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I would like to openly share a few personal thoughts on Cost and Pricing and the task I was charged with pertaining to this discipline over the years. I am often asked why I do not provide even more advanced training in this critical discipline or why I haven't expanded into more money making opportunities with my knowledge.
First of all, there is nothing wrong with making money and doing well. However, each person is selected for their duty and charged with tasks to accomplish it. I chose to follow the path I had been trained and equipped for. In my training I have found that the reality of what contractors are faced with, in this aspect of our business, is the inconsistency and subjectiveness of those we have to deal with.
Fact: It is very important that you know the foundational concepts of many key aspects of government cost and pricing. There is no way around this. Yet, once you get past the foundational concepts the issues become related to fewer and fewer contractors. With confidence gained from the foundation, firms now move on to more complicated issues as they arise and become applicable to them. And they hopefully begin to learn how to negotiate and tactfully interact with ego's and inefficiencies often surrounding them. Including our own...smile.
Take for example a new graduate from a school of learning fortunate to have had extensive training in government contract accounting. This is a good thing as they now have the foundation to move forward, just like any other discipline in a school of training.
Ah, but experience and practical application comes only through practice in the real world. What happens in one business does not happen in all. And how one government agency handles things is not the same across the board, Regardless Of What The Is Required by Law. You can take that to the bank!
Yes, I have the capability to present an in-depth 3-5 day, or week long training in Cost and Pricing and there would be much learning and good materials available that are very valuable. But the majority of attendees retention and practical application for the near future would be severely compromised. In my humble opinion. There are many such training workshops available and at very high prices promising to cover oh so many, many areas and topics in as little as one and as many as five days. This is not practical nor meaningful.
I continue to prefer One Day, Maybe Two at a time, and a few important and practical topics at a time. Along with this, practical tools for ongoing referral purposes must be provided. You may not need the information now, but as has been proven over and over again, when you do need it, and you will, then what you have been exposed to will come to your mind and you will have the tools in your possession to open up before you. So I hope.
As for me, my goal has and continues to be to impart what I have been blessed to learn, experience and practice to those firms who typically would not have the opportunity to be exposed to such. This was my charge and task from the beginning and I have received a deep abiding fulfillment to see people go from a state of fear and anxiety to one of more comfort and confidence in cost and pricing.
What the majority of small to medium, and even large firms require is for people to have a strong foundational knowledge of Key Concepts with Practical Exercises to reinforce the learning. This has been what I have spent much of my career on perfecting. Value, Value, Value, especially for my small business colleagues. It is hard to put in words how joyful it has made me feel to see people grow, learn, and handle themselves using the tools and resources I have made available over the years.
It's a mistake to wait until you feel you need the knowledge, tools and resources. It will cost you dearly in money, potential growth, reputation, and a much higher level of frustration above what already has to be dealt with even when you are trained. That's right, there is no way around frustration!
As I move further into the higher mature years of my life and career (did you catch that play on words..smile) I understand that I will not always be available, or have the ability to provide the level of support to my colleagues as in the past. This too is a reality of life and business. When we turn around, people are no longer in play that once were.
That is why I have spent so much effort over the last few years in providing the tools and resources for you, others of your current staff, and potential new or replacement staff in the future. These include the many tools online, the framework of this newsletter, our regular website, our online contractor community, and importantly the DVD live recording of the workshop. With these tools you will never be without knowledge by your side when needed.
A most dangerous position for anyone to be in is when they "Don't Know That They Need To Know". I have been blessed to know many of the things you need to know in this discipline, even if you don't know you need to know them yet. I have spent my career counseling, consulting, training, advocating, and developing the tools and resources for small contractors.
Please don't find yourself without these tools and resources as part of your arsenal when you need them most. I want you all to be on as much a "level playing field" as possible with your competition.
I had hoped that I would have been able to succeed in making all of these tools available to you through your own tax dollars, although I sure tried. But at least they are available and affordable. I am still thankful to the SBA who many years ago, did sponsor many of our cost and pricing workshops nationwide to 7(j) contractors.
So, with all on your long to do list, please consider making the time for you or your representative to regularly visit your online contractor community and review the articles, inquiries, feedback and other information available. Obtain the free downloads and file away. If you can, try to obtain one of the DVD Packs designed just for you and keep in a safe place.
Knowing that each of my colleague firms own a copy of the DVD and the valuable supporting materials, such as the Cost Policy Manual Template that come with it, as a valuable insurance policy for their current and future success, is my hope as an advocate for small business contractors. Many of you who have been doing this for a while and I have seen the difference in your business growth and profitability over the years. Not to mention the lower level of frustration. Now it is time for all others to do the same. It is not for me. It is for you.
I was given a talent to teach, share, negotiate, and develop tools that are available to everyone who is serious, and in a practical, meaningful, and acceptable way. I believe I have done the task that I was requested to do, and will continue to do so as long as I am given the wisdom and strength to do so.
If you haven't already done so, I hope you take advantage of all the tools and resources made available to you on this online community. Browse, and browse regularly. The more you do, hopefully the more you will learn and improve your confidence level. And go ahead and obtain the tools now, while they are available. At the right time, you will be glad you did.
Thank you for listening and especially for being a part of the joy of fulfilling my task in this area of my life.