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  • There *IS* such a thing as a stupid question.

    Posted on June 24th, 2011 anna No comments

    Dear prospective government vendors:
    When in the presence of buyers, you should at a minimum know the “federal” structure of the U.S. federal, state, and local governments.  Especially in a seminar setting when you raise your hand and the whole class is listening.

    It’s ok not to know a procedure, or have a question about micro-purchase thresholds.  But do yourself a favor and learn the difference between federal and state governments, understand the differences between executive, legislative, and independent agencies.  You will spare yourself and the room the head-desk-hitting embarrassment of an inquiry such as “why don’t local governments just post their solicitations to FedBizOpps”?

    You have not only made a fool of yourself in front of the buyer, but also lost credibility with a roomful of people who may be potential partners, buyers, and resources.

    Or maybe it doesn’t bother others as much as it bothers me. Blame 6 years of law school and a modicum of respect for a federal system of government.

  • Government Procurement News of Note

    Posted on May 11th, 2010 admin 2 comments

    Are you a small business executive, wondering if you qualify for a special government status that would give you a hand up in competition?  Do you know what types of businesses are eligible to receive priority in competition for federal and state contracts?

    Small and Disadvantaged Businesses:

    Government contracting rights and privileges
    There are several types of preferred status available to businesses that qualify for small and disadvantaged status, including

    • easier sole-source justifications and no-bid contracts
    • “weighted” consideration in procurement decisions;
    • quotas requiring a certain number of prime contracts and subcontracts to be awarded to preferred businesses; and
    • fewer requirements for complying with contracting rules and procedures.

    Therefore, it benefits you to know which, if any, preferred status your business can qualify for under the federal and state regulations.


    Federal agencies are required to award a total of 23% of all contracts to small businesses — and that requirement is subdivided into specific quotas for the various categories of small businesses.

    Additionally, large corporations that hold prime contracts have sub-contracting plan requirements that mandate what percentages of their work must be let to small businesses.

    The types of businesses that most commonly benefit from these provisions are:

    Small business

    This is the broadest category, and many businesses qualify as small AND one or more of the other categories below.  The definition of “small” varies by the type of industry the business is in. The Small Business Administration has established size standards based either on annual revenue or the number of employees in a business. – for example, Soybean Farming businesses must make less than $750 K per year to qualify, freight trucking companies must make less than $25 M per year, and telecommunications carriers must have fewer than 500 employees (regardless of revenue).

    This category is self-certified, when a business applies for registration as a government contractor in the Central Contractor Registry (CCR), the application process determines whether the business is small or not.

    Minority-owned business

    Another self-certifying category, the federal government recognizes businesses that are mostly owned (51% or more) by persons who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, Alaskan, or Pacific Islander.
    Woman-owned business

    To qualify, the business must be 51% or more owned by a woman. 


    HUBZone stands for Historically Under-utilized Business Zone.  The purpose of this program is to stimulate the job growth and economy in rural and urban areas.  Therefore, to qualify, the business has to have its principal office in a qualifying geographic area, and 35% of employees must reside in qualifying HUBZones.

    Veteran-owned (VOB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-owned business (SDVOB)

    A special category to support businesses owned by the veterans of the armed forces, this category used to be self-certifying.  However, there is now an application process through VetBiz to qualify as a veteran-owned business.


    8(a) is a special program for women and minority owned businesses.  The 8(a) program has been popular because it offers a distinct advantages to its participants.  The main advantage is in the way of sole-source justifications (for contracts under $5.5 million in value, government agencies may award a contract to an 8(a) firm without requiring a competitive bidding process).  Additional benefits include the ability to award contracts and task orders faster than through the regular bidding process, ability to award follow-on work easier.

    The down-side of the 8(a) status is the long application process. The business owner must provide extensive financial and business information, as well as prove discrimination against either the business owner himself or against his racial or ethnic group.

    Native American -owned business (includes native Alaskan and Pacific Islander)

    Special provisions for Native Corporations is one of the most generous in the Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) — there are no thresholds to sole-source justifications for award to Native-owned entities.

    State and Local

    Most states have programs established for woman- and minority-owned businesses headquartered within their borders.  In some cases, just having a local office qualifies a company for some of the same advantages, even if the headquarters are in another state.  Each state has its own size standards, ownership requirements, and application processes.  Email us for specific requirements and qualifications.
    I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.

    In the meantime, Tactical Insight is here to support all your public sector market research, competitive intelligence, and business development needs. 

    If you would like more information on finding your market, identifying opportunities, performing competitive intelligence, or creating a capture/account plan for public sector sales, Tactical Insight is here to help!