My nephew likes to play soccer. Just like any good five-year-old, he and his teammates collect around the soccer ball in a single cloud of excitement, leaving the rest of the field wide open. This is the scene that I imagine when I see those top opps reports released each year. There’s a cloud of fury, only to find yourself stepping on the toes of every competitor. Meanwhile, there’s a lot of wide-open green grass out there.
There’s the old adage that if you want different results, you have to try something different. The first step is to separate yourself from the crowd. “How do I do this?”, you might ask—by NOT reading the same reports as everyone else. Those top opps reports are catchy, but what’s the advantage when everyone’s top list is the same. Let’s take a step back, and evaluate your open space on the field.
I like to think of a comprehensive opportunity pursuit as a funnel that begins not with opportunity identification, but with a strategic plan. It’s best to understand your company’s overall strategy in the market before diving headlong into proposal mode. What do I mean by strategy? Ask yourself some of these questions:
The strategic-focused questions above will help guide you to the right opportunities. Opportunities for you, not just the top opps for everyone else. For instance, maybe after some investigation you find out that your existing contract with Navy isn’t performing well. Why? Maybe Navy isn’t actually using this contract anymore. After further investigation, you find that most of the products and services that you provide are moving to a competitive contract. Another scenario could be new competition in your space. Maybe it’s a relatively small competitor, so they weren’t on any of those one-size-fits-all top contractor reports. Again, this is where context matters, it’s important to identify competition within your addressable market (products and services you provide) and existing customers—where the real competitive overlap exists.
Now that you’ve identified a strategy that’s aligned with your competitive landscape and customer buying trends, it’s time to execute on that strategy. You’ll need to build a pipeline of opportunities that’s aligned with that strategy and monitor its progress. This is where having a tool like Federal Compass comes into play, it’s great for not only building a strategic plan, but aligning execution against that plan with single-click pursuits.
With a few adjustments your team is now spread evenly, taking advantage of the open field, and aligned in a common strategic vision.
Is your company prepared for the shifting landscape within Federal IT procurement? For nearly twenty years, GSA Schedules and agency-IDIQs paved the way for the evolution of second-tier competitions. In 2019, GWACs outpaced IDIQs, for the first time, to become the Government's preferred pathway. Every Federal customer interacts with GWACs, and these vehicles continue to lure in new adopters. From the broad range of services to the number of contractors vying for work, the loyalty to IDIQs is waning as customers begin their march towards GWACs. For many, this statement makes sense; however, getting on a GWAC, let alone finding success, creates a challenge unique to these types of vehicles. It isn't enough to know POLARIS, CIO-SP4, and 8(a) STARS III; a clear vision and strategy are critical to determining the right team, surviving the scorecard, and moving into post-award with a proactive plan to capture business, rather than hopelessly reacting.
written by Jim Sherwood, published 03/09/2021
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.
written by Jim Sherwood, published 01/25/2021
Huntsville, Alabama, has long represented a tantalizing market that always felt out of reach for many contractors. Over the last decade, this zip code has been a focal point of growing interest as it became home for many organizations that, on an annual basis, manage billions in contract spending. Based on the latest news, Huntsville's influence over the aviation, space, and missile enterprise will grow significantly in 2021.
written by Jim Sherwood, published 01/15/2021