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  • Writer's pictureDeb Yeagle

#9 Lesson Learned for BD Process Improvement - Make Time to Submit SSN / RFI Responses

(9) If you are a small business with capabilities / experience that meet the Government’s requirements, then always make the time to submit responses to Sources Sought Notices (SSNs) and Requests for Information (RFI).

As with any opportunity, review the Government’s requirements as stated in the SSN/RFI, then apply pursuit / no pursuit decision analysis process and tools to make submission your decision. SSN / RFI Responses are typically due within 10-14 days of posting and provide the Government with a demonstration of your capabilities and experience to meet their requirements and to help shape the Government’s acquisition strategy.

SSNs/RFIs are used by the Government to perform market research and determine if the “Rule of Two” is in play for Small Business (SB) Set-Asides. A "set‑aside" is a Federal contract for which only SBs may submit bids, when there is a reasonable expectation of obtaining bids from two or more responsible SB concerns that are competitive in terms of market prices, quality, and delivery (“Rule of Two”). Opportunities to bid on “set‑aside” contracts may also be restricted to specific SB groups, including 8(a), Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), Service Disabled Veteran Owned SB (SDVOSB), or Woman Owned SB (WOSB).

Small business responses are CRITICAL to the Government’s market research and help identify potential sources that can provide the required capabilities. If you are a small business (SB), then your SSN / RFI response may help to determine the set-aside decision, a key part of the Government’s overall acquisition strategy.

Once you’ve decided to submit a response, then follow these guidelines for submission:

- Review the draft requirements documents

- Provide current corporate information

- Follow the instructions for submission

- Tailor your capabilities statement as needed

- Address necessary teaming arrangements

- Answer all questions completely

- Shape the opportunity for the most favorable set-aside and/or NAICS code

- Make suggestions and request clarification regarding the requirements, as instructed and if applicable

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