Preparing for Award Season: Part 1

Laying the Foundation

by Valerie

Award Season?  Yes!

Put the red-carpet couture back in the closet. This award season has nothing to do with the Academy, international celebrities, acceptance speeches or after parties.  It’s not associated with a showcase showdown on the Price Is Right or anyone coming to your front door with a film crew, balloons, and an enormous check from Publisher’s Clearing House.  I do love the idea of that, though, so sign me up!

The award season I’m referencing has to do with the Government Procurement calendar.  While that may seem less exciting to some, it’s absolutely thrilling for government contractors.  So – what does that mean for you, fellow human, Government Contractor, and/ or Small Businessperson?

You may have noticed that it’s already April.  In a few short weeks, beginning in June or July (depending upon the organization), the Government will start to issue Request for Proposals, or RFPs.  Contracting Officers (KOs), need to spend their agency’s funds before the fiscal year ends on September 30.

Action items to prepare for Award Season:

  1. Identify the Agency(s) you’d like to work with.
    • How? I wish there was a magic 8 ball available to use, but it’s good old-fashioned research that will carry you through here. (SAM.gov, individual agency web sites, usaspending.gov, etc.)

2. Head over to the contracting center of your targeted agency(s) and investigate their acquisition forecast.

3. From the forecast, choose the upcoming Projects for which you’re interested in submitting a proposal.

    1. Depending upon the agency some forecasts provide a wealth of information, including the current project manager and incumbent (contractor), while others merely give a general project description.
    2. Check out other sites such as usaspending.gov to see if you can find incumbent contractors in your space.

4. Actively network now if you haven’t already begun. You never know when you may need a teaming partner.  That partner could be another small business, a larger business, an entity with a different set-aside than yours, or one that brings a different set of skills to round out your proposal. Every contact is valuable.

5. Start putting your documents in order. You generally only have 30 days to write any proposal.  Have your past performance basically written.  Have an outline of your technical volume.  Have an outline of your pricing volume.  Don’t write the whole thing, that’s too much work for right now, but have an idea where you are going.  When the RFP is released, you’ll be ready to go.

6. Plan your vacation & beach time early this summer. It’s probably less expensive earlier in the summer, and that’s already a win!  We recommend SPF 30 reapplied every 60 minutes and a large hat.  We also burn easily – have you seen our pictures on the Rock Stars page?

When the RFP is released and it’s not what you expected, you feel overwhelmed, or you were gifted some “surprises” in the form of new requirements, or otherwise are thrown for a loop, don’t panic.  Regardless of the challenges, we can help.