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Contractors: How to unearth hidden gems

Jan. 13, 2014 - 05:18PM   |  
By JENNIFER SAKOLE   |   Comments

Once or twice a month, I present webinars that focus on opportunity identification for any given parameter such as a specific industry or a niche technology, a geographic region, small business set-asides, or the like. When preparing this information, my go-to strategy is to use Deltek’s GovWin IQ, enter my parameters, run a search, dump the results into Excel, and then dig through each opportunity to find the gems that may be of interest to the audience. I bet that you have a similar standard procedure that you use to get to your final list.

For the most part, the standard approach works, but sometimes, you have to get creative. As an example, over the years I’ve had webinar attendees ask, in different ways, “Yeah…everyone is aware of those opportunities, but how do I find the ones that no one else knows about?”

Here’s an approach that I use in my own research to find the less mainstream opportunities that also offers you a way to compete in 2014.

Mine the Schedule and GWAC Awards

If you need to shake the routine up a bit and try new techniques to uncover opportunities that weren’t on your radar, try a new source: tasks set to expire on one or more General Services Administration schedules or government-wide acquisition contracts.

To do this, run a search for tasks that are set to expire in 2014 on any given program. You do not have to limit your search to programs for which you have a contract. Sometimes, it is interesting to see what tasks are being awarded under other programs, if only to identify an opportunity to market your company’s core competencies to your customer under a different program.

As an example, l ran a search on three top programs -- GSA Schedules 70 (IT) and 874 (MOBIS) and NASA’s SEWP IV -- for tasks that have a ceiling value of $150,000 or more and are expiring in 2014. Again, I use GovWinIQ, but there are free resources available.

What did I find? Over 4,000 tasks set to expire this year, with a total combined ceiling value of $16.1 billion.

Let Your Motivation Guide You

What motivated you to look for a new way to find opportunities? Are you looking to penetrate a new client or agency? Do you need to stimulate growth on your existing contracts? Are you planning the ultimate takedown of an incumbent you are eager to unseat? Regardless, use your criteria to find the tasks to fit your plan of attack.

It is interesting to note that the task order that had the highest ceiling value was just over $300 million, but there are thousands of task orders expiring that are valued between from $1.00 to $9.9 million or $150,000 to $499,000.

Change the Competitive Landscape

Our analysts who have been reviewing the task order award data were floored by something they found: the number of tasks awarded that were identified as only having one bid submitted. In my search, over 2,300 task orders with a combined total ceiling value of $7.5 billion were recorded as only having one bid submitted.

Why is this something to consider? What if the government had only one bid submitted, leaving only one option? These expiring tasks are worth a look. If you are a good match for the requirements, and you research the incumbent and determine that you can compete, you may have found a way to introduce competition in 2014.

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