Why Do You Need A Government Contracts Consultant?
As a small or mid-sized business, navigating the complex channels of government contracting is not easy to do alone.
The government’s complex rules for acquisition (FAR), processes, risk aversion, competitive pricing needs, familiarity with past contract award winners and aggressive auditing practices create an unfamiliar landscape for many businesses.
Whether you are getting started as a government contractor, or you have been seeking opportunities for a few years, your business needs to several things to be successful at government contracting. For example, you need:
- An assessment of your business and the government market opportunity (before you begin and regularly afterwards to see what has changed).
- Registration with the appropriate services and agencies.
- Compliance with agency certifications and requirements to ensure eligibility for government work.
- A consistent pipeline of opportunities that your business is qualified to bid on.
- Knowledge of what is competitive pricing for a government opportunity (as well as pricing that will be profitable for your business).
- Experienced proposal managers and writers to ensure a compliant bid is submitted to the government.
- Government accounting expertise to ensure your financials are well organized, you have internal processes in place the meet the government’s needs and you can pass an audit.
As this overview demonstrates, the scope of expertise required to compete for government opportunities is quite extensive.
Still need a few more reasons why a government contract consultant can be essential?
Every government opportunity is connected to a contract officer. A professional or team will likely have experience communicating with either that specific contracting officer or members of their team on past proposal submissions. Knowing a person’s preferences for proposal submissions and having past experience communicating with a contracting officer can give you a tactical advantage in how you create the final proposal.
Finally, the greatest weakness of many businesses is not fully understanding what is a competitive price and how to price your products and services. A government contracting expert will know what is allowed and not allowed in pricing, and how you can best price your proposal so you are competitive.
Given the amount of work that needs to be done to be a successful government contractor, the rationale for hiring a government contract professional or a team of professionals is clear. You need the expertise and additional resources to aid you and your team in the federal capture management and procurement process. A consultant or team creates a strategic advantage as well as some peace of mind.
What Is A Government Contracts Consultant?
But what is a government contracts consultant?
Put simply: A government contracts consultant is someone who specializes in capture and proposal management for government contractors.
Their role is to help your business navigate the complex world of government contracting.
How To Find and Hire The Right Federal Capture Management and Proposal Expert
Though the world of government contracting tends to be a small world, like any industry, you still need to make sure you find and hire the right expert or team of professionals.
Look for the Thought Leaders
The first step to find the best expert to assist your business is to look at the thought leaders in the government contracting industry. Who is writing in LinkedIn and industry trade publications about the topics that closely align to your business and its goals? When you search online, which companies come up? And what kinds of articles and insights do they offer on their website? Lastly, there is no harm in asking on LinkedIn and at GovCon events for who has an excellent reputation as a contract consultant.
When you have narrowed down your preferences, the next step is to interview past customers and look at case studies. You want to get an understanding of how the consultant or agency works with others, their attention to detail, cost and results. Also, do not be afraid to ask to speak with a client that did not have a positive experience. Your consultant or agency may be a little nervous about providing you a “bad example,” but if they are willing to share one you can learn about what did not go well, which will aid you down the road should you decide to hire them.
Learn How They Communicate
Before you sign an agreement, get a feel for how well they communicate at the early stages. Start to visualize how the consultant and their team will integrate and work with your team. This will help set the expectations for good communication at the earliest time, and position everyone for a successful relationship.
Get A Detailed Scope of Work and Budget
Another step to take before you hire a consultant or the consulting firm is to get a detailed scope of work (SOW) and a budget. An outline of all the work that is to be performed and its cost projections will give you an idea of just how comprehensive the total service really is. Make sure the SOW you receive aligns to the services the consultant as advertised.
Plan To Stay Involved and Engaged
Finally, no project is ever successful unless you stay actively engaged with the consultant or team you have hired. Once you have found and evaluated a government contract consultant or govcon agency, you need to make sure you plan to stay involved and engaged with them throughout the process. Even the most experienced consultants need an active partner to make sure they stay “on message” and deliver the value you need.