The Small Business Catch-22: Available Resources Limit Critical Processes | Federal Compass

The Small Business Catch-22: Available Resources Limit Critical Processes


Revenue growth is the primary focus of every small business, but in a market as complex and fluid as the federal contracting market, growth can often stall due to the lack of the right resources. And when effectively managing expenditures puts the right resources out of reach, small businesses often get caught in a growth Catch-22.

Explore the Small Business Guide for Federal Contractors.

Spend or Save

Companies born from bootstrapping or those operating with a less than comfortable cushion in the bank are continually making spend or save decisions. While this approach forces a company into creative thinking, it can often leave companies without essential capabilities to avoid unnecessary expenditures. Everything, including processes and tools that could enable growth, get put under a microscope where budgetary pressures often distort the picture. Spend too much, and the company won't be around next year, forego critical capabilities, and the momentum for growth becomes difficult to achieve.

This Catch-22 leads companies to look for deals rather than capabilities. Use excel instead of an application, create a solution instead of choosing a proven product, or juggle everything a bit longer until the company reaches a more stable footing. These are understandable decisions and struggles that every small business faces. However, these decisions become far more complicated when considering an environment as complex and rapidly changing as the Federal Contracting Market.

A Jack of All Trades - Master of None

Hair on fire, wearing multiple hats, and weekend warrior are not simply idioms but realities for small business executives. Their daily focus tends to be marked more by reaction than action. When the list of critical tasks includes business development, bid review, proposal writing, capture, contract management, and program management, it is understandable why there is little time left to manage the company.

What falls through the cracks when attention spans are stressed and not appropriately aligned with the business? What matters today tends to take precedence over what will matter tomorrow. While this is the reality of a small business, it can quickly become a vicious cycle, and without the right processes and tools in place, getting out can feel next to impossible.

Settling for Adequate

Excel or budget-friendly solutions have become the preferred method to keep control of the chaos small businesses experience. Excel seems great until you realize the multiple steps required to keep it up to date, which becomes a serious issue when dealing with a team pulled in numerous directions. It takes little time for that spreadsheet to collect dust, and companies invest more time questioning the data than actually using it to inform decisions.

Applications that seem to address the problem fail to meet the specific needs of Federal contractors. They also require a substantial level of work to customize the data, and without that investment, the information gleaned from these applications does little to provide transparency.

So what can a small business do to encourage collaboration and promote transparency?

A Solution Designed for Federal Contracting

We created Federal Compass with transparency, collaboration, and accountability at the forefront. Collaboration tools allow teams to communicate in real-time, set tasks, and capture critical information to avoid redundancies and duplicated research. For those busy small business executives, we offer the ability to review the pipeline and dive into details to understand each opportunity without the need to have the BD staff in a meeting.

Control the chaos, keep within budget, and drive business with a partner who understands the unique needs of Federal contractors.

The Author

Jim Sherwood Federal Compass
Jim Sherwood
Leading the revolution in federal market intelligence.

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