By Kendria Rice-Locket, KYPTAC Procurement Consultant
This article was originally published in our monthly KYPTAC Newsletter. If you have any questions about this topic, your KYPTAC consultant is here to help! Not a client? Sign up here.
If you are preparing your business to enter the world of government contracting, you may be wondering, “What is procurement readiness and why is it relevant to me?” Procurement readiness is the demonstrated ability of a small business to effectively participate in the federal government contracting marketplace and successfully perform contracted work. Solicitation windows on government market opportunities are very short (often 30 calendar days or less), and submitting a bid or proposal is not always as simple as writing up a narrative and pricing your offer. Various government requirements may take you more than 30 days to put in place. If you cannot complete all these required steps within the solicitation window, you cannot pursue the opportunity. In essence, you will discover during the solicitation period that you are not yet procurement ready, which can be frustrating and discouraging after you have already invested significant effort in preparing your proposal. Here are a few examples of potential unforeseen solicitation obstacles that could slow a company’s progress while pursuing a federal government contract, depending on the industry you are in:
The contractor must be registered on the System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
The contractor must have a Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)-compliant accounting system in place
The contractor must have products with special certifications or that have been “pre-approved” by the government
The contractor must hold a security clearance
The government is asking for past performance or experience that you do not have
The government is asking for bonding or insurance that you do not have in place
The government requires audited financials to be submitted with your offer
You are starting from scratch and have never put together a government proposal
You lack relationships (or do not have time to meet) with key people (like your KYPTAC consultant, accountants, attorneys, proposal writers or others) who can help you during the solicitation process
You have not yet obtained the small business certification for which the opportunity is set aside
So how can you take the first step towards procurement readiness? You will want to start by studying both current and historical competitions around opportunities that are like the ones you want to pursue. If your target opportunity is not currently in the solicitation phase, get a copy of a previous solicitation and act like it is a real-time opportunity. Review it with your team, your KYPTAC consultant, and others who can help you prepare your proposal. Set a deadline to write up a response. By going through this initial “mock proposal” process, you will have 80% of the content already completed for future solicitations. Three Ways to Obtain Past Solicitation Documentation
Conduct market research to identify the target agency's spending patterns. Your KYPTAC consultant can help you with this research. You can also watch Govology's webinar "Marketing To Government Agencies and Prime Contractors" to gain additional insight. Contact your KYPTAC consultant for a discount code to access the webinar.
You may be able to find and download versions of "archived solicitations" from SAM.gov.
Ask! If you can't find solicitations for specific opportunities you want to pursue, you can request a copy of previous solicitations from an agency's Contracting Officer or Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) representative.
By taking the steps to become procurement ready, you can eliminate possible obstacles and invest more time in the opportunities you want to pursue. Now that you know the fundamentals of procurement readiness, you are equipped to position your small business to compete for more complex opportunities in the future. If you need additional support at any point in your government contracting process, KYPTAC is here to help. Our team of experienced procurement consultants work diligently to keep pace with the continually evolving acquisition procedures and policies, making your life easier! If you are not sure how to connect with your consultant, you can request assistance by contacting us at email@example.com or by registering on our website.