Are you a Small Business contractor looking to stay ahead of your competitors in the Federal contracting market? “Forecasting” is the key to preparation needed to win!
In government contracting, a forecast predicts upcoming opportunities that are about to be released by Federal agencies. Agencies release various forecasts to keep contractors aware of future solicitations. These help contractors search out and gain insights into expected or upcoming contracting opportunities early in the acquisition process.
Moreover, forecasting helps contractors make intelligent and well-planned decisions on how to proceed with the next stage of the acquisition process by utilizing clear and actionable data about the agency’s contracting needs. This blog explains the significance of forecasting and recommends ways to predict, track, and target upcoming procurements using forecasting that will help government contractors to build a strong pipeline of opportunities for their Small Businesses.
Why is Forecasting Federal Contracting Opportunities Important?
The purpose of forecasting opportunities is to plan and prepare to win. Small and Medium Business (SMB) government contractors have limited budgets and small proposal teams; hence it makes much more sense for them to understand the future requirements of the agencies, funnel down the opportunities that are the best fit, and prepare accordingly. Forecasting allows contractors to set attainable goals by identifying potential opportunities, creating opportunity pipelines, and defining teaming strategies. It also helps develop production schedules, contractual obligations, future revenues, marketing aspects, and business solutions based on current and historical data. It reduces the complexity and costs associated with data analysis and reporting and improves decision-making on real-time information regarding an upcoming opportunity.
Several government portals and commercial software tools provide opportunity predictions considerably faster and more efficiently than most government contractors can accomplish on their own. The contractor should know how and where to forecast opportunities. It provides visibility and helps vendors adjust and adapt to future predictions such as potential partners, dollar value, etc., by optimizing resources early in the process. There are three reasons why government contractors should forecast opportunities:
- Assists in goal-setting and planning: Forecasting helps contractors set goals for the upcoming financial year. It provides a tentative update on the budget that agencies spend on a particular sector; therefore, contractors can plan the goals and set targets accordingly. These plans include arranging resources, getting requisite certifications or clearances, etc.
- Assists with budgeting: Since Small Businesses have limited budgets to spend on bidding, it is always wise to keep track of the upcoming opportunities and prepare a budget for the most relevant and winnable bids.
- Assists in anticipating market changes: Modernization in technology happens rapidly, and forecasting helps contractors understand the latest trends in the technology and requirements of various government agencies. It also positions them to be prepared in advance.
How to Forecast Federal Contracting Opportunities?
Government contractors must adopt an effective forecasting approach, helping them build a strong pipeline of opportunities for the business. Here are the various steps they can follow to forecast Federal contracting opportunities:
Step 1: List Target Federal Agencies: Establishing a list of Federal agencies SMBs are interested in working with and pursuing opportunities before beginning the search for forecasting Federal opportunities.
Step 2: Search for Procurement Forecast: Having identified the target agencies, SMBs can visit the agency websites to look for procurement forecasts that direct to numerous agency-specific forecasting portals listing various forecasted opportunities. They can find the most relevant forecasted opportunities using multiple filters such as Agency, Small Business set-aside, NAICS code, Fiscal Year, etc. Some of these portals are:
Using agency-specific forecasting portals is not the only way; SMBs can also use resources such as SAM.gov, GovWin, GovTribe, or any other searching portals to look for forecasts. This can be achieved by tracking expiring contracts and looking for presolicitation announcements/notices.
Step 3: Contact Contracting Officers: After obtaining the procurement forecast SMBs are interested in, they can track the selected opportunities and, if listed, contact the associated Contracting Officer to know when the opportunity will be available and where it might be posted. This allows them to stay updated and be prepared to understand the requirements, allowing them to win in the long run.
Having visibility into potential trends and changes have helped government contractors know where to allocate their budget and time internally on certain products, services, or areas. This year, the Biden-Harris Administration is enacting a series of reforms to the Federal procurement process to help meet their target, including increased Small Disadvantaged Business set-aside percentages. Proper forecasting can help Small Businesses benefit from these upcoming opportunities. Other examples include GWACs such as NITAAC’s CIO-SP4 and GSA’s Polaris, wherein the offerors started preparing their best offers in advance to gain a secure position in the race to acquire these contracts.
Forecasting helps SMBs plan and prepare to win. iQuasar supports Small Businesses in forecasting opportunities. Our team is well-acquainted with the Federal contracting market and is proactively helping Small Businesses prepare for winning business through early preparation. Our team of experts will manage the entire process by helping assess the eligibility, increase the readiness levels, and prepare a strategic procurement pipeline.