In this week’s episode of The Law Practice Doctor, Sam Gaylord interviews Kevin Jans, who spent sixteen years on the government side of federal contracting and in 2001 formed Skyway Acquisition Solutions. Kevin is a speaker, podcaster, and is the author of Save Your Time. During the show, Kevin explains what government contracting is, how to source them, and common problems and solutions for new businesses entering the market.
Main Questions Asked:
- What is a contracting officer?
- What are you now trying to do with Skyway Acquisition Solutions?
- Who is your avatar or client?
- How does a small law firm get started?
- What are common diagnoses of problems you see in the work you are doing?
- Tell us about your Save Your Time book.
- What are the solutions to the common problems of businesses entering the market?
Key Lessons Learned:
- The government is the biggest buyer in the world and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
- A contracting officer is someone who is constitutionally authorized to sign government contracts and spend our tax dollars.
- A Government Contracting Officer signs every contract that is more than $3.5K.
How to Find Government Contracts
- Understand the importance of targeting and knowing what your ‘weight class’ is.
- Research using the available resources to find out your target reachable market.
- Go to USA spending Spending’s website and put in the keyword ‘legal advice,’ and you’ll see what kind of opportunities are available and what companies have won contracts.
- Kevin suggests focusing only on your state.
Small Business Set Asides
- For every type of business there is a threshold, which is based on the number of employees or the amount of revenue.
- Companies that have less than 500 employees are considered small businesses.
- Accounting firms that do less than $7M revenue are considered small business.
- Large businesses need to sub-contract out a small portion of their work to small businesses.
Difference Between Commercial and Government
- Businesses not understanding what their target market is.
- Understanding the relationship process, aka the 80/20 ruleRule.
- When being hired on the commercial side, it comes down to 80% relationships and 20% is the process.
- The For the government side, 20% is relationships and 80% understanding the process.
- Spend time thinking about how well what you do matches what the government buys.
- Choose your targets wisely.
- Decide if you want to be a prime contractor, subcontractor, or through a GSA schedule.
- What your business does makes a difference in how you are going to have an entry into the government market.
- Small Business Innovation Research is good for research and development companies.
- Understand what your entry point is, focus on that, and choose three target agencies.
- Figure out the right industry days and conferences to attend as well as who are the right program managers to spend time contacting.
- Government contracting is fraught with ‘shiny objects,’ so it is important to niche down to something specific.
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Links to Resources Mentioned
Skyway Acquisition Solutions
Contracting Officer Podcast
Save Your Time (book)
Federal Procurement Data Systems Next Generation