Following our small business contracting guide, EZGovOpps wanted to hone in a particularly important tip that we gave: the value of networking, and the contracting intelligence you can gain from it. While the majority of government contracting is now conducted online and through organized procurement systems, networking with agencies, clients, and fellow contractors can provide an important line of human intelligence that can give you a competitive edge in future competitions.
At multiple stages of a procurement opportunity, the hosting Federal agency may hold an “Industry Day” conference about the contract. Industry Day conferences provide an opportunity not only for the contracting officer to provide a better understanding of the contract and expectations, but it provides the businesses with a direct line to the agency to gain a better understanding of expectations, connect with the contracting officer and potential partners, ask specific questions about the contract, and provide a better understanding of their own requirements to the contracting agency.
The Industry Day
A great example is the upcoming Small Business Enterprise Application Solutions (SBEAS) contract, which EZGovOpps has continued to track, from the US Air Force Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate (BES). BES has taken great strides to communicate and connect with potential contractors on this large opportunity, which will be composed entirely of small business contractors. As far back as November 2016, BES held an Industry Day in light of the Request for Information (RFI) that they released on the SBEAS opportunity. That Industry Day had a very large turnout, and after answering the Industry Day questions and communications from the RFI, BES decided to hold another Industry Day on April 10 to discuss the rest of the procurement timeline and the Draft RFP. This week, immediately after the Industry Day, BES has dedicated 4 days to holding One-on-One meetings with interested, qualifying small businesses. This is a great example of agency outreach, and an opportunity to gain insight into procurement and convey a unique look at your own business and its abilities to a contracting officer.
Other Networking Opportunities
Chances to meet contracting officers and potential teaming partners are not limited to Industry Day meetings. BES, while discussing SBEAS, gave out a schedule of a number of conferences hosted by other organizations like The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) where program officers, procurement officials, and industry partners can meet to discuss particular contracting issues as well as major procurement strategies and trends. You may have seen members of the EZGovOpps team at recent events like Smart Proc and the Alliance Mid-Atlantic 2017 Conference.
GWACs, as they continue to grow in size and competition, make a great effort to connect to potential and existing GWAC contract holders. While a GWAC office cannot exhibit any favoritism to a contractor, they can still provide advice and resources to make a contractor successful, and in turn the GWAC successful. Joanne Woytek, longtime leader of the NASA SEWP contracts, offers to fly out to contractors for discussions on the issues and requirements of those individual situations, while releasing online videos to publish major SEWP news. Todd Schwartzrock of NIH hosts “NITAAC NOW” to provide a look at the NITAAC GWAC and potential contracting trends.
As we mentioned previously, networking sites like LinkedIn not only provide an opportunity to show what you know, but do give you great opportunities to connect with other officials and partners in the Federal contracting space. With your human intelligence in hand, complete your full market intelligence picture with a subscription to EZGovOpps. Custom analyst updates, procurement trends, and personalized procurement forecast give you the advantage you need to succeed in the Federal contracting space.
Don’t forget to view our full GovCon News section for more intel.