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The End of the Federal Fiscal Year is Around the Corner. Is Your Firm Prepared?

Fiscal Calendar

The end of the federal government’s fiscal year is upon us. Fiscal year 2019 ends on September 30th. If you’re a government contractor, this is likely not news to you. But what might be news is how your company can prepare for the end of the federal fiscal year and take advantage of opportunities to increase revenue.

Many government agencies increase spending in August and September, so if you were thinking you could wait until October to get those proposals ready, you might want to reconfigure your schedule. With this in mind, let’s dig into the reasons for the increase in contracting opportunities as well as some of the ways you can position your company to reap the benefits.

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Networking Your Way Through Summer

Summer Business Networking

Summer can seem like a dead zone when it comes to networking. The swirl of galas, conferences, tradeshows, and business dinners that overwhelm our calendars during the other seasons, slow to a trickle in June and do not start back up again in force until September. But, don’t let this dearth of organized events lull you into inaction. Summer is a great time to tap your existing networks and create growth. How can you use summer to your advantage?

Revisit your contact list - Even the most organized networkers have prospects or potential partners with whom they have lost touch. Perhaps the timing wasn’t right when you last spoke and then they fell off your radar. The summer is a great time to look through your contact software or LinkedIn connections to see who you haven’t been in touch with for a while. Create a list and call a few people a week.

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How to Expand to Support Commercial Clients: 5 Actionable Steps for Government Contractors Looking for Growth

Expand to Support Commercial Clients

Government contractors strategize less about how to expand to support commercial clients than their counterparts in the private sector strategize about breaking into the government market. This is strange. Setting aside weapons systems, the government buys many of essentially the same products and services as businesses in commercial industries. So, opportunities for growth abound for the smart government contractor looking to grow.

Few federal sector small businesses successfully expand to support commercial clients simply because they do not set up properly to realize the value of growing this way. Going commercial can be a challenge and it’s reasonable to wonder if it’s worth the trouble. Let’s talk about the major benefits of expansion and how to increase your odds of success.

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How to Win at Business Growth When Legislation Makes the Rules Uncertain

Business-Growth

There may be only one thing that’s certain in business: uncertainty is a growth killer. So, thriving businesses might see laws and regulations as providing a necessary element of certainty. They tell us the rules of the game. However, laws can also create uncertainty. When this happens, it can be tempting to tune out.

But there’s danger in complacency and often ignoring the issue is not a viable option. So, what’s a business owner to do? The way to win this game is to stay engaged without letting the uncertainty make you crazy. Let’s look at a recent example of legislative uncertainty to see what we can learn.

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Growth Focus During a Government Shutdown

Growth Focus in Business

The challenges inherent for government contractors in today’s environment are literally historical. While as difficult as this period is, as a business owner you can also try and make use of the extra time you now have (and did not want) to focus on how to help your company grow, not just with a short-term focus on when the government starts fully functioning again but for the long run. As Bill Gates famously pointed out, the most valuable asset anyone has is time - and as a business leader you rarely have time to spare! Try and use some of this time to regroup and figure out if you are positioned where you want to be for your company’s future. Here are some things to consider as you think through your current growth plan.

First: do you have a strategic growth plan? If yes, then look at it with a critical and, if possible, dispassionate eye. Does it really fit your company’s identity and future goals? If so, great! If not, then sit down and figure out what your realistic growth objectives are and in what time frame you want to achieve them. One thing to keep in mind is whether you have an objective for your growth trajectory, i.e. is your goal to be acquired someday? If so, in what time frame and for what multiple? Are your goals for both realistic given the market environment? If you want to grow to sustain- and continue to be a “lifestyle” business- do you have the customer intimacy necessary to maintain the incumbency you have currently? Do you have the correct talent in place whom the customer respects - and what is your plan to retain them in the long term, especially if no equity event is ever anticipated? If you do not have a current strategic growth plan email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we are happy to create one with you!

