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Survivor: Federal Contracting Island

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Survivor: Federal Contracting Island

Many ‘advocates’ seem focused on how to outwit, outlast and outplay other small businesses instead of standing up to policies and processes that threaten small business concerns across the board.

Never thought it would come to this, but I have finally come to the realization of why the small business community continues to struggle as it relates to government contracting. Generally, it is not the companies. The majority of the business leaders I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with since 2004 are motivated, decent citizens, if not patriots, and simply want to succeed. Not success in the sense of achieving a gazillion dollars, jets, fancy cars and such, it’s more simple than that. They want to do a good job for their customers and help ensure the parts of government they touch are left no worse than when they arrived and preferably in much better condition than they found it. In the end, they want to provide for their families.

I don’t think it’s entirely the attitude at government agencies since a lot of the folks we speak to in Civilian, Defense, Intelligence and Homeland/Law Enforcement agencies have willingly engaged viable small companies. Not because they were small, but because they believed they could do the job well, on time and within budget.

Not all mid-tier and large contractors are kin to the Devil. Over the years a number of them have reached out to us and our members and associates to do business with them for the right reasons.

So what’s the problem? In my opinion a big part of it is the advocates and their crews.

Please! I want someone to prove me wrong.

What I see from my vantage point beyond the fray of the fast talkers are advocates leveraging a crab mentality in how trying to gain an edge for their constituency. Essentially the mindset is, if their group can’t get out of the proverbial pot, neither can anyone else’s.

Think about it. It’s happening right now with the each of the socioeconomic groups fighting one another on the streets and in the shadows. They are achieving progress at the same tempo as Congress. We can all see how that’s working for us. These advocates seem to have lost sight of the fact they represent small businesses and that their tactics effectively hurt their own constituencies. Et tu Brute?

That’s one way to create job security.

Instead of chipping away at one another and diminishing the ability of small businesses to succeed, aim your arrows at challenges and obstacles that benefit all small businesses, the Government and ultimately our Nation. Lawsuits are not always the answer.

In the meantime, the external factions set on the exploitation or minimalization of the small business community as it relates to federal contracting, continue to eat our lunch on a daily basis. Here’s an update: they are going back for seconds and dessert.

To paraphrase a line from The Last Boy Scout, "I’ll say it again for the people in the cheap seats!” the small business community needs to get its head out of the sand, cast off the pomp and circumstance and start having meaningful discussions related to productive collaborations and action that results in successes. There are enough small, mid-sized and large organizations operating honorably, with integrity, and with their customers best interest top of mind, who are willing to sit at the table and participate in changing the landscape.

All those in favor…

- The Chief Visionary

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

Tags:  advocates  collaboration  Congress  progress  small business  unity 

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