*Editor’s Note: Because of Rocky Galloway’s unique experience as a GovCon attorney and Sales Executive and Program Manager for Hewlett Packard Corporation, from time-to-time in this forum we will not only share areas of the law that are of interest to clients, but also highlight business practices that have proven to be successful to our clients in establishing the key relationships that lead to business growth. We hope you find Rocky’s Business Insights helpful.
Who Are You and What Can You Do For Me?
“Who are you and what can you do for me?”
Right or wrong, those questions are top-of-mind at every meeting or chance encounter, and not just in business settings. They are questions we all seek answers to at some level.
In business, “Who are you?” is very much about your company’s mission and can be an essential part of your brand, especially if it is accompanied by a compelling story about how/why the business was formed. Take the time to craft a mission statement that captures both your vision for the organization (e.g., provider of comprehensive, quality logistics services) and its business focus (e.g., deployment of advanced tools that support military readiness by providing real-time data to combat personnel). Once you are comfortable with the mission statement, try it on and see how it fits – not just on you but on others as well, especially those in your intended audience. Is it clear and concise? Is it broad enough to encompass all the products/services you offer (or intend to offer) yet narrow enough so the reader understands your business focus? When you are satisfied with the mission statement, own it and make it core to the brand messages that are communicated outward by you and others who represent the company.
“What can you do for me?” This question is not only about the type and value of products/services you provide, but also how they will help your customer achieve its overall mission. To effectively communicate how your products/services will benefit your customer, you have to first understand the customer’s mission, not only as it is stated organizationally but also how that mission is carried out by the component you are marketing to. Direct conversation with the desired customer is preferable to gain this information but if that is not possible then gathering intelligence from current contractors of the customer, their teaming partners or agency officials will suffice. Look for what is working well, as well as those things that are not (often described as “what keeps you up at night?”). Use your findings to identify discriminators for your company’s offerings and create specific practical examples of benefits to the customer. You can then provide those in the form of a white paper, product demonstration, or other means. Always be careful not to violate ethics or procurement rules/regulations.
In government contracting, it is also very important to educate your clients on how they can access your products/services. You cannot take for granted that they will be knowledgeable about the various schedules, multi-agency contracts or other contract vehicles that they might use to reach you. Even if they are, the contracting vehicles they choose may not be advantageous to you (e.g., vehicles with large numbers of pre-qualified vendors). To the extent that you can, establish a trusted relationship with the designated program/project manager, the contracting officer technical representative (COTR) and the contracting officer (CO). Express your interest up front and partner with them during the pre-solicitation phase of a procurement by providing comments, questions and recommended approaches to the statement of work, evaluation criteria, small business designation and appropriate procurement vehicle.
Use any special business designation (SB, SDB, WOSB, HUBZone, VOSB, SDVOSB, 8(a), M/WBE) your company holds to your competitive advantage. Research the target agency’s progress in reaching its small business goals for various categories and find areas where additional support is needed. If those areas are consistent with your company’s designation(s), make that fact known to agency representatives, starting with the small business utilization office. In some cases, that office can directly influence whether a procurement is set-aside for small business or designated for full and open competition. Always be mindful, however that regardless of the designation, your company must make a strong case that it is capable of providing the services requested.
General Counsel, P.C., has attorneys and business professionals that can support your legal needs as well as the ongoing business development efforts of your organization. We work hard to learn our clients’ business and become a trusted partner that is an integral component of their success.
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.