Every year we say the same thing, “How is it already August”? The summer seems to fly by so quickly; before we know it kids are going back to school, vacations are wrapping up and if you are a government contractor, end of year spending is hopefully coming your way.
However, this has been a year unlike many others. had debt ceiling showdowns, government shutdown threats, continuing resolutions, furloughs and of course – sequestration. I have heard from many clients that the past year has been sort of fits and spurts. Money and customers were here and there, but nothing consistent; to include this Q4. The year seemed to have more coming from agencies in the form sources sought, requests for information, and outreach to industry. With budgets tight, conferences were cancelled and attendance of government personnel at others was lower than usual. In 2013 companies were cutting back and playing it safe. Even in this last quarter, it doesn’t seem to be any different than the other three quarters of the year. With the looming threat of a government shutdown on October 1, the air of uncertainty will undoubtedly continue into the New Year.
Other news for the end of the year? Not good unfortunately. Bloomberg Government reports that July Defense contract awards dropped 55% from June awards. GSA finally issued its long awaited OASIS RFP; only for the small business version to be stopped in its tracks by two protests. It was recently reported that the Department of Energy miserably missed all small business goals. I should probably stop there so we all don’t get too depressed by 2013. All is not so gloomy. We can still cross our fingers for a nice spending buzz from here until September 30th. I have seen more spending coming through and more urgency to get awards done and out the door to the contractor.
So what can you do to capitalize these last six weeks of the year? Get. Out. There. Really start watching FBO, eBuy, FedConnect, etc. There may be some unexpected (i.e. untargeted) opportunities out there that you can scoop up. If you are a VOSB, SDVOSB, 8(a), WOSB, HUBZone, etc., then really push yourselves out there to grab those dollars that need to go to socio-economic goals. Team up, network, and give it your business development all. Because if you don’t, you will be in a slow spot come October.
Let’s look forward to a hopeful 2014. We do have to be realistic though; the budget squeeze will continue. We will hope for a continuing resolution rather than government shutdown. We hope that the initial jolt of sequestration will have settled in and agencies will be able to plan a little better. We hope that DCAA will either leave you alone or their statute of limitations will run out (smile). We can also hope all that market research that was performed by the government in 2013 will result into some well-built solicitations for small businesses early on in 2014.
In the New Year, we will provide some insight on what we think the hot topics will be. We know new regulations are going to get more focus, we will have a better idea as to what the next budget battle will shape up to be, and we’ll discuss the benefits of planning for 2015 – yes, start your 2015 government business development engines now.