Top Dog Blog

Veterans in industry and the public sector share insights, tips, and trends in Effective Leadership


August 1, 2018

The Bar is Higher in Fed

We are in a special industry in Federal Contracting. Not only are the missions of the customers we serve incredibly important to the nation, but the business is highly lucrative. There are no other industries in the world where companies can earn multi-year, multi-million-dollar contracts (sometimes without competition) with a customer who, by law, must pay quickly. Compared to other industries, Fed is a lower risk with many entrepreneurs even able to work full-time jobs and convert to high-dollar salaries quickly. However, this is also dangerous as small federal contractors must fight complacency, invest in their business, create a brand, and prepare for the journey through the various sub-markets.

Own Your Corporate Responsibility
In all of this, corporate responsibility is a daily activity. It is lost sometimes in the mire of day-to-day business and the distance that can be created between government customers and industry given the bureaucratic purchasing system that presumably holds us to a higher standard. We spend every American’s tax dollars to better our country in a variety of ways. This is done in a procurement system that generally provides for our businesses in uniquely beneficial ways with long-term lucrative contracts. We see businesses all the time tout a commitment to government and behavior to the contrary.

PROTESTS: Are They Real?
The best and most prevalent example of this, and where the distance between federal customers and industry get exasperated, is in protests. The ability of any federal contractor to protest is a necessary and positive “check and balance” of sorts in the procurement system. While healthy in its intent and purpose, it is highly abused by organizations simply seeking to extend revenue. Many companies spend tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars in marketing campaigns seeking to convince the federal government of their “commitment to customers.” Yet, they are the very same companies that frivolously protest awards to extend revenue and cost taxpayers money in federal legal actions and delays.

Are You Up to the Challenge?
So, this is a challenge to industry. Start living by your word. Recognize what we do – we support every American through our customers; we are incredibly lucky to be in a lucrative and nearly recession-proof industry; we spend the money of every American in running our businesses and executing our contracts. Raise your bar. Stand by your commitments!

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