Eric Knellinger: Know Where To Find Federal Information

Feb 15, 2016 9:52:27 AM / by David Rockwell

I don’t know about you, but about this time of the year, I’m ready to throw in the towel on winter. If it’s not superstorm Jonas pummeling the east coast and dumping upward of two feet of snow in some places, then it’s knowing that spring is still more than two months away. Wherever you are, no matter the climate, I hope your 2016 started out on the right foot. And, as always, I thank you for being a valued US Federal Contractor Registration client.
One reason why I started US Federal Contractor Registration is because I heard time and again from friends who contract with the federal government that there just isn’t enough information out there to help new businesses or businesses who are new to government contracting. The first time I heard this, I thought for sure he hadn’t looked in the right place. The second and third times I heard this, I went online myself, and I was surprised by what I found – or, rather, what I didn’t find.
While there are definitely good resources online available to businesses (e.g., the U.S. Small Business Administration posts a lot of good information on its website), there isn’t much information available to help a business get started as a federal contractor – and there is even less information available for federal contractors who need help winning their first contract.
Sure, information is available at a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), but that’s what you’ll get – information. The officer with whom you work can only take you so far. They can’t complete your Registration for you.
Imagine that the owner of a small business recently decided to look into federal contracting opportunities. The business owner drives 50 miles to his nearest PTAC and learns about registering as a government contractor and where to find solicitations.
Do you think that business owner learned enough during that meeting to go home and complete all of the paperwork necessary to become registered in the System for Award Management (SAM)? Or do you think this business owner will be left with dozens of questions about the process?
I tend to think that this business owner will be left with dozens of questions. The owner may try to complete the SAM Registration, and may even submit it, but likely will not complete it in full and may even make a mistake along the way. The government doesn’t tell you when you make a mistake. It’ll give you the illusion that you are done. But this does not mean that your Registration is complete and that you’re eligible to bid on and win government contracts, even if you’ve submitted your Registration. It’s up to you to figure out how to submit a properly completed Registration.
In other words, and not to belabor the point but I feel it needs to be said – the government is not invested in your company’s success. The government won’t keep in touch with you and ask if there’s anything you need. The government will neither celebrate your victories nor help you learn from your defeats. The government can’t help you complete your Registration because if they do it for you, they’d need to offer to do it for the 650,000 other government contractors out there, and the government certainly doesn’t have the time to do that. It’s simply not possible for them to do it, and that’s notwithstanding the clear conflict of interest inherent in the government completing a company’s Registration.
What a government official can do is tell you that anyone, regardless of industry or experience, can become a government contractor. And that’s actually true. You can complete your Registration on your own. You don’t need help to do it. Is this realistic? No, not really.  But the government tells business owners all the time that they can register and start winning contracts.
It upsets me each time I hear that a government agency, be it the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Forestry, or even the Department of Defense, told a company that it didn’t need help submitting a complete and correct Registration. I feel this information is misleading and doesn’t give potential contractors the full picture – Registration instructions are convoluted, and no individual or business has the time to keep up with compliance regulations and changes, let alone government red tape.
Ask any of the thousands of businesses I’ve helped register to work as government contractors if they regret working with us, the world’s largest third-party government registration firm, and you know what I think they’ll say – not at all. In fact, even after we’ve helped a client complete his or her initial Registration, most retain our services year after year.
And do you want to know why they decide to bail on government contracting? Because it’s not as easy as the government may lead you to believe. Telling you that you can become a government contractor for free doesn’t take into account any money you’ll spend marketing your business and making sure that procurement and purchasing officers know about the products and services you offer. I have yet to see a marketing program of any kind cost nothing to implement – and yet without marketing, you don’t have much of a chance to win a government contract.
You must actively pursue contracts and develop and implement a marketing program, from releasing information about your products through national press releases to making sure that the top vendors in your industry know your name, the products and services you provide, and why you deserve any contract for which you qualify. A government buyer won’t help you do this; US Contractor Registration will – and does.
We’re fully vested in our clients’ successes, and, along the way, make sure our clients have the tools they need to succeed as federal contractors. From sending out press releases each time you win a contract to helping you debrief after losing out on a bid, we’re along for the ride.
Here’s how I explain it, when someone asks me why working with US Federal Contractor Registration beats working with a government agency: Let’s say you have a question about whether or not you can write-off something on your taxes, so you call the IRS for help.  What do you think that IRS agent will tell you? Do you think the agent will tell you if you can take the deduction? Probably not. And do you want to know why? Because there is a clear and obvious conflict of interest. What that agent likely will tell you is that you should consult an accountant.
The same holds true with government contracting.
I’m not entirely against PTACs. I think the government should make available information to businesses interested in working as federal contractors. PTACs offer free services -- but is free really worth it if you don’t get what you need? I know I’d rather pay a small fee, if only so I know for sure that what I need will be done quickly, completely, and correctly.
The government encourages companies to register as government contractors, but doesn’t tell these companies how to succeed at it. US Federal Contractor Registration does. We help our clients succeed as government contractors; the federal government doesn’t. We put our clients in a position to win contracts, and our clients, over the last six years, have done just that – to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. That’s not a typo. I had my team run the numbers twice. Billions of dollars in contracts awarded to my clients.
I say, let’s make 2016 the year you land a contract, if you’ve never won one, and if you have, then let’s make this the year when you land two or three or even more. US Federal Contractor Registration is here for you, and will be there for you, every step of the way.
You can download this post as a PDF newsletter here: Eric Knellinger February Newsletter
In 2010, a federal purchasing agent suggested that Eric Knellinger, who has more than 30 years of experience in government acquisition, advertising, marketing, sales, and business development, open a business that helps companies become qualified to work as government contractors. Knellinger opened US Federal Contractor Registration, Inc. to help fill the void left as Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) around the country are closed and to help businesses registered as contractors to actually get federal contract awards.

Tags: USFCR Info

David Rockwell

Written by David Rockwell

David is a writer and educational multimedia producer for government contractors around the world. Some of his favorite work, with the experts at USFCR, is telling success stories of businesses that win federal contracts.

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