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Rank, in order of effectiveness, the following elements of business development activities for small contractors:

  1. Meeting and shaking hands with influential people to convey the talent in your company.
  2. Having key personnel in your employ that the customer has to have.
  3. Giving gifts to potential customers.
  4. Developing relations with other contractors that can be partnered with.
  5. Canvassing for opportunities as soon as they are released.
  6. Selling growth in venues where you are already working.
  7. Writing proposals that indicate knowledge of scope of work.

Discussion is welcomed.

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14 hours ago, Corduroy Frog said:

Rank, in order of effectiveness, the following elements of business development activities for small contractors:

  1. Meeting and shaking hands with influential people to convey the talent in your company.
  2. Having key personnel in your employ that the customer has to have.
  3. Giving gifts to potential customers.
  4. Developing relations with other contractors that can be partnered with.
  5. Canvassing for opportunities as soon as they are released.
  6. Selling growth in venues where you are already working.
  7. Writing proposals that indicate knowledge of scope of work.

Discussion is welcomed.

2, 6, 4, 1, 7, 5. No 3, natch.

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I pretty much agree with what jibdca said although I would move 7 a little higher.  It may surprise some people but jibdca has 5, canvassing for opportunities as soon as released, properly in last place.  I’ve taken many BD courses and seminars and the companies that put them on all agree that if you start BD and proposal development and only know of a new opportunity when it gets released, you don’t stand a chance. In fact, “cannon fodder” is the commonly used term.

A study of 500 major contract awards showed winning vendors sunk almost 70% of the B&P costs before the solicitation was ever released.  

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6 hours ago, formerfed said:

A study of 500 major contract awards showed winning vendors sunk almost 70% of the B&P costs before the solicitation was ever released.  

Formerfed and jibdca thank you for the feedback.  Actually, I wonder about "70% of B&P costs before the solicitation was ever released."

I don't disagree with the effort expended, but I was of the opinion that it was not proper to charge B&P until the solicitation was released.  And it needs to be a "final" solicitation, not just a sources sought or presolicitation.  Am I wrong about this??
 

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Those aren’t costs directly chargeable to any contract.  It’s more like the time business development people spend getting to know the customer, their needs, inter workings of the agency programs, etc.  Examples are meetings with agency personnel, researching, talking with end users and customers, and attending conferences.  Lots of times companies end up knowing overall needs as well as various individual agency personnel

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Thanks for your response, and I understand the work involved prior to the release.  My question has to do with which account to charge - I've always been told that prior to the release, such time should be charged to an indirect business development account, but not chargeable to B&P.  Then after the release, Bid and Proposal must be charged.  Do I understand this correctly?

The difference is that a "business development" account is simply an indirect charge, whereas "B&P" must be fully loaded with allocated overhead and material handling.  This question is purely accounting and incurred cost methodology, and if you are working on winning business and not working in accounting you don't really make the distinction.

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I think it’s semantics. If a company has a business development account, that’s where it goes.  The quote from the studies I cited just mentioned pre-proposal costs.  The point was if you don’t know about an opportunity until you see it publicly announced for a mid to large size acquisition, you don’t stand much of a chance. 

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20 hours ago, Corduroy Frog said:

Thanks for your response, and I understand the work involved prior to the release.  My question has to do with which account to charge - I've always been told that prior to the release, such time should be charged to an indirect business development account, but not chargeable to B&P.  Then after the release, Bid and Proposal must be charged.  Do I understand this correctly?

The difference is that a "business development" account is simply an indirect charge, whereas "B&P" must be fully loaded with allocated overhead and material handling.  This question is purely accounting and incurred cost methodology, and if you are working on winning business and not working in accounting you don't really make the distinction.

I don't believe CAS or FAR define when a B&P project must be opened to accumulate proposal preparation charges. I would assert that the contractor is free to establish its own practices (which it must follow consistently) so long as those practices do not conflict with any applicable regulations.

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On 12/24/2020 at 4:54 PM, formerfed said:

 The point was if you don’t know about an opportunity until you see it publicly announced for a mid to large size acquisition, you don’t stand much of a chance. 

Understand.  There is a product sold by Deltek called WinGov or GovWin or some such.  Claims to be the premiere search engine for new opportunities and captures them much in advance of release.  It is quite expensive.  Is there any other competitive product which is reliable and effective?

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GovWin is pretty good IMO.  In some cases their staff has good connections with agencies and provide early notices to clients.  In other instances, not so much. I’m not aware of any major competitors.  

Some businesses are very effective by concentrating on a few agencies.  Their BD people find the right agency people to know and establish effective relationships and communications. That gets them in on the ground floor for new requirements.

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/22/2020 at 6:26 PM, Corduroy Frog said:

Rank, in order of effectiveness, the following elements of business development activities for small contractors:

  1. Meeting and shaking hands with influential people to convey the talent in your company.
  2. Having key personnel in your employ that the customer has to have.
  3. Giving gifts to potential customers.
  4. Developing relations with other contractors that can be partnered with.
  5. Canvassing for opportunities as soon as they are released.
  6. Selling growth in venues where you are already working.
  7. Writing proposals that indicate knowledge of scope of work.

Discussion is welcomed.

2, 4, 1, 7, 5, 6 and 3.

Sorry generic. The business model one is going after could affect this in several ways (operations/R&D/supplier/etc.). 

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On a related topic, I'd like readers' opinions on the value of responding to pre-RFP notices. I understand the value of responding to pre-RFP notices where the government asks for recommendations on products or methodologies. But my colleagues state that all smart government contractors respond to any RFIs or sources sought (even responding as a large business to a pre-RFP Rule of Two sources sought notice.) Even if the company has no position at an agency and does not have particularly strong qualifications for the work. For the following reasons:

1 RFI responses are like valentines. The CO's like to get a lot and will be grateful to all who submit. Also COs will discriminate in the eventual procurement against companies that didn't submit to the notice.

2 Putting in an RFI increases name recognition, regardless of how limited the company's capabilities appear from the RFI.

3 Companies that want to meet with a government agency in advance of an RFP, to introduce their capabilities for an opportunity or to shape the ultimate RFP, will be more welcome and meet with more important decisionmakers if they have submitted to an RFI. 

Opinions?

 

 

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May I change one sentence?

  • Also COs will [may] discriminate [fondly remember] in the eventual procurement against companies that didn't submit [provided helpful market research information in response] to the notice.
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