Building your Pipeline

If your business is looking to pursue Government contracts, you will need to find opportunities that match your NAICS Code.  What the heck is a NAICS Code you might be asking yourself.  NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System.

The http://www.census.gov states, “The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.”

You can find the various NAICS codes here:  http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/

So what does all this mean?  The Federal government uses NAICS codes to categorize contracting opportunities.  For example, the primary NAICS codes used by Whetstone Security Group is 541611, Investigation Services.   This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing investigation and detective services.  We use the NAICS codes to search for opportunities in FebBizOpps.gov, https://www.fbo.gov/ the Government portal for Federal contracting opportunities.  However, you can also select other NAICS codes that match your business.  When you register in the System for Awards Management http://www.SAM.gov, https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/##11v  You will want to identify and list all the NAICS codes that apply to your business.

Once you register in FebBizOpps, you can watch opportunities, see other contractors who are interested in the opportunity and obtain automated email notifications when there has been an update or change to the opportunity.  When you see opportunities that you want to pursue, you add these opportunities to your pipeline.  Your pipeline is the lifeblood of a Federal Contractor.  It is the sole purpose of your business existence – to pursue and win contracts.

It is important to manage your pipeline closely to get ahead of opportunities before they are released.  There are other commercial tools available to companies and are used by all the bigger contracting firms. One of the most popular is Gov Win, http://www.deltek.com/products/govwin which offers a 30-day free trail.  However, you should stick with FBO.gov until your business is generating enough revenue to cover all your expenses.

There are also commercially available tools to track your pipeline opportunities, but for now you can used a spreadsheet.  Some basic information you will want to track is the Agency the procurement falls under, the NAICS code, if it is a set-aside, the estimated value, and your estimate of your chance of winning.  These numbers will go into how you develop your fiscal year budget for the next year and what your estimated revenue will look like.

You should also approach other companies that are pursing the opportunity and try to join their team.  This is the primary way that start ups gain enough past performance to pursue (prime) opportunities on the own.  Joining a larger prime has many advantages for a newly form SDVOSB, VOSB or other set aside category.

On my next post, I’ll talk about teaming and how one goes about obtaining the holy grail of many small businesses – a classified facility clearance (FCL) and a classified cage code.

With Love and Respect,

Gary

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