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Small Business GWAC Tips for Success

Small Business GWAC Tips for Success


Dean: Hello and welcome to this installment of GSA’s Small Business GWAC
training series. This business development training, titled Tips for Success, is provided as a resource to assist Small Business GWAC industry partners in
making the most of their GSA contract. My name is Dean Cole, Business Development Specialist at GSA’s Small Business GWAC Center, located in Kansas
City, MO. Joining me a little later in the presentation will be Jihyun Huyck. Ji is also a Business Development Specialist at the Small Business GWAC Center.
The tips provided within this training are based on our experiences and observations of the most successful Small Business GWAC holders. Each item we will cover throughout this presentation comes directly from the Business Development Checklist contained in the Welcome Kit each company
received upon award of their contract. Jihyun will discuss this a little bit later in the presentation. We will mention some tools we provide for you, our
Industry Partners. Tools such as our GWAC websites and various publications. We’ll address the value of notifying your existing government clients, as well
as potential customers of your GWAC award, and publicizing successes you have as a GSA contract holder. We will also cover the importance of keeping your
company’s contact information current in all GWAC-related databases. Since a few of your associates may not have been a part of the solicitation
process to become a GWAC awardee, they may know nothing about the contract they are now expected to market. Therefore, it is important to ensure all associates
on your GWAC team read and understand the contract and ordering guide. The most current versions of both can be found on the individual GWAC websites. A
fundamental understanding of the contract inspires confidence and enhances credibility when talking to prospective clients. You can count on occasions
where an ordering contracting officer (OCO) will ask a few questions beyond your knowledge. When that happens, simply refer them to the contract and ordering
guide. And of course you can always count on the SBGWAC Center staff to provide assistance at any time along the way. You can suggest that they contact us, or
facilitate a meeting. When the conversation gets into the weeds of the contract, it’s always best to get our Center involved. For those of you new to the world of Government contracting, you need to become familiar with the Federal Acquisition Regulations, also known as the FAR.
The FAR provides acquisition guidance to federal agencies when acquiring goods and services. We highly encourage you to become familiar with the FAR so you
can better understand regulations contracting officers must abide by. Of particular interest as SBGWAC industry partners are FAR Part 16 and FAR Part 19.
FAR Part 16, especially Subpart 16.505, covers ordering for indefinite delivery contracts, which includes GWACs. These parts outline the appropriate actions
contracting officers must take when issuing task orders against any GWAC. An understanding of these actions will provide the basic knowledge of how task
orders are issued and may provide a competitive edge. In many instances contracting officers who have never issued task orders against GWACs may not be
familiar with FAR Part 16 so you may be the person directing them on where to find guidance on issuing task orders against your GWAC.
FAR Part 19, Contracting with Small Businesses, provides acquisition guidance from the Small Business Act. Socioeconomic programs are addressed as well as
specific regulations that pertain to each. It behooves you to become familiar with those regulations affecting your socioeconomic category.
An understanding of these two parts of the FAR provide you the ability to more effectively communicate with government acquisition personnel. In addition, it
also brings a level of credibility that many competitors may not have. Ji: Welcome Kit. Each SBGWAC contractor receives a welcome kit when awarded
their GWAC. Although titled a WELCOME KIT, it does more than just welcome our new GWAC holders. The primary purpose is to give industry partners
valuable resources and provide tips on how to get started as new GWAC holders. Welcome kits are sent to the designated Point of Contact of the awardee company
soon after contract award. Please share this Welcome Kit information with all that are involved in your GWAC management, so that GWAC knowledge remains in
your company through employee turnover. The format of the Welcome Kit is electronic. In addition to sharing with your company’s employees, consider
sharing this information with partner firms. A typical GWAC Welcome Kit contains contact information for the GSA GWACs, GSA
Small Business Utilization Offices, sources of support for Small Business, marketing and research information and a tip sheet on navigating the federal
market place. This list of business development tips covered in this session is also found in a Welcome Kit. Marketing Plan.
Just as you market your commercial business, you must market your business to government customers. Establishing a well-defined marketing plan at the outset
will help you to reach your target audience. For general guidance on developing a marketing plan, one of the sources available is the SBA website, www.sba.gov.
