Frequently Asked Questions
On the spectrum of Business Development – between Lobbyists and “hired guns/rainmakers,” where do you fall?
In the middle. We prefer to help our Clients develop an internal Business Development capability and capacity and provide a supporting role over a long-term relationship. While we will conduct Business Development for our Clients, we do this as part of a plan to move from the front to the back and act in support – augmenting where it makes sense and providing broad support along the way.
How do you obtain business?
Predominately our work comes through referrals and/or word of mouth from satisfied Clients.
Can we see your Client list?
We do not publish a Client list – partly because our Clients typically prefer anonymity and partly because we find these lists to be somewhat misleading. By that we mean, for example, while listing large multi-national defense contractors as Clients might look impressive – the reality is that most relationships between consultants and large Clients are with specific offices and/or divisions and not with the corporation as a whole, or based on personal relationship with the most senior corporate leadership. Thus we choose not to do so.
Can you provide us with References?
Yes – upon request we’ll send a targeted list of individuals with whom we’ve conducted business. They can describe the nature of our work for them in a manner with which they are comfortable.
How do you work with Clients?
After having some initial conversations and listening carefully to your objectives, we’ll present an approach and a phased plan for how we’d like to work with you over time – and we summarize this approach within our Standard Consulting Agreement. Most often we’ll recommend starting work on a time and materials basis where we provide you an estimate of our services – by task – and then we proceed only upon your written authorization. We find this to be a clean and simple approach to helping our Clients keep control of their budget. Over time we’ll discuss a retainer based relationship if desired and if circumstances warrant. Importantly, we do not accept compensation for outcomes of procurement / contract opportunities on which we provided services.
How are you compensated?
Either on a time and materials or retainer basis – see ‘How do you work with Clients?’ above.
Do you accept Commissions on Sales?
Never. There are two primary reasons for this: (1) Accepting compensation based upon the outcome of Government contracts moves us from a position of providing objective advice to a position of having a substantial stake in contract award. This stake can create the impression that we are acting only in our own interests and not in the best interests of our Client. (2) Since we cannot control the actions of our Clients, we cannot accept the risk that a Client will act in contravention to their own best interests and instead choose an approach that will cause them to lose a proposal or lose favor with a Government Program Office (this has happened before … once burned, twice shy). Note: the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) have guidelines regarding commission-based compensation. Before engaging with a firm that desires such an arrangement, we recommend you consult the FAR and determine whether this approach truly meets your business objectives.
What is your Proposal Win Rate?
We don’t publish a proposal win rate because this is an inherently misleading statistic. Many factors affect win rates – not the least of which is the type of contract being pursued. For example, some companies claim win rates exceeding 85% or 90% – but won’t tell you that most of those are for obtaining GSA Schedules. Other factors that affect proposal outcome – beyond any consultant’s control – are price, the Government’s actual interest in your technology or services, the timing of when we are engaged in the project, and, ultimately, the decision of a Client to accept or reject certain advice.
Will you represent our firm to the Government?
Occasionally we’ll help represent clients to the Government – but have found that Government Officials much prefer to see actual company representatives than “hired guns.” We help open doors and are happy to attend meetings with Clients, but our focus is to help Clients better conduct their own sales efforts by developing an understanding of a broad Client-focused business approach.
Do you conduct lobbying activities?
No – we are not lobbyists. If this type of activity is of interest to our Clients, we happily refer them to lobbying firms that match their specific needs and provide assistance where and when needed.
Do you conduct work directly for the Federal Government?
No. Our business focuses solely on helping private industry work with the U.S. Government.
Will you work for foreign firms seeking to conduct business with the US Government?
Yes – provided that they are planning on following U.S. Acquisition rules and regulations, and complying with U.S. Law.
Will you work for U.S. firms seeking to conduct business with foreign countries?
Yes – in limited circumstances. When seeking international business, we strongly advise our Clients to very clearly understand the intent and implications of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FPCA). This law governs the conduct of U.S. businesses in foreign countries – essentially holding U.S. firms to U.S. legal standards regarding lobbying and compensating representatives and payments to foreign officials. The Government holds that it possesses global jurisdiction when enforcing the FCPA and may seek criminal penalties for illegal activities of any U.S. firm – and in particular its officers and owners – for the actions taken by any employee or hired representative resulting in a violation of the law. FCPA penalties are extensive and include significant fines and imprisonment.