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Play Hard or Go Home: Tale of a Recent Missed Opportunity

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Thursday, September 08, 2011
Your attention please. This is a vent of the Chief Visionary Broadcast System.

This is only a vent. Arghhhhhhhh!

Now that's out of the way, let's talk about missed opportunities.

We talk about positioning  and first impressions quite a bit as they are constants and vital to success in business. An industry has been created within the Government Contracting Community for ensuring proposals are technically on-point and aesthetically pleasing to increase the likelihood of being read by evaluators. Companies spend a lot of time and money to produce "A+ Quality" responses intended to represent the capability, capacity and care that will be applied to a project should they be awarded the work-at-hand. That being the case, why would any company submit a response to the government that effectively tells them you don't care?

I just hung up the phone after a discussion with a contracting officer searching for small businesses to take on a significant piece of work of great importance to that organization and the U.S. Government as a whole. We spoke prior to issuance of a pre-solicitation market research document , and spoke again today now that the window for responses is closed. Knowing there was great interest from the small business community for this type of opportunity, I asked him how the responses looked.

His reply was not what I expected to hear.

Adequate responses from industry were not received that would allow them to justify a small business set-aside. By adequate, he was not referring to the number received but the quality of the responses.

He summed up his assessment of the responses by saying it did not appear people read the document which tells me a number of companies responded to this requirement having done no research to understand the opportunity, past, present or future. They simply threw a response at the wall to see if it would stick.

Companies submitting lackluster responses to this request did not represent themselves or the rest of the small business community well, and those submitting information to this agency for the first time did not a good first impression at all.

A number of questions were received that were clearly answered in the document, and several responses were received where the capacity of the companies only addressed one-tenth of what the requirement entailed. This was also clearly stated in the description.

To say this contracting officer was annoyed and frustrated is a gross understatement.

Based on the information provided by industry, he could just let it go out full and open competition, after all, his market research provided a response, albeit not the one he was seeking. But he's giving it the old college try and going out again to find quality responses from viable small business concerns who want the opportunity to win work right here in the National Capital Region with more than one-hundred FTE's on task.

Play Hard or Go Home.


The Chief Visionary

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

Tags:  FRI  government  response  set-aside opportunity  small business  sources sought 

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