When we launched Bidspeed almost 4 years ago we had a somewhat different vision of where we would end up. Our first thought was that we were a tool that would help tame the madness that is Federal contracting. So we built that, and, as far as we can tell from our customers, it works about they way we envisioned it.

Then some interesting things happened. About 2 years ago, we started working on the SBA Teaming Pilot Program. The grant (we worked directly with 6 of the 11 grantees) was designed to help small businesses win large Federal contracts by forming teams and pursuing large ($10 million+) deals.

It became obvious rather quickly that in order to effectively pursue $10 million+ Federal deals, the opportunities absolutely HAD to be set-aside. Most of the time, in order for something that size to be set-aside, there has to be at least some formal market research.

So we started searching for large, early stage deals and briefing them via webinar to participants in the program. The briefings were wildly successful – we presented over 200 over the last 2 years to nearly 8,000 people. Normally, we prepared a template to use as a response and showed people how to use Bidspeed to respond directly to that opportunity.

We also reviewed the responses from the small businesses at their request, offering comments and suggestions on how to best position their company to the buyer.

Finally, we directly advocated on behalf of the grant participants with the contracting officer in order to influence the outcome of the set-aside. By webinar 120, or thereabouts, we started to get contracting officers to not only listen, but respond to our message about our companies.

Federal funding, as you may have heard, can be tricky business, especially of late. Grant funding expired at the end of September, 2013, and the SBA program ended.

The good news – this isn’t the end of the story. Along the way, we learned a few things. The first was that our customers were winning – over $750 million over the last 2 years. The second was that building a sustainable Federal pipeline requires real commitment.

The third thing we learned – we want to keep doing this.

So, in addition to our (we know) very cool new face-lift, we’re announcing a very cool new Bidspeed – the Federal Business Development Program (FBDP). (Can’t have a Federal program without an acronym.)

The FBDP is a natural continuation of the Pilot Program. Same great technology, same early stage webinars, same templates, response review, workshops, and the same small business advocacy.

Think of FBDP, powered by Bidspeed, as a virtual business development team. A Federal contracting genius bar. Your advocate for Federal contracting.

And, of course, a very cool new face-lift.