Earlier this month USDA announced a joint effort with the Navy to Encourage the Development and Use of Renewable Energy. This is in addition to the USDA announcement of their collaboration with GSA on a over seven years that was awarded to SRA International via BPA (Blanket Purchase Agreement). That is $50 Million per year that SRA will be managing for technical improvements and that is the tip of the green iceberg.
OMB (the Whitehouse Office of Management and Budget) has stepped up its support of initiatives established in 2007 for building “sustainability” and enhanced its directives for recycling and energy consumption. This means the government knows it is OK to spend “extra” money to meet these directives. In fact, it is the cover that you need to charge a premium to help agencies meet ‘Green Initiatives”. It doesn’t matter what you produce or sell, make sure that you get “Green” and you are elevating your product or service to a level that makes your contracting officer and the Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) look really good.
On a Business Dev front… How does SRA, a large, non-minority, non veteran owned, no set-aside business win contracts like the one above? They know how to make their contacts in the federal government look good and make it easy for them to choose SRA. Read more about how the big boys operate here but for a quick summary – they have a fully funded business development strategy and a bunch of people building and maintaining relationships with federal decision makers. Most small and medium size businesses cannot deliver on a contract of this size. That means the scope of this project was baked for someone like SRA from the outset and it would take significant teaming arrangement work to even get close to the technical requirements of an RFP like this one. Developing a team to compete on this level is challenging and expensive.
If you want to compete, especially in your “sweet spot” you need to do the same thing. The key is developing relationships and picking the right size opportunities where your involvement can benefit the procurement process. Help your contacts understand what they need to look for in a procurement, this helps them minimize responses (less work for them- less competition for you) and maximizes their ability to have a quality job done (less bad mouthing around the water cooler for them – more profitable work for you).
The first step though is thoroughly understanding where the money is and who is spending it. Contracting officers and their counterparts (Program Managers, Project Managers of COTR’s) are spending money like sailors who haven’t seen a port in years. The best part is they need you to help them get what they want and they do want to know about you (even if they say they don’t). If you don’t have the contacts, we would like to help. If you do have the contacts but don’t have the time, let us help. If you don’t have any idea what to do next, we will get you smart about where the money is and who is spending it.