Skip to main content

How to Grow Your Company Out of the "Wine Glass Stem" Problem.

Author: TeamingPro Staff

How do you cope when you’ve reached the point where you’re almost “too big?”

So, you started out as what’s traditionally described as a “disadvantaged” small business – maybe you’re an 8(a), or minority or veteran owned. You’ve managed to figure out a strategy that works for you, such as our guide for small businesses can secure more government contracts. Business is good – almost too good.

Because now that you’ve been growing your business and your reputation, gradually taking on bigger and better contract wins, you’re going to find yourself having to compete with big names like Boeing and Lockheed Martin on full and open contracts. This will happen once you’re no longer able to relay on your set-asides or size standards when it comes to prime contract wins.

If you have just a few years left on your 8(a) certification or you’re growing beyond the small business size standards for your NAICS, this is a big deal since you’ll have to start competing full and open with the bigger companies.

If your company fits this description, you’re smack in the middle of the “Wine Glass Stem Problem”.

This is a common problem that companies find themselves facing as they grow in the contracting space, though it’s particularly dire for 8(a) companies – the ones that come with a built in “expiration date.” After that lifecycle, it’s time to do or die.


One of the big advantages of living in a digital age is that things are rarely shrouded in mystery. If you’re losing out to companies on contracts, you don’t have to beat your fists against the wall, wondering what they’re doing that you’re missing. With a little competitive research, you can find out how they priced it, how they won it, what NAICS and PSC codes were used, and more. And that’s exactly what you’re going to want to replicate, to make sure your company has the needed past performance, just follow the codes and type of work done. Combine that with an advanced understanding of how the customer likes to do business, and you’ve got yourself some advantages going on.

Look into those specific companies, or the contracts they won if you have the contract number. You can use FPDS to do this at first. You’re going to want to find a description for the types of work required, plus the NAICS and PSC codes used for how contracts were awarded. All of these codes will lead you to a thorough understanding of what you’re going to want to concentrate on for prime wins while you still have your certification to rely on.

From here, you’ll know the type of contracts you’ll want to focus on to improve your own past performance as a prime if you want to stack up against your competitors.

The sooner the better; time is ticking.

How do you find these contracts? Well, you always have SAM.GOV but that’s just one resource. You really should be looking for anything you can prime. Try looking at task orders for contract vehicles you’re on, check out acquisition schedules of government agencies you’re interested in supporting, and more like this.


Now that you know the kinds of contracts you’ll want to hone in on, you’ll need to expand your network of subcontractors in order to go after these new contracts.

That’s what our platform TeamingPro helps you do – rapidly connect with more subcontractors instantly, so you can have a shot at more prime wins that will boost your past performance.

Our AutoConnect, probably the neatest feature, is designed to bring subcontractors to you.

Just filter down the companies in the federal market that have the right capabilities, past performance, government customers, whatever filter criteria that fits your strategies …, and AutoConnect will reach out to them describing your job or opportunity.

Within 24 hours, you’ll have a manageable group of qualified subcontracting companies showing interest in being on your team. From there, you can quickly vet them and set up calls.

This makes it possible to compete for more contracts in a shorter period of time.

If you do this, you’ll be able to put more of the right kinds of contracts in your pipeline and build out more past performance in a shorter time frame.

Tools like this are going to be your best friend as you spend the rest of your certification building up your past performance, getting your company ready for your competitors at the full and open level of competition.

Competitive research helps in each of these aspects a ton – and once you’ve done it, you will know what types of new contract wins to concentrate on. From there, you’ll be able to find as many subcontractors as you like within the federal market that can help you win these kinds of contracts.

Make connections, win contracts, and take charge of your company’s future, expiring certification or no.

Good luck out there!
- Your friends at TeamingPro.

Want to connect with more primes or subcontractors?

Click Here >>