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Why Holiday Parties are Good for Growth

Holiday-Party

While holiday parties demand time and effort to execute, they are worth the effort. If you’re feeling particularly swamped, it might be tempting to host a scaled-down event or eliminate the party altogether. But, that isn’t usually the right call. When done well and within budget, holiday parties boost employee morale and set the groundwork to promote your organization’s brand in the new year.

Consider a “Widely Attended Gathering” (WAG):

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Missions that Matter: Hope for the Warriors

Veteran - Hope for the Warriors

At growth[period], we are grateful for our veterans each and every day of the year. We believe that all veterans and their families should have access to the support and resources necessary to ensure they have the ability to live full and rewarding lives. Hope for the Warriors, a four-star Charity Navigator rated nonprofit organization, has just such a mission. We are proud to have worked alongside Hope for the Warriors for more than 10 years in support of its goal of creating opportunities for the veteran community, to include expanding its brand recognition as a first-tier nonprofit, increasing its donor base, and establishing a formal relationship with NASCAR.

The growth[period] team identified a key demographic overlap between the veteran community served by Hope for the Warriors and NASCAR’s constituency and devised a strategy to develop a partnership between the two organizations that ultimately led to a formal agreement. The effects of this partnership were immediate and significant, as Hope for the Warriors reported a three-fold increase in donations in the first year of the partnership alone, along with other valuable and tangible results.

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Creative Solutions, Not Price, Should Drive Government Awards

Cyber-Security

Congress and DOD Address the Roles Cybersecurity and Price Play in Evaluating Defense Contracts

On August 1, 2018, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) - clearly defining the role Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) will play in evaluating cybersecurity or IT contract proposals. By passing the NDAA, Congress publicly backed concerns put forward by industry trade groups; namely, that placing too much value on a proposal’s price creates an environment in which contractors build their bids around LPTA, sometimes at the expense of presenting the best solution. Although fiscal responsibility remains an important consideration when evaluating bids for federal contracts, relying on LPTA as the deciding factor in the decision making process can prevent the government from getting the most value over the duration of a project. After all, no one really wants to fly in a plane built by the lowest bidder!

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Four Impacts Landing Amazon will Have on the Home of HQ2

Amazon Package

Every now and then cities experience events that serve as a clear line of demarcation between “then” and “now.” In the case of Amazon's search for a home for their new HQ2, the 20 finalists’ regional leaderships are actively seeking a major event that will change their area’s landscape for decades to come. As part of the process to attract and win the opportunity to host HQ2, the decision-makers and influencers involved in each region’s bids are putting plenty of thought into preparing for the changes facing their communities should Amazon choose their location as the winner. Fortunately, they all can look at Seattle as a living laboratory and business case to get a good idea of how life in their region is going to be impacted. Based on lessons learned to date from Seattle there are four major areas that most likely be at the forefront of the conversations surrounding the unique changes that will face the region hosting HQ2, as follows:

1. Rapid and Specific Demographic Population Growth

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AFCEA DC DHA Panel Discussion

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​The DC Chapter of AFCEA held a moderated Defense Health Agency panel discussion on April 26, 2016 focusing on innovative solutions for the military health system. 
 
The panelists were:

  • James Craft, Chief Information Officer, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, Department of Defense
  • Steven Hernandez, Chief Information Security Officer, Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Rose-Marie Nsahlai, Lead IT Security Specialist, Office of the National Coordinator for HIT, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Joseph Lucky Ronzio, Deputy Chief Health Technology Officer, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs 

The main topics of discussion were in relation to Mobile Health Technology, Interoperability and Cybersecurity.   
 
The discussion surrounding Mobile Health Technology focused on empowering the consumer / patient to be more active and collaborative with their providers when making health and wellness choices, and on embracing sensors and telehealth / telemedicine as alternatives to physician office visits.  The Deputy CHTO of the VA, Dr. Ronzio, argued that both provide a better patient experience, while lowering costs for all parties.  Moving forward, more emphasis will be placed on devices and mobility for both the patient and the provider.  NSA, for example, is working on a "thin" encryption that is specifically for health and wellness devices, so the security layer is a lower overhead for the device.

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