Partnering with the Government as a Small Business

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June 25, 2020

The federal government has moved from in-house production and procurement to contracting. This is a big opportunity for both big and small businesses. Securing one of these contracts can help your company grow tremendously, which is something all small businesses are and should be aiming for. 

Good Compensation, Good Reputation, and Long Contracts. These are the 3 main benefits that small businesses can acquire when they partner with the government. But aside from advantages, there are also risks when taking on this kind of opportunity. 

  • There’s a lot of paperwork and strict rules businesses have to follow.
  • The government can decide to stop working with your business at any time with little to no warning.
  • When it comes to payment, the government can take more than 60 days to pay for completed services.
  • It often takes a long time to award the contract resulting in inadequate cash flow to sustain the new program with new employees.
  • Small businesses are not fully informed about limitations of funds and  funding exposure. 
  • There are also instances when large corporations signing teaming agreements during proposal efforts do not award subcontracts to the small enterprise as agreed, keeping the majority of work for themselves.

Small businesses can bid for government contracts through United States federal agencies and through municipal and state governments. These contracts are made in the form of goods and services and for research and technical assistance. Here are a few examples of the contracts they can get:

Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA)

  • Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) contractors are government contractors who are contracted to assist the United States Department of Defense (DoD) components, and acquisition programs.
  • The government often needs to supplement its internal Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance capability in order to meet its frequently changing needs and demands. Through a formal Request for Information (RFI)/ Request for Proposal (RFP) process the government is able to contract with a commercial organization to provide certain services. 
  • SETA contractors provide analysis and engineering services in a consulting capacity, working closely with the government’s own engineering staff members. SETA contractors provide the flexibility and quick availability of expertise without the expense and commitment of sustaining the staff long-term.
  • System Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) contracting may provide an avenue for the small business in gaining the momentum necessary for building a government contracting past performance record. It does not require an off-the-shelf product or capital intensive facilities.

Control Systems Engineering

  • Control engineering or control systems engineering is an engineering discipline that applies control theory to design systems with desired behaviors in control environments.
  • It focuses on the modeling of a diverse range of dynamic systems (e.g. mechanical systems) and the design of controllers that will cause these systems to behave in the desired manner. 
  • In most cases, control system engineers utilize feedback when designing control systems. This is often accomplished using a PID controller system. For example, in an automobile with cruise control the vehicle’s speed is continuously monitored and fed back to the system, which adjusts the motor’s torque accordingly. Where there is regular feedback, control theory can be used to determine how the system responds to such feedback. In practically all such systems stability is important and control theory can help ensure stability is achieved.

Software Development Cycle

  • SDLC or the Software Development Life Cycle is a process that produces software with the highest quality and lowest cost in the shortest time possible. SDLC provides a well-structured flow of phases that help an organization to quickly produce high-quality software which is well-tested and ready for production use.
  • The Software Development Cycle methodology focuses on the following phases of software development:
  • Requirement analysis
  • Planning
  • Software design such as architectural design
  • Software development
  • Testing
  • Deployment
  • Agile software development is a framework for delivering working software frequently and efficiently. It can fulfill the promise of software development speed, flexibility and delivery success in a landscape notable for major project failures. Widely accepted as best practice in the commercial sector, agile software development is ripe for adoption in the Federal Government where computer systems are large, agency problems are complex and ever-changing, and IT budgets are shrinking. 

Computer Systems Engineering

  • A computer systems engineer develops, tests, and evaluates software and personal computers by combining their knowledge of engineering, computer science, and math analysis.
  • With an increasing number of threats from the Internet and rapid changes in technology, government agencies must hire systems engineers to keep their computer software applications updated. Government computer systems engineers, like their corporate counterparts, design, configure and install software applications on employee computers and integrate them with government mainframe computers. They also troubleshoot systems when they’re not operating effectively and analyze traffic and data. 

Winning these government contracts for your small business isn’t easy, but there are a lot of resources available to help you. Contract opportunities are highly competitive and require a lot of meticulous work in order to apply, the key is preparation. You should start by making sure that you can present the image of a thorough and responsible business-owner. Your licensing should be up to date and you should have good general liability insurance as well as any other contractor insurance policies and certifications that are relevant for your field. 

If your business is interested in bidding on contracts at the state or local level, you should check out first the municipal government websites. The Federal Business Opportunities website lists what the various federal agencies are looking for and provides links to the contact information for these agencies’ buying departments. In addition to these resources, the U.S. Small Business Association’s Office of Government Contracting has a number of contracts open for businesses owned specifically by women, minorities and other historically disadvantaged groups.

If you’re looking for a highly experienced team to help you land these contracts, then contact us at Donya Consulting Group and we will be glad to talk about how we can help you and your business!

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