Client Spotlight – Sayres and Associates Corporation, a Veteran and Native American Owned Small Business.
As we continue celebrating National Military Appreciation Month, we spoke to representatives from Sayres and Associates Corporation (Sayres), a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Hank Miranda, Information and Security Director and Brennan Roy, Director of Business Development explained to us how John Sayres successfully positioned his company to win federal contracts while competing against larger corporations.
John Sayres founded his namesake company in 2001 to provide management, technical and administrative services. Working in the realms of program management, acquisition support, logistics, business financial management, cyber security, counterintelligence analysis and much more, helped cultivate brand credibility with the federal government.
Mr. Sayres retired as a Command Master Chief in the Navy and established his company as an 8(a) Business Development Program participant, that entered into the federal government marketplace by winning contracts with the Department of the Navy, Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security. During the 8 years Sayres spent in the 8(a) program, they leveraged their experience to establish relationships that would facilitate their continued successful contracting with the federal government as an SDVOSB, even after graduating from the 8(a) program. Sayres was recently awarded by the Small Business Administration the “8(a) Graduate of the Year Award.” The key ingredient to achieving this continued success was to focus on their unique major systems acquisition expertise to meet the needs of government customers. Now, Sayres is the only Small Business prime contractor for three Acquisition Category (ACAT) 1 level shipbuilding programs.
The Sayres Corp Three Key Ingredients for Their Recipe for Success:
1. Experienced People
2. DCAA Certified Financial Accounting System
3. Top Secret Security Facility Clearance
John Sayres made an investment after determining that these three differentiators would allow his company to be valuable enough to agencies to win new business. Sayres has implemented a DCAA approved accounting system, has a Top Secret Facility Clearance, and has a cadre of Project Management Professionals. These certifications and system implementations were in direct response to the needs of government agencies.
The investment can be daunting for some small companies. Creating a DCAA compliant accounting system and going through the rigor of obtaining a Top Secret Facility Clearance can be intimidating. Sayres determined that the implications of having these qualifications were worth the investment and it turns out they were right! The DCAA compliant accounting system gives them credibility across the agencies and sets them apart from other small businesses. The individual and facility clearances were essential credentials as they continued to focus on and penetrate their federal markets.
Lessons Learned from Over a Decade of Government Experience:
Sayres successful federal practice began with hiring the right people. Sayres developed a reputation for getting the best of the best in the business. This, in turn, helped establish long term relationships with agencies that rely on their team. Sayres understands their customers and the competencies needed to accomplish project goals.
As a service-disabled-veteran-owned small business, performing as a subcontractor can be extremely advantageous to gain federal experience. Sayres experience offers some unique insight as to how small business set-asides facilitate a small firm’s transition to prime contracting opportunities. In Sayres’ case, it was more related to their unique expertise and qualified team members. Their infrastructure investments mentioned above positioned them to be ready to handle large programs and assemble teams of qualified subcontractors.
Their Final Thoughts:
Define your niche, don’t try to be all things to all people. Understand your capabilities and experience. Make your footprint in the government marketplace based your strengths.
Sayres found business financial management to be one of their main strengths, so they used that capability to expand their competencies into adjacent services, such as program management and acquisition support. Sayres Corp found the recipe that worked for them. They determined who their target agencies and offices were, what their needs were, and what unique resources Sayres could provide to be the best choice for the job.
A resource Sayres found to be invaluable was the National Veteran Small Business Coalition. The NVSBC can help VOSBs who need guidance in areas such as learning about doing business with the federal government and determining their needs. It also is a great place to network and see how other VOSBs/SDVOSBs started government contracting.