The start of a new year is always exciting and re-invigorating. It is a great time to look forward and it is also a great time to reflect on the year just past. Here are some steps government contractors can take to prepare themselves for a prosperous new year.
- Take advantage of 20/20 hindsight. Take the time to review your business relationships over the past year – both with your clients and your business partners. How would you change them if at all? If change is needed, perhaps there is an opportunity to restructure the business relationship through modification of existing contracts. Where there were performance issues, consider changes to the scope of work or strengthening the provisions for notice, issue escalation and termination. For business that proved lucrative for your organization over the past year, be proactive about engaging in discussions with key clients and suppliers/subcontractors about ways to enhance and grow the business, e.g., through additional service offerings. Such discussions should be preceded by execution of non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements at a minimum and then other agreements as discussions develop.
- Make sure you haven’t left any money on the table. Review your contracts payment and billing history to ensure that you billed the customer (and were paid for) for all products and services provided. Correct any issues with invoice submission and documentation required for processing. Where there is a dispute over payment that cannot be resolved at the agency level you may need to consider seeking recourse outside the agency. This could include filing a claim with an administrative court (e.g., Board of Contracts Appeal). The rules governing such matters can be complicated and vary depending on the agency, the amount in dispute and the venue selected.
- Update your standard agreements to reflect current business needs and lessons learned.As your business grows, you gain more clarity on what is required to run the business most effectively. You are also able to draw upon practical experiences (negative and positive) and use those to your advantage. With this information, it would be prudent to review agreements your company uses most often and make updates as required. These include non-disclosure, teaming, subcontract, employment and consulting agreements. Changes to terms such as scope of work and payment help to clarify relationships upfront and prevent problems from occurring, saving you valuable time and resources down the road.
- Review your corporate documents and organizational structure.Be certain that they are in alignment with your vision and business focus for 2015. For example, if you are owner of a small business and would like to take advantage of your veteran status to qualify for veteran-owned business set-asides, your corporate documents must show that you have “ownership and control.” The test for ownership and control is not as simple as who owns a majority of stock/shares. Your corporate documents must meet certain thresholds regarding how decisions are made, organizational structure and compensation. Those same documents should also allow you the maximum flexibility possible to make decisions that you feel are in the best interest of the organization. It can be a difficult needle to thread and you would be wise to engage experienced professionals to guide you.
Each New Year brings new challenges that affect the business environment. This is especially true for government contractors. It is always helpful to have a trusted partner by your side to help you navigate change and get the best possible outcome for your business. General Counsel P.C. is ready, willing and able to be that partner. Feel free to call on us for assistance.
General Counsel, P.C. – Experienced Representation of Government Contractors: Led by Rocky Galloway, General Counsel’s GovCon Practice Group has over thirty years of government contract law experience. Our attorneys have experience relevant to the entire life-cycle of a government contractor, including formation, contract negotiation and award, contract administration, bid and contract disputes, and Mergers and Acquisitions transactions.
Every Business Needs a General Counsel — Founded in 2004 by Merritt Green, General Counsel, P.C. represents businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and individuals throughout the DC Metropolitan Area and across the nation and globe. The firm has eight (8) practice areas to fully serve our clients: (1) Corporate/Business Law; (2) Government Contracts; (3) State/Federal Litigation/Dispute Resolution; (4) Employment Law; (5) Immigration; (6) Intellectual Property; (7) Franchising; and (8) Not for Profits.