How To Protect Yourself Against Scams And Snake Oil Salesmen

There are many great people supporting businesses in the government marketplace – from for-profits and non-profits to universities and government agencies. Unfortunately, there are also as many scam artists and snake oil salesmen lurking in the shadows. They want to sell you the magic pill to success but at the end of the day, take your money and leave you frustrated with the results. Here are some tips to help you save money and keep your peace of mind.

  1. Before you spend your money on services, check with your PTAC consultant. We may have just what you need or will point you in the right direction.
  2. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. When you see or hear things like “we guarantee a contract” or “if you would like a 5-year no-bid contract with the federal government, call us,” be cautious. Snake oil salesmen are very sneaky. Even if they “get you a contract,” that doesn’t mean you will be awarded dollars under this contract if it’s not right for you. We see this happen quite often with companies that get onto a GSA schedule and make no sales.
  3. Beware of scams! If you receive an email from a government agency or visit a website that looks like an official government website, look for the .gov extension in the email address or the URL. There are plenty of impersonators out there. In fact, each year when disaster strikes, scams like “Get registered with FEMA” start popping up on the Internet. This problem is so prevalent that FEMA has established a “FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline.” That number is 1-866-720-5721. Unfortunately, this is just one example of scams that can trap the unwary.

With a little caution, due diligence, and guidance from your PTAC, you can navigate around scams and snake oil salesmen to find credible resources that will help you in your journey.

2019 Tallahassee Supplier Diversity Exchange – October 23, 2019

2019 Tallahassee Supplier Diversity Exchange

Date:  Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Time:  8:30 AM – 12:30 PM EDT

The Florida Office of Supplier Diversity is proud to present the 2019 Tallahassee Supplier Diversity Exchange on October 23. Part of the Big Bend Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week, the Supplier Diversity Exchange will include a panel discussion, networking opportunities, and one-on-one interviews. During the Business Exchange portion, small business owners can market their goods and services directly with local and state buyers at scheduled one-on-one interviews.

Scheduling Your Business Exchange Interviews:

Suppliers & Small Business Attendees:

  • After completing your registration and prior to the event, you will receive an email with a survey asking you to select the top agencies and organizations you would like to meet with.
  • Interviews are scheduled based on the order of the completed surveys. Complete this survey as soon as possible to secure interview appointments with your top choices.
  • We do our best to match attendees with at least four of the top six entities selected.

Register Here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-tallahassee-supplier-diversity-exchange-registration-72967544891

GSA Begins Pilot Using OTA-Like Streamlined Acquisition Process

The General Services Administration (GSA) announced this week that they are using a streamlined process to procure innovative, commercial solutions. Click here to read the article.

CVE Verification Pointer: Remember to Provide Truthful Information

In a recent article, published on SmallGovCon, the government contracts attorney Matthew Schoonover discusses the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals’ decision to cancel a contractor’s SDVOSB verification on the grounds that the contractor provided false information. Click here to read the full article.

Consolidated GSA schedule will be out October 1, 2019

September 10 2019 by Jane Dowgwillo

GSA has posted an announcement of its intention to consolidate the current 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) and release a new single Schedule for product, services, and solutions on October 1, 2019. You can find more information on the GSA’s Interact website including what to expect after the consolidated schedule is released.

On October 1, 2019, GSA will publish the new, consolidated, solicitation on FedBizOpps along with applicable attachments. The FBO package will contain:GSA Logo

  • Solicitation
  • Available Offerings Summary Document
  • One Attachment for each Large Category
  • Regulations Incorporate by Reference
  • Significant Changes Document

You can read more on the GSA Interact website.

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Save the Date: CDC Partnering with NITAAC (NIH) for Small Business Industry Day, Nov. 5, 2019, Atlanta

Attention: IT Small Business Vendors

Save the Date – CDC Partnering with NITAAC(NIH) for Small Business Industry Day, November 5, 2019, at the HYATT Regency, downtown Atlanta

The National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition Assessment Center (NITAAC), in conjunction with the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Contract Management Association Atlanta, is pleased to invite you to participate in the Atlanta-area Industry Day on November 5, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

The Atlanta Industry Day is a one-day industry event, where agencies, local businesses, and private sector government contractors come together to learn, share and connect with each other. Attendees are a mix of federal agency IT decision-makers, procurement officials, and industry stakeholders.

Attendees will leave the industry day with a better understanding of the NITAAC GWAC vehicles, recent industry/government developments and various program requirements and other procedures.

Register Now: https://nitaacindustrydayatlantajune272019.eventbrite.com

This event is complimentary to attend. Register Now, space is limited.

8 Government Contracting Errors to Avoid

8 Government Contracting Errors to Avoid Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Yolanda Cowart, Florida PTAC at USF | February 22, 2019

Why do so many businesses fail to access the federal marketplace?
The spending power of the federal government makes it a very attractive market. However, operating a profitable business in the federal marketplace creates obligations, potential liabilities and risks that do not exist in the private sector.

In order to sell products and services to the government, a business owner will need to plan, prepare and evaluate the company’s potential.

