“Focus on your company’s uniqueness and understand that the secret ingredient is YOU, and you will succeed as a Federal subcontractor,” HCRS Principal Brenda Doles, RN, MBA told an audience of about 100 Philadelphia area small business owners recently. The event was one of a series of community outreach events sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) to encourage more small business participation in Federal contracting. At the Philadelphia event, the emphasis was on how to find, win and carry out subcontracting opportunities, from both the prime’s and the subcontractor’s perspectives. HCRS and one of its prime contractors, RTI International, presented each side of the story.
Ms. Doles pointed out that subcontracting has several advantages to small businesses as an introduction to the Federal marketplace. For example, she noted, subcontracting can shortcut the typical government sales cycle of 18 months. Regulations for market entry as a subcontractor are less stringent than those for primes. Mentor/Protégé arrangements (both formal and informal) can facilitate teaming and help new small businesses gain “past performance” that will help them win more business. Her advice to small businesses on how to win contracts? “Identify your target client. Know your client and do your homework. Plan. Be prepared. Seize the moment. Be flexible and expect the unexpected. Most important, have a passion for what you do.”