Monday, May 2, 2016

The Small Business Government Contracting “Past Performance” Challenge


Monday Morning Contracting Tips


Dannie E. James
djames@jegroupllc.com



As a small business begins the proposal submission process to federal government agencies or to prime contractors the past performance challenge is a major challenge. By definition a start-up company in government contracting has no direct government agency past performance projects to site in meeting the requirement in requests for proposals (RFP’s) for historical references to similar projects in terms of size, duration and complexity.

Past performance data must be specific to the enterprise bidding a contract. Many companies attempt to site historical references to performance of individuals now in the company when they were with other firms, achievements by predecessor companies or successful projects that the current company did not perform as its current entity. Some federal agencies identified this reference as "Fronting" a new enterprise with misleading information about the Company’s past performance.

So how can a new organization or one that is new to government contracting muster a response to the past performance challenge?

The answer lies in historical projects that may be similar in the commercial arena and a high quality proposal that clearly demonstrates an understanding of the requirement at hand, a unique and cost effective project plan and high performing personnel and/or products tailored to the statement of work to offset an interim, light past performance record.

A past performance reference sheet usually accompanies an agency RFP. It normally requires the bidder to fill it out with references to historical projects the company has performed and the contact points for confirmation. The government may request these forms in advance of the main body of the proposal to allow enough time to send them to the references. The past performance form is sent by the government to the references and you never see the result. The input goes directly from your past performance references back to the government.

Many small businesses work through prime contractors to "Grow" past performance history (subcontracts count). By teaming with a sizable firm a small entity can relate its participation to larger projects and ultimately graduate to a good library of references, carefully maintained and kept as a living, growing data base of good customer service records that can be sited again and again in proposals.

It is wise to keep customer perceptions of your professionalism and products or services alive by constant vigilance, visits, surveys and other feedback mechanisms so that you are not surprised at a proposal debriefing when you find that a client you thought rated you highly did not.

The major services maintain past performance records by contract that you can access. Inquire with them as to a membership at the appropriate web site and review them regularly. The GSA utilizes service companies to rate contractors. You can get your rating by inquiring with them, much like a credit rating, except pertinent to cost, schedule and technical performance. Monitor your D&B report. It is always out there for prime contractor and government assessment of your financial health, your vendor payment history, your organization profile and your rating.

Insure your web site, your capability statement and your marketing plans are maintained current alive and dynamically reflective of your successes as you pursue new business and carefully develop your library of past performance record by project with accessible profiles to use in your government proposals.

All The Best

Dannie E. James Sr
JE Group LLC
Phone: 404-557-0027
www.jegroupllc.com


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Are Cities and Utilities Benefiting From Social Media?


by C. Henry Adams

Are Cities and Utilities Benefiting from the "likes" of Social Media?  Really!?  Are they?  My answer would be "yes".  Why? 

Well, with the realization of Cell Phones, excuse me; Smartphones coming with Internet, Text Message and Voice mail capabilities. 

Not to mention the fact, you can dial the number and speak with the person; it is one of the official, effective Forms of Communications in Today's Society.

Don't be fool or scam.  I've seen and witness individuals , old as 90 years and young as 4 years, utilizing the aforementioned device or IoT (Internet of Things).

You too have witness it, likely if you are reading this blog.

So, what's the point.   Well, if you live in Atlanta, Georgia, perhaps adding your smartphone number to NotifyATL  ( https://member.everbridge.net/index/3091830992273427#/signup ) is not a bad idea.

Also, you can find Atlanta Watershed Management (drinking water), on Twitter - @ATLWatershed

Regarding traffic notices, the Georgia Department of Transportation notifications ( http://www.511ga.org/cp511 ) is a good idea as well.

OK, OK, that's not a Utility, but Georgia Power Alerts are here: ( https://customerservice.southerncompany.com/Account/PreferenceCenter.aspx?nav=outage#outagealerts )

@GeorgiaPower on Twitter

So, what did we forget?  I  know, Natural Gas Alerts or Emergencies , right!?

Well, the Natural Gas Market has multiple companies to choose from in Georgia, whereas, the main company (Atlanta Gas Light) technically turns on or off the natural gas.

Nonetheless, this would also include responding to gas leak emergencies, but they do not have text message alerts established.

However, you can call Atlanta Gas Light 24-hour emergency response line at 877.427.4321.

Furthermore, you can find Atlanta Gas Light on Twitter:

I can hear somebody living in Atlanta, Ga saying, " But I use Scana! ".  Yet, I hear another person living in Atlanta, Georgia saying, " I utilize Gas South! "  Still, another person yells,  " I use Georgia Natural Gas!"

My reply:  If you mess around and don't pay your natural gas bill; guess who turns the gas off for either of the aforementioned companies in Atlanta, Ga? 

Answer:  AGL or Atlanta Gas Light, now owned by the Southern Company who owns Georgia Power. 

So, that Internet is not all bad afterall, huh!?  LOL   Well, these are my thoughts.  What say you?

