Now that you are back into the 'Swing' of things and doing the day-to-day operations and management of your company, one may ask, "What is the real impact of the government shut down on my Small Company?" The news outlets have done an outstanding job at demonstrating the impact of the government shutdown, both pre and post effects, on federal workers and their families, however, one aspect that has been overlooked is the Shutdown's impact on the SB community.
Many who read this would think that the preface - would lead one to believe that I am going to blog on the dooms and glooms regarding federal contracting and the possibility of small business concerns not be compensated during the time of shutdown; while this would be a safe assumption given a normal climate, today's message is a bit different. In speaking with several of my 'Govie' POCs it has become more than apparent that the government is in a hurt locker. Irrespective of what side of the aisle you sit on, Federal Agencies who were closed or effected by the shutdown, after being open for over a month, have the sudden realization of Father 'Time.' What does this mean, moreover, Rob why are you taking up my afternoon with a discussion on time, its simple - a large quantity of small businesses perform on 'Services' acquisitions, while these support services can be funded with other types of appropriations, they typically are funded with Operational Maintenance (OM,N) funds. For the non-budgetary folks reading this, in laymen, there is a date of 30 September 19 in which these funds will turn into pumpkins.
On the surface, many would ask 'so what?' but go with me on this for a moment, an agency was given $X Billion dollars to obligate over a 12 month Fiscal cycle, an now you've taken over 30 days of that time away from them? Moreover, a cross comparison of this metric against the Office of Secretary of Defense's "Obligation and Expenditure" metrics and requirements, lead one to believe that not only is time of the essence. Today's Fiscal debacle in combination with the limitation of time to obligate, would lead one to believe that rather than an Agency lose the OM,N Funding (1 Year Appropriation), I believe these agencies will look to several different sources to obligate these funds 1) Companies who are already performing similar efforts at this agency's - the utilization of FAR PART 6.3 'Other than Full & Open' competition will be used in ways that we don't have enough time to get into here, 2) Government Wide Agency Contracts (GWACS) and Interagency vehicles will see a significant increase in utilization - it is a lot easier for a contracting officer to send money to an existing vehicle rather than create one from scratch, 3) Companies who have special SOCIO economic designations i.e. 8(a) companies - will see a significant utilization of 19.8 "Direct Award" provision unders section 8(a) of the Small Business Act.
This blog is purely speculation at this point, however, I had breakfast with a senior level SBA friend a few weeks back and he indicated that the utilization of 8(a) would be 'through the roof.' Okay so now you are 8 minutes into this read and you are asking, are we done yet, not quite but almost - heres Rob's advice a) take a look at your current vehicles - then comprise a strategy that targets existing and potentially new areas of business against the agencies affected by the shutdown to include: DHS, DOI, NASA, SBA (to name a few) b) if you can not beat them join them, meaning if you are not an 8(a) or on an 8(a) vehicle find a friend or two - talk your potential opportunities over with an 8(a) or socio economic disadvantage company, remember 49% of something is better than 100% of nothing. c) lastly, respond to all RFIs/Sources Sought that you have the ability to, several of my contracting officer friends, have put language into these RFIs / SSNs as "the government intends to award off of this RFI" (this is low hanging fruit that can potentially become PAY DIRT) for you and your company.
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