial International". Which name appears more capable? Something as simple as your business name can win you contracts over your competitors. Change your business name or use a DBA if you have to in order to present a better picture. Secondly, your website, logo, business card, email address must look professional and speak to government buyers. You should have a government menu tab on your website, your DUNS number on your business card and a professional email that says: yourname@yourcompany.com instead of yourname1944@yahoo.com. Lastly, you'll need the right marketing collateral. The government does not use brochures, so you'll need to create a Capability Statement. You'll need to create a short one page version, for initial marketing purposes, and a 4 page or longer version which has more details upon request from the agency/buyer.

    7) REGISTRATION: Most companies start with registration as their first step in the government market. Getting registered in SAM.gov, DSBS, FBO, GSA, state vendor database or local municipality's vendor database is a step that must be completed in order to bid on projects. It normally doesn’t take a long time to get this step done. Keep in mind that approximately 66% of businesses which register to do work in the federal market, never win a single contract. So, yes… you need to get register as a vendor, but winning contracts is about all of the 7 Keys which we discussed here.

    In this article, we were only able to address these 7 Keys from a high overview perspective. If you’re interested in more specific details, check the GovFastTrack Software which was developed with these keys in mind to help government contractors. Check it out here: www.GovFastTrack.com


    Abraham Xiong is President of Government Contractors Association, Inc., a professional association dedicated to supporting businesses in the contracting market.  He is a social entrepreneur, a business coach, and an avid advocate for small and disadvantaged businesses.


    Mr. Xiong is the creator of the software program called “Gov Fast Track”.  It is available to help businesses approach government contracting through a step-by-step methodology.


    You can find more information about the program here:



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