Thanks for reading our blogs.   Oh, find us on Twitter @CHENRYADAMS


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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Scrap Tire Drop Off Point @ Adamsville Recreation Center



By C. Henry Adams

On Saturday, April 30th 2016 from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm, located at 3201 Martin Luther King Junior Drive in Atlanta, Georgia 30311; there will be a scrap tire drop off point.

Our definition of  "drop off point" within this blog, basically states that Adamsville Recreation Center parking lots will be where you can leave scrap tires for proper disposal.

It is important to note this particular event; because it is a very positive effort to remove our communities, neighborhoods and homes of scrap tires.

What problems could scrap tires cause just laying around in our environment?

List of Problems Observed:

1)  Health & Environmental Related Issues
a) A possible place for disease carrying mosquitoes to thrive.
b) Diseases such as the Zika Virus and Malaria could occur as a result of scrap tires.

2)  Influence of Criminal Activity
a)  Gangs or Organized Criminal Elements may use scrap tires to mark territory.

3) A Habitat for Snakes and or Rodents

If any combination of the (3) three mentioned items above concern you, your family or neighborhood, perhaps this is your opportunity to do something about the situation.

Also, in the City of Atlanta, you can volunteer, report illegally dumped scrap tires or for questions, contact the ' Keep Atlanta Beautiful Commission ' at 404-330-6721 or email kngreenlee@atlantaga.gov

Well, those are my thoughts.  What say you?  Thanks for reading our blogs.



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Monday, April 25, 2016

Doc Show @ Final Fitness Friday In East Ridge, TN



by C. Henry Adams


In my opinion,  Tyler Perry and his Writers definitely got it right when they wrote a Situational Comedy Television Show Series called, " House of Payne! " years ago.   It was about a Middle Class Family located in Atlanta, Georgia.

Its scary to think, how ' on point ' (Accurate and detail in observation of behavior.)  some of the characters appeared to resemble family members, friends and neighbors in the ATL (Atlanta, Georgia USA).    But, let me change the subject. 

Today,  Actor Doc Shaw, who played a character named 'Malik'  in this particular TV event has reached new heights.

For a number of years, accompanied with his Mother, Tammie Shaw; they both set out to visit various communities in the US while promoting Good Health in Youth.

On Saturday, April 30th 2016, Doc will be in East Ridge, Tennessee for the 'Final Fitness Friday' Event at Camp Jordan.   The address is 323 Camp Jordan Parkway East Ridge, Tn 37412.

The event is open to the Public and starts at 10:00 am.  Families living in this area, might consider visiting this occasion.

Thanks!


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Friday, April 22, 2016

A Legend and a Musical Genius Has Left Us




by Karen Scantlebury
President & CEO of AAIC Companies

A Legend and a Musical Genius has left us today and ascended into the Pearly Gates of Heaven. I am still feeling shocked over the passing of Prince.

During my early years, it was Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Vanity 6 and a host of fantastic artists that I listened to with my friends.

One of the first dance performances in grade school was to a Prince song called,  "I Wanna Be Your Lover".  I didn't understand the words at the time, but the beat was amazing.

We perform the Purple Rain - Song, as well as, Movie; it is so Epic. It was the first time that I was truly in Love.

Prince passing had a profound affect on me, because it has brought back so many memories of my youth.

Tomorrow is not promised, so,  you really have to start living for today.

Prince lived a full life and accomplish more than those who have lived to be 100; this gives me some comfort.

I am only saddened that he likely died alone.  Although it happens all the time, I feel no one should die alone.

I saw the following things about Prince on the Facebook Wall of one of my friends. I thought of sharing it with you below:

Thanks Ty. xoxo

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Prince~
1. Prince wrote his first song at the age of 7, and it was called "Funk Machine."

2. He danced on stage with James Brown when was 10. "My stepdad put me on stage with him and I danced a bit until the bodyguard took me off," Prince told MTV in 1985.

3. He later danced with Brown — and Michael Jackson! — in an amazing show at the Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983. (B.B. King also happened to be on stage.)

4. His first band when he was a young teenager was called Grand Central.

5. Prince was a hardcore Joni Mitchell fan as a teen. "Prince used to write me fan mail with all of the U's and hearts that way that he writes," she told New York Magazine. "And the office took it as mail from the lunatic fringe and just tossed it!"

6. He was once so poor that he'd just smell food instead of eating it. "I didn't have any money, so I'd just stand outside McDonald's and smell stuff," he told Rolling Stone in 1985.

7. He rejected a deal with CBS when he was 19 because they insisted that Verdine White from Earth, Wind, and Fire produce his first three albums. Prince later signed a deal with Warner Bros. that allowed him to produce his own music.

8. Another clause in Prince's Warner Bros. contract allowed him to recruit and produce other artists for the label. He took advantage of this to produce an album by The Time.

9. Despite the fact that he put The Time through rigorous rehearsals for the album, Prince ended up recording every single instrumental part on their debut album himself. The only member of the band who is actually on the record is singer Morris Day, who was forced to closely mimic Prince's delivery and is often overshadowed by his backing vocals.

10. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the production duo behind many of Janet Jackson's biggest singles in the '80s as well as hits by Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Human League, and George Michael, started out as members of The Time, but were fired by Prince.

Source: Buzzfeed

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Is a GSA Schedule right for your company?

Monday Morning Contracting Tips

Dannie E. James

djames@jegroupllc.com


Many businesses ask how they can figure out whether it’s worth their while to go after a GSA Schedule.   Let me share some information that may be helpful in answering this question. Maybe the information provided will guide your decision.

I think it’s important to understand what a GSA Schedule is and what it is not. 

A GSA Schedule is a contract awarded by a federal agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), to firms with established track-records of selling products or services.  A Schedule contract is long-term (a base term of 5 years, with renewal options to a maximum of 20 years).  Schedule contracts cover a wide array of products and services, there may be some products and services may not be purchase on a GSA Schedule.  Contract awards are based on “most favored customer pricing.”   While issued by the GSA, a Schedule contract can be used by any federal agency and, in some cases, by units of state and local governments.   Since everything is pre-negotiated, government agencies benefit from using Schedule contracts because acquisition lead-times are shorter, administrative costs are lower, and administrative steps are fewer. 

From a business point-of-view it’s very important to know that a GSA Schedule contract IS NOT an order, there are no funds obligated once you receive a GSA Schedule. Once you are awarded a Schedule contract, you must be prepared to actively market yourself to government buyers.   In many cases a GSA Schedule contract is referred to as “a license to hunt.”

Your initial step in pursuing one of these contracts should be to examine the entire list of 39 Schedules, including nine Schedules administered by the Veterans Administration.  You can search for details inside particular Schedules by conducting a key word search. Look for the Schedule that most closely fits your line of business.  Subcategories within each Schedule are called SINs — Special Item Numbers.   Remember, there is not a Schedule for everything. 

If and when you find a relevant Schedule, I recommend you research spending reports on individual Schedules.  This will give you some ideas about what kind of money is being spent on individual Schedules and who the prominent, winning Schedule contractors are.

You should do further market research on your potential competitors.  Remember that today’s competitors may be tomorrow’s business partners; GSA Schedule contractors are allowed to team-up with one another to execute government contracts.

All GSA Schedules are located on FedBizOpps — the central repository of virtually all government bid and proposal solicitation documents — so you can download the Schedule solicitation.  The solicitation consist of several different documents, so when you identify the solicitation please download them all.  Collectively, we’re talking about hundreds of pages here, so the real work now begins — you must read, and re-read, everything.   Only you can make a serious and accurate assessment of the impact of GSA’s terms and conditions on your business.  Particularly pay attention to the instructions in the solicitation — you will need to follow these “to the letter” to ensure that GSA accepts your proposal.

Note, too, that many Schedules solicitations allow you to submit your proposal in an electronic format rather than on paper.  These Schedules are designated as “eOffers.”

I know all of this may be a little overwhelming. After all, there are lots of ways to do business with the government, not just through a Schedule contract.  In fact, GSA itself contracts extensively with vendors outside of the Schedule process.  You can take a look at a forecast of GSA’s acquisition needs at www.gsa.gov/smbusforecast.  This forecast can help you plan your approach.   And don’t neglect to consider possible subcontracting opportunities with GSA contractors.

I hope this was helpful. 




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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Next Generation Internet To Pinpoint You More Accurately



By C. Henry Adams

Recently, there were comments made by great individuals from around the World who are apart of the ISOC and the IGF.  The ISOC stands for the Internet Society. The IGF stands for Internet Governance Forum.  The discussion was regarding the 'Next Generation Internet' , whereas, it was understood that one day, possibly sooner than you or I could imagine; devices or IoTs ( Internet of Things ) connected to the Internet will be able to accurately pinpoint their whereabouts when in use.

By utilizing a geographic-concentric Internet, it will make finding geolocations more easier accurately. This will likely be the requirements for the development of machines with Internet access one day.

This means, if you are using an IoT smartphone at the corner of Ware Ave and Main Street in East Point, Georgia to call in an emergency.   The smartphone will likely be accurately picked-up by satellites, ground antennas, radar to pinpoint its exact location in locating you 24 hours a day, 7 days week and 365 days in a year, as long as, it is working; turned on /or off.

So, if  an autonomous robotic vehicle flying, rovering or moving on the ground, respond to your distress call; you can then thank the 'Next Generation Internet'.

Now of course, to evolve into this direction, it could likely do away with organizations such as ICANN (Internet Corporation of Assigned, Names and Numbers), IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority)  and what we call RIRs (Regional Internet Registries) or in America, its called, ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) .

So,  should we be concern about the advancement in telecommunications or what?  I personally think it is important read, learn, comprehend, understand and be apart of innovations in advance technology.

Why?   As my Late Father (Deceased) would often tell me when he was living.   "Know what you are getting into before you get into it..."

Well, these are my thoughts, what say you?   Thank you for reading our blog.







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