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Review: Federal Contracting Made Easy, by Scott A. Stanberry
   
FEDERAL CONTRACTING MADE EASY Fulfills the Title's Promise
Review by Michelle L. Hutchens, ProCom: A Proposal Communication Company

Federal Contracting Made Easy by Scott A. Stanberry, Copyright 2001 by Management Concepts, 8230 Leesburg Pike, Suite 800, Vienna, VA 22182, Telephone 703-790-9595, Facsimile 703-790-1371, http://www.managementconcepts.com

To be honest, the title of Scott Stanberry's book made me leery. As anyone who has ever tried to comprehend Federal instructions, rules, and regulations knows (think about the last time you filed your taxes), there is nothing easy about how our Government works. Federal rules and regulations are complicated, sometimes contradictory, and make for extremely tedious reading. Likewise, books about Federal contracting are usually long-winded, impractical, and filled with snooze-inducing prose. Stanberry, however, has written a truly useful, practical book that is actually a pleasure to read.

Whether you're new to Federal contracting or a seasoned professional, FEDERAL CONTRACTING MADE EASY provides valuable information in a concise, easy-to-read format.
Stanberry has divided his book into five sections: basic information on Federal Government contracting, opportunities related to your business size, finding Government contracting opportunities, methods by which the Government issues procurement opportunities, and contract types and administrative requirements. Appendices provide lists of acronyms, DOD-Certified Value-Added Networks, and Federal agencies and departments, as well as a glossary of contracting-related terms. A general table of contents, a detailed table of contents, and an index make it a snap for you to find exactly the information you need, but Stanberry's handling of a normally dry subject is so entertaining, you'll find yourself reading the book in its entirety.

Whether you're new to Federal contracting or a seasoned professional, FEDERAL CONTRACTING MADE EASY provides valuable information in a concise, easy-to-read format. Packed with relevant figures, invaluable web resources, and clear, easy-to-follow examples, Stanberry manages the impossible-he writes about Federal contracting in clean prose with a sense of humor.

The book is user-friendly…Useful graphics and practical examples clarify complex processes.
As Stanberry points out in his preface, our Government spends more than $200 billion on supplies and services annually-that's an average contract award of $465,000 every 20 seconds of every workday. Those unfamiliar with Government contracting usually don't realize that the Government purchases everything from paper clips and mechanics' tools to auction, custodial, facilities management, real estate, and refuse collection services. Whether your business is large or small, the Federal Government is too large a customer for you to ignore.

The sheer scope of these 300-plus pages of text fosters an increased understanding of the financial, administrative, marketing, and technical aspects of Government contracting, which can only increase the cohesiveness of your Government contracting team, whether that team is comprised of 1 or 100 members.
With FEDERAL CONTRACTING MADE EASY, Stanberry covers the gamut of Government contracting, from finding contracting opportunities to administrating the awarded contract-and he does it with clear, concise prose. For virtually every subject he touches upon, Stanberry also provides web addresses and/or organization names, addresses, and telephone numbers, allowing you to obtain additional or more specific information with ease. Stanberry's humor ensures that your reading experience for an otherwise dry subject is pleasurable; his expertise ensures that you obtain valuable knowledge in the process.

The book is user-friendly, allowing you to find exactly what you're looking for quickly and easily-a definite plus for those busy workdays. Useful graphics and practical examples clarify complex processes. A quick contents reference kicks off every chapter, as well as a relevant cartoon, starting your learning experience with a smile. And for those really harried days, the humorous contracting terms sprinkled throughout the glossary are bound to relieve some stress.

Do you have a unique product or service that you want to pitch to the Government, but for which there is no existing procurement? Turn to page 198, wherein begins a clear, concise explanation of how to prepare and submit Unsolicited Proposals, as well as how to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Do you understand the differences between sealed bidding and negotiated procurements? You will after you've read Chapters 11 and 12. What about those Federal Supply Schedules and GSA Schedules-do you understand what they are, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to calculate whether or not it would be a profitable business avenue for you? You will after you read Chapter 7. Do you understand FOIA, and how, why, and when you should submit a FOIA request? Chapter 2 answers those questions for you. What do you know about Electronic Commerce (EC), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and Value-Added Networks (VANs)? Chapter 8 provides clear explanations of these complex subjects. And what in the world are the meanings of all those acronyms our Government is so fond of? Look in Appendix A for the answer.

New businesses, small businesses, and those new to or interested in Government contracting will find FEDERAL CONTRACTING MADE EASY an irreplaceable guide. Larger businesses and those experienced in Government contracting will find Stanberry's book to be an invaluable reference and excellent teaching tool for staff members, associates, and partners. The sheer scope of these 300-plus pages of text fosters an increased understanding of the financial, administrative, marketing, and technical aspects of Government contracting, which can only increase the cohesiveness of your Government contracting team, whether that team is comprised of 1 or 100 members.

I have spent more than a dozen years working in the Federal contracting industry, and Stanberry has penned the only book on Government contracting that has earned a permanent place in my reference library-my well-thumbed and annotated copy is on my desk, right next to my computer. My only suggestion to Stanberry is to update the section of his book dealing with the Commerce Business Daily (CBD), which has been discontinued recently, with more information on FedBizOpps.


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