Smart business owners think about their competition. Some might ponder on it from time to time, wonder what their competitors are up to, yet never really dig deep. For others, it becomes all-consuming – it’s unsettling, they stress about it, and lose sleep over it. But competition is good, and there is a lot to learn from your competitors through a competitive assessment.
A competitive assessment for small businesses wanting to sell to the federal government gives great insight. It helps identify who your competitors are (if you don’t already know), what contracts they are winning, who they are winning with, and how much are they winning? In federal contracting there are some tools to assist with this:
Who Are Your Competitors – Query on the Federal Procurement Data System for a breakdown of spending in the NAICS and PSCs you have identified for yourself. If you’re interested in a GSA Schedule, research the eLibrary for information on contractors currently holding the GSA Schedule(s) you’re interested in, and the Schedule Sales Query for specific GSA sales information.
What Contracts Are They Winning – Slice and dice your queries to determine what contracts your competitors hold, or previously held. What contracts are expiring and might be coming up for bid soon?
Who Are They Winning With – Pull information into your query such as Contracting Agency, Contracting Office, and Department. This will help you in finding the contracting officers in case you want to reach out and pick their brain.
How Much Are They Winning – Break down the data into transactions by contract, and total up all the action obligations to get a sense of the contract value.
Once you start down the path of assessing your competition, you’ll probably find the data takes you in many different directions. Hopefully the path will lead to discovering opportunities to compete for. When you reach that point, make sure the groundwork is done through all appropriate registrations – which we’ll cover in the next research blog: Government Registrations.
For now, recall the saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” To me, this means learn as much as you can about your competition (the enemy). A great first step in accomplishing this is through a thorough Competitive Assessment.