There are several reasons why business owners fail to secure government contracts or fail while performing on federal government projects. In order to give a company a fighting chance, avoid these eight common mistakes:

  1. Inadequate business framework: Accessing government contracts requires a blueprint for success. In order to compete successfully, a business owner will need to create a business plan for government contracting goals. A well thought out strategy forces one to think about opportunities, risks, strengths, and weaknesses.
  2. Poor execution and internal controls: Government contracts require intelligent processes and procedures. Business owners must adopt safeguards that will protect not only their business, but the government from mistakes, mishaps, uninformed decisions, and inappropriate actions by any employees or team members.
  3. Overexpansion: Government contracts often require business owners to beef up their operations. Taking on added overhead and operational expenses too soon can impact the ability to perform and execute contracts efficiently. Business owners should start with realistic goals and manage growth and expectations.
  4. Poor capital structure: A business owner should conduct a cash flow analysis and cash flow projection in order to avoid accumulating too much debt. Government contracts will have a direct impact on a company’s cash flow cycle. It requires a capital structure that can support growth and sustain an entire operation until the government pays.
  5. Lack of reserve funds: Government awards are often accompanied by unexpected cost associated with executing contracts, fulfilling orders and meeting demands. These pitfalls could be devastating for a business if the company does not have the funds to address unforeseen cost quickly. Failure to be able to address issues fast and efficiently could result in the loss of credibility with the contract administrator and ruin the potential for future awards.
  6. Overspending: Many businesses blow their operational budgets before cash has begun to flow in at a positive rate. A company must ensure a government contract will be well-capitalized. Understanding cash flow by capturing expenses and resources prior to beginning a project, will ensure the contract is capitalized properly.
  7. Ineffective marketing and self-promotion: It is important for a business owner to learn how to market the company’s capabilities effectively. A strong Capabilities Statement will help gain the attention of contract specialists. Inadequate marketing often occurs due to a lack of research and a misunderstanding about how the federal sector operates.
  8. Underestimating the competition: There is a large possibility that many competitors may have already built relationships with government agencies, prime contractors and contract specialists. Winning a government contract doesn’t just happen; it is earned. If a business owner doesn’t take the time to learn about customers and potential partners, the competition will.

Successful government contractors have strong capital structures that include reserve funds for unforeseen cost. They also have good internal controls and intelligent processes and procedures that allow them to execute contracts efficiently. An adequate business framework will avoid overexpansion and overspending.

The federal landscape is filled with small companies that fail to secure that first contract. In order to sell your products and services to the government and successfully execute contracts, you will need to understand your competition, create a marketing plan, prepare your operations and evaluate your potential.

There are a number of local resources available, such as the professionally credentialed procurement specialists at the Florida PTACs, that can assist companies as they decide to enter the government contracting arena.

Sources Sought – Architect-Engineer (AE) Services NAICS 541330 – Engineering Services

Title: Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) procurement to acquire Architect-Engineer (AE) Services throughout the Mobile District Area of Responsibility (AOR) to Support Mobile District’s Planning and Environmental Division
Sol. # W9127819L0054

Agency: Department of the Army

Office: US Army Corps of Engineers

Location: USACE District, Mobile

Posted On: Sep 10, 2019 11:02 am

Base Type: Sources Sought

Link: Click Here

Federal Contracting: Getting Your Foot in the Door

Written by Nancy Dahlberg on April 22, 2019

If you are a small business that has determined federal contracting may be right for you and you have identified some potential contracts to pursue, you need put your best foot forward to get in the door.

By now we hope you have read our two previous posts about whether federal contracting is right for your business and on researching contracting opportunities.  If it is time to get your foot in the door, many of these tips will also be helpful if you are going after state or local government contracting opportunities also.

Each federal agency has a small business office (OSDBU) to ensure agencies fools small business rules and regulations – they are not buyers but should be your first stop at an agency. Brian Van Hook, associate director of the Florida SBDC at FIU, the small business development center within FIU’s College of Business, recommends already having completed your SAM registration and having three opportunities in hand as well as your financial plan. Ask the OSDBU for an email introduction to the Contracting Officer. Ask the Contracting Officer for a capability briefing and schedule monthly marketing outreaches. Program Managers also have agency knowledge and may be able to offer value to the solution you are offering to the agency.

Be proactive in marketing your products or services, says Luis Batista, a Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center consultant who specializes in government contracting. While your ability to respond to opportunities will depend on what opportunities are available via solicitations, Batista says “proactively” marketing your products or services to Contracting Officers (where appropriate), user departments, Primes and other government contractors will be critical to your success.

One example of this would be to reach out to vendors being awarded large contracts in your area of work for subcontracting opportunities, Batista said. Another example might be to reach out to large Primes within your area of work, which you can identify via USASpending.gov.

“The takeaway here is that while you are not responding to solicitations you should be networking,” says Batista.

And about putting your best foot forward?

  • Make a good first impression. Be professional (including using an email address affiliated with your website – no yahoo or Gmail accounts) and triple check for typos.
  • Make sure your company website is updated and typo-free.
  • Know your company’s sweet spot and lead with you and your company’s expertise and experience. Emphasize your ability to mitigate risk and overcome obstacles.

And as a quick review, Althea Harris, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s assistant district director for Marketing and Outreach Area 1 (Miami), adds this advice as you are developing your contracting strategy and considering opportunties:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) can provide no-cost assistance to small businesses looking to compete for government contracts, including through its BidMatch program. You can locate the PTAC closest to you at the Association for Procurement Technical Assistance Centers Website: http://www.aptac-us.org/contracting-assistance

GSA Begins Pilot Using OTA-Like Streamlined Acquisition Process

The General Services Administration (GSA) announced this week that they are using a streamlined process to procure innovative, commercial solutions. Click here to read the article.

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