Expert Advice

10 Critical Steps for Success in 2023

Happy New Year everyone – We’ve made it to 2023! Norcal PTAC hopes you had a wonderful holiday season and are gearing up for a prosperous new year. It’s been a fast-paced year for our team but we are forever grateful for the amazing Northern California small business community. As the new year rolls around, our procurement specialists find that this is a good time to reevaluate and update your government contracting business and plan for any changes and successes as the new year begins. We’ve put together a few suggestions to help you accomplish this:  

1. Update/ Renew System for Award Management (SAM).

With all the new changes and issues with the SAM system in 2022, we recommend each business go into their SAM account and renew it every six months instead of each year. This will keep the expiration date out in the future and grant time in case there is a hiccup within SAM. Additionally, it will allow you to

  • update the dollar amount of contracts,
  • the number of people in your company,        
  •  and update your contacts and emails. 

If you have performed over $1,000,000 in government contracts and only show $10,000 per year in revenues in SAM because you have not updated SAM since your initial registration over 10 years ago; Contracting Officers and prime contractors will not consider you eligible for larger projects during their market research.

2. Update your Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) with the Small Business Administration.

Contracting Officers and Prime Contractors use the DSBS as a marketing tool to decide if there are enough businesses out there to set a project aside for small businesses or other socio-economic categories. A red flag for Contracting Officers is an incomplete profile in this system. 

  • Maximize the limited space. If the Contracting Officer can only read the first line without selecting your profile; use that first line to state your experience and why your business has the expertise or knowledge to succeed. At the end of your narrative list the certifications that your business has.
  • Include as many keywords as possible regarding your business, make sure the keywords are unique to your industry.
  • If you use references in this database, do not provide the reference’s contact information unless requested by a government representative. This will stop your competitors from marketing to your customers. 

3. Review/ Update your Marketing Plan from 2022.

Notice your wins and those areas that need improvement. Update your 2023 Marketing Plan with actions that you would like to complete this next year. Make an appointment with your PTAC counselor who can help you with market research and find upcoming outreach events. Your PTAC counselor can also review your Marketing Plan and offer suggestions.

4. Review and update your Capability Statement or Line Card.

Remember to add the projects you are working on or have completed. Update to quantify and qualify i.e., Our company provided extensive help desk assistance. What does that mean? Did your company provide 20 employees or 2 employees? Make sure your DUNS number is changed to your UEI number – contact your PTAC counselor if you need assistance with this.

5. Spend time looking at your lessons learned over the past year.

Study your successes and failures to see what makes a success for you. Are there processes you need to incorporate into your business to stabilize how you succeed? Brainstorm with your employees, your PTAC counselor, or your business partner to see how you could turn those failures into a positive experience. Remember, in government contracting, you may have a proposal where the government asks how you fixed something that went wrong. 

6. Review and update your processes and procedures in all areas. 

Evaluate the benefits your employees are receiving. Is there something you can add to help with retention? Do you have a file with your proposals so that you can use parts of proposals that were already completed? Is your accounting system up to date and ready for taxes?

7. Consider asking for a debrief on all government proposals this year.

Build this into your procedures. Even if you are the winner – ask for a debrief. You will gain powerful knowledge about how your proposals were reviewed and can make your proposals stronger in the future. Keep all this information in a file where your team has access for proposal writing and responses to evaluations.

8. Review your performance evaluations for the year. 

What can you incorporate in the future when writing a proposal? Does your team have the same recurring issues, and do you need to arrange training for them? Your local PTAC has a multitude of training opportunities that are in person and recorded to be downloaded to use at your convenience. We can also take a past proposal, compare it to the RFP and suggest ways you can upgrade your proposal process in the future. 

9. Make sure all your government reports are set up on a calendar and the times they are due are correct. 

Compliance is a serious issue and it’s so much better to work with it in real-time rather than scrambling to pull all the information together after the due date.

10. How can you make your presentation better? 

Update your elevator speech, change your website, and update it, and review your purpose statement. These little things can make a huge difference.

The Northern California PTAC wishes you a happy holiday season and we look forward to working with you in the new year! Not a client yet? You can start the year off with no-cost government contracting assistance by applying online today!

Written by:
Mary Jo Juarez,  Norcal PTAC Procurement Specialist