BD Process Improvement Lesson Learned #5: Building up Subcontracting Past Performance
(5) Before submitting a prime bid on a Federal Government contract, build a portfolio of subcontractor past performance.
Without any prior Federal Government contracting experience as a subcontractor, it is almost impossible to debut as a prime contractor in the Federal Government market. The Government may consider your prime bid as high risk due to your lack of experience in Federal Government contracting. To demonstrate low risk, you can provide substantiation of your experience as a subcontractor performing work under a prime contractor in the Government market.
To identify opportunities for subcontracting (and potential prime teaming partners), consider the following tools and activities:
- The SBA offers the SUB-Net database to help businesses identify subcontracting opportunities based on NAICS codes.
- govmates offers free matchmaking services to help businesses identify teaming opportunities.
- As described in process lesson learned #2, identifying opportunities to bid on Federal Government contracts is a combination of performing research AND leveraging existing relationships to help you build new relationships. This combination of research and networking also applies to identifying subcontracting opportunities to engage smartly with potential prime teaming partners. You can expand your industry and customer network to identify prime contract and subcontracting opportunities and teaming partners through active participation in live networking events, such as local professional organizations (or those based in the targeted place of performance.
- In addition to face to face networking opportunities, there are also on-line networking opportunities to support identification of potential subcontracting work. LinkedIn is a source of intelligence regarding competitive bids and recruiting efforts that can be leveraged to introduce your company’s capabilities in the context of potential subcontracting support. Facebook and Twitter also provide insight into company bids and staffing needs that can be explored from the subcontracting support perspective. Targeted agencies’ social media feeds should be monitored to identify potential industry events and opportunities to network with both potential customers and teaming partners. In addition, agency blogs (e.g., GSA Blog) provide updates and alerts to potential subcontracting opportunities.
- Finally, small businesses that establish a relationship with targeted customers’ Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) can tap into a great source of identifying subcontracting (and prime contracting) opportunities, as well as potential teaming partners. By registering company information and capabilities for use by the OSBP in market research, large business teaming partners can discover you as a potential subcontractor and the OSBP can identify your company as a potential bidder for small business set-aside prime contract opportunities. By building your relationship with OSBP POCs at targeted agencies, you can receive notifications of events such as Vendor Outreach Sessions, Small Business Conferences, Industry Days, and other Matchmaking events to help you identify subcontracting opportunities and potential prime teaming partners.