Run a key word search for “marketing plan”. With your GWAC award, your marketing plan should incorporate how to market your new GWAC contract. In the
government contracting market, it is as important to know how your customers buy as what they buy. Your plan should address how you will communicate to your
customers that they have a new option to buy from you. With the award of a GWAC, you have now obtained one more marketing tool for your
company. It is a good time to re-evaluate your target markets, i.e., who and what agencies use GWACs, and hone your partnership with other firms. Additionally,
there is a separate session on “Marketing Your GWAC” in this series of GWAC training, which offers tips on marketing your newly awarded GWAC successfully.
SBGWAC Websites. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the GWACs sites. The Small Business GWAC Center maintains a site for the
Center which covers portfolio-level news and updates at www.gsa.gov/sbgwac. It also maintains a site for each of its GWACs. The address
for a specific GWAC is named as www.gsa.gov/GWAC Name. For example, for 8(a) STARS II, www.gsa.gov/S2. Direct your clients to the GWAC websites as they are
an excellent information portal for your customers. Customers can find a list of the prime contractors on each GWAC, pricing information, a copy of the contract,
an ordering guide and much more, all in one convenient place. So be sure to direct your customers to the GWACs’ websites. Also, check these sites frequently so that
you will be current with any GWAC news and policy changes that are important to your contract administration. As an example, here are a couple of screenshots
displaying the Small Business GWAC Center and 8(a) STARS II websites homepages. Web Presence. We’ve discussed the GWACs’ sites that are managed
by GSA. Let us discuss your company’s website. Have you already built a designated site for your GWAC? If not, please consider building one. You can also add a link to
the GSA GWAC site from your company’s GWAC portal. The designated space for your GWAC contract will serve as an easy resource for your stakeholders, where
they can obtain all the GWAC relevant information such as your capabilities on your GWAC contract, your current task orders, and very importantly, your GWAC
manager’s contact information. We’ve also observed that successful GWAC primes are particularly good at utilizing their web presence to promote their good
news. If there are awards or accolades from your clients and business communities, they should be advertised at your site. Lastly, if customers come
to your homepage, make sure there will be an easy way for them to find the information they are looking for. One option is to add a
search engine on your site; also making sure your company pages are ‘searchable’ by the GWAC users by popular search engines.
Dean: Upon award of your GWAC, be sure to update your company’s publications to add contract information. Our Center can provide you with everything you need
to enhance your current publications, or create GWAC-specific marketing slicks. We will be happy to review your material and offer suggestions, when requested.
Let Government IT buyers know of your GSA contract by adding the GWAC name and contract number to your business cards. Keep on hand, and be familiar with GSA
GWAC publications pertaining to your contract. You can order them from our Centralized Mailing List Service (CMLS)
at www.gsa.gov/cmls. The order quantity is limited, but you can download electronic versions to use as needed. Publish your successes by issuing press
releases to various Information Technology (IT) trade publications. Compile success stories to share with prospective clients. Government buyers
feel more at ease when they know other agencies are using a particular vehicle to buy their goods and services. They also want to know, especially in the
socioeconomic arena, what small businesses are capable of. If you’re new to GWACs, you can still share past experiences showcasing your company’s task order
success. To put a spin on a popular marketing slogan, “success sells!” Did your task order have an impact on your Government customer’s mission? Did your solution save the Government time and money? If the answer is ‘yes’ to one
or both, write an article about it. There are a number of Government IT publications, such as Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, as
well as small business focused periodicals in which to brag about your success. Any or all of these items should be posted on your company website. The SBGWAC
Center is more than happy to post good news stories on our websites as well, so make sure our office is aware of your successes.
Ji: This slide leads to managing your existing customers. Are your current government customers aware of your recent GWAC award? GWACs are a preferred IT
services procurement method for many federal customers. Be sure that your federal customers know that you are a GWAC prime.
Secondly, brief customers on GWAC resources available to assist in future procurements. As you learn about the functions of the GSA GWAC Office, you will
realize that the GWAC Program Office offers federal customers with a number of beneficial services, free pre-award scope services, on-site GWAC training, and
capabilities statement request assistance, to name a few. Let your customers know of these available services. And highlight the features and
benefits of using GWACs. These are a fundamental value proposition of your GWAC contract. They should be included in all your
marketing materials and you should be able to tell your customer why they should use a GWAC. This can be your, for lack of a better term, ‘elevator speech.’
