Need identification

Needs and solutions are different:

  • A need is almost always tied to a mission or outcome, solutions are how that need is met
  • Example: The DOD:
  • The DoD needs to keep the country safe
  • The DoD needs to have air power
  • The DoD needs to move things around the world
  • The solution is Air Power, logistics, etc
  • The solution is buying planes
  • The solution is freight services

How needs are identified:

  • Recurring: The government has lots of ongoing needs, For example, an agency might have an ongoing need for:
    • Office maintenance
    • Vehicle maintenance
    • Working computer networks
    • When the government has an ongoing need they like to sign multiyear support contracts
    • If the contract is ending soon, but the need continues, the acquisitions community will identify that need
  • New needs: The government’s headline needs don’t change very often, but more tactical needs do:
    • Arms race: As the security environment changes what the DOD needs to secure national security changes
    • Changes in the tech landscape: As technology evolves the government’s needs do too
    • Political direction: As different parties come to power in congress or the White House they can have different policy positions that lead to new needs
    • Industry engagement: Well connected contracting companies are good at identifying or “creating” needs that the government didn’t know they had
  • Emergency needs: From time to time an emergency occurs and the government needs to respond:
    • Response to natural disasters
    • Response to changes in an overseas conflict
    • Response to a major cyber breach

Output of need identification

  • A clearer understanding: There does not have to be a physical output from the needs identification phase it can be as simple as a clearer understanding of:
    • The breadth and depth of the need
    • The dependencies and how the need looks for different users
  • Maybe a write up of the need: For a larger need there may be a write up of the need being addressed, background on the need, and why that need is important.
  • An editorial: In our opinion the best acquisitions focus on communicating a need and letting the vendor community figure out how to provide a solution.

Rants and Reflections

My unscripted thoughts after coaching hundreds of small government contractors over the last 10 years

Other resources (Individual contract checks)

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List of further reading

Video Transcript(s):

Odds are that your first contract will be as a sub to another small business, so you need to find small businesses you could work with, and start building relationships with them.

And, FedScout makes this easy. Click on the partner button below and FedScout will show you all the small businesses in your industry that have won work at one of your selected sub-agencies.

And if you’ve uploaded your linkedin connections we'll do our best to identify people you know at each small business.

And like with customers, select the companies and the people that you want to target and we’ll add them to your relationship manager.