Why do so many small disadvantaged businesses fail to graduate?

There are numerous reasons so many small businesses in the 8(a), HUB zone, SDVOB and similar programs fail to successfully graduate to the full and open procurement environment.

Put another way, there are several steps small businesses should take to transition to a larger competitive company.  In my earlier career, I experienced two effective graduations and, since then, several others with consulting clients.  Among the challenges were:

  1. An inadequate strategic planning process
  2. The absence of a mature business development, capture and proposal process and resources necessary to compete in the full and open marketplace
  3. A lack of well defined core competencies or technical discriminators
  4. Poorly defined value proposition
  5. Insufficient support organization infrastructure
  6. Not enough experience bidding on full and open bids
  7. Over reliance on just a few agencies
  8. Too few strategic partnerships including with new emerging small businesses able to compete on future set-asides and re-competes
  9. Lack of corporate cost structure and proposal pricing sophistication
  10. Unwillingness or inability of the founder(s) to either become a more effective leader and/or to delegate responsibility and authority

– Mike Lisagor, GOPROP Academy


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