In addition to your customers, consider notifying other stakeholders of your GWAC award and subsequent GWAC task orders. Here, some of the stakeholders
you will work with are named. Incidentally, these are stakeholders for our Center, the Small Business GWAC Center. You can join us in spreading
GWAC news to these important contacts. Research markets and locate business opportunities. Here are some great
resources available to help you research past and future federal opportunities. You can view currently available opportunities at Fedbizopps.gov. The Federal
Procurement Data System, FPDS, stores government-wide procurement data. At fpds.gov, you can also view Agencies’ small business goal
accomplishment reports so that you can see which agencies are meeting their socioeconomic goals and which agencies are not. There are a number
of websites where you can find Government procurement forecast information. Almost all agency small business websites have a link
to that type of information. At the Acquisition Central website, you can view recurring procurement opportunities. Government buying activities often host a
meeting with interested parties before they post their actual soliciation. That information will also be available at fedbizopps. And there are many other market
intelligence services offered by private firms. Many of these resources have a handy feature with which you can have notifucations sent to you automatically when there
are any news or changes in the areas of your interest. Visit the Small Business GWAC Center. Though not required, please consider
visiting the GSA Small Business GWAC Center. It is a good way to meet and have a one-on-one conversation with the GSA GWAC team. Your company
representatives can sit down with the GWAC Procuring Contracting Officer, Business Development Specialists, and managers at the GWAC Center to discuss
marketing, contract updates and ask any questions to the GSA GWAC team. Attend procurement conferences, vendor fairs, networking breakfasts, and small
business events. They provide an excellent opportunity to build your contact in the government market. Knowing the right people in the government acquisition
community helps you navigate through your buyer’s decision-making system. Your contacts can point you in the right direction so that you will be in the right
place at the right time when opportunities arise. There are a number of small business-focused government contracting events, hosted by both government
entities and industry networks. In deciding which ones to attend, consider whether the GSA and/or the GWAC Center will have a speaking engagement or
exhibit at the event. The GWAC Office publishes its planned events on its website. Also, consider being a speaker at events as well as exhibiting and sponsoring those events – to maximize your promotional opportunities at events.
We understand that it is a difficult task to navigate through various government contracting events and select the best ones that fit your marketing strategy and
budget. Consider seeking advice from already experienced contractors. Additionally, consider memberships in professional organizations such as
National Contract Management Association (NCMA) to expand your network. Dean: Always notify us when any of your contact information changes. Our
office maintains a contact list for all industry partners on each small business GWAC website. Buyers use this information when sending out requests for
information (RFI), requests for proposal (RFP), capability statement requests, etc. To ensure your company receives these requests, updating your contact
information is crucial. On a more contractual note, you shall notify the Small Business GWAC Center in
writing when relevant changes occur within your company. Here are a few examples: Change of ownership – See the ordering guide, for your specific GWAC, which contains FAR clauses related to ownership changes.
Change of contact information – such as address, phone number, fax number, E-mail, and website address (revision to CCR is also required).
Change of company name – See FAR 42.12, which addresses Novation and Change-of-Name Agreements.
Change of contract manager – You identified an individual to fill this roll in your proposal, and they were evaluated, so the GWAC Contracting Officer must be
aware of, and approve any changes. Last, but certainly not least, maintain accurate contact information in other
databases, such as, the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS-NG), ITSS (which contains the GWAC Management Module, eBuy (GSA’s online fair opportunity tool),
and the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). We realize that keeping several databases up to date can be a chore, but doing so is vital. More information on
all of these items can be found in your contract ordering guide, the most current of which can be found on our individual Small Business GWAC websites.
In summary, ensuring your GSA GWAC is successful involves: Taking advantage of the items included in your Welcome Kit, especially the Business
Development Check List, getting to know and understand your contract, utilizing the tools the SBGWAC Center provides industry partners, visiting us here in the
Center to share intel and to learn about leveraging resources, spreading the word of your successes, and keeping your GWAC contact information current.
Provided is contact information for the Small Business GWAC Center. This concludes Tips for Success. Please make sure to view all sessions of this training
series and share them with all associates involved in your contract. For Jihyun and the rest of the Small Business GWAC Center, we thank you for your time,
we wish you all the best, and we look forward to hearing from you.

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