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Price To Win: Know When to Hold ‘em and When to Fold ‘em

In today’s federal marketplace, anyone can compete for business.

And anyone can win—at least some of the time. It’s the possible losses, however, that can provide more than experience to learn from—they can, at times, be ruinous.

Therein lies the rub.

Because opportunity incurs costs—in resources, bid and proposal feeds, and your staff’s time, smart would-be government contractors know that Price To Win (PTW) strategies are a key part of capture. Smart government contractors can tell you that identifying your Price To Win position is more than a number; a true PTW strategy reflects the complex relationship between your customer needs, their allocated budget, and their spending patterns.

Industry expert Randy Richter, Chairman and Price To Win Director at Richter & Company will tell you that even smarter contractors take the definition of PTW a bit further. These competitors know that determining their PTW position for a given opportunity not only involves factoring in the impact of their customers’ needs, budgets, and spending patterns, but also analyzes their competitors’ solutions, strategies, tactics and degree of aggressiveness throughout the bid cycle.

But only the smartest contractors, says Richter, understand when the PTW process should actually begin. “Some will say that the process should begin early in the life cycle of the bidding process, but in reality, the smartest competitors begin crafting their PTW strategies well before a draft RFP is in place,” he says. “The wisest decision a contractor can make is not to try to decide how to win a bid, but whether to compete at all. Sometimes, the better part of valor in government contracting is to step back from a given opportunity so you can live to fight another day.”

Richter says his firm’s PTW support is provided by experienced analysts who understand the government process, know how to price, and can think outside of the box. “We train our team to ethically gather information, analyze it to create actionable intelligence, and develop solid assumptions,” said Richter. “We then customize our proven processes and tools that we’ve developed to each potential competitor’s situation to produce accurate, defensible results.”

There are two ways to build a PTW strategy:

  • The Top Down process uses historical data, including information on bids previously awarded and budget information to identify the parties’ “comfort zones.” In other words, a Top Down determines in what range customers tend to award bids, and where competitors tend to receive them. The Top Down approach is best used in early gate reviews to help firms decide whether to compete at all, and/or to develop proactive solutions using “design to cost” approaches. Effective Top Down efforts can be pursued easily and affordably as ongoing projects because very little data is required.
  • A Bottom Up PTW analysis is best performed as soon as customer requirements and evaluation processes are known, typically once the DRFP is released. Based on identifying targeted competitors’ solutions, building up their costs, and identifying how these costs will be prices using their strategies, is the foundation of Bottom Up PTW reviews. Results are updated as new solicitation documents become available, with work continuing to cover amendments, ENs, FPRs, and negotiations.

Once you have your PTW position, what needs to happen next? To compete, or not to compete. To engage in the game and work to win the hand, or—like The Gambler—know when to walk away and when to run? Hold ‘em or fold ‘em?

Richter says this is one of the most important moments in the entire process—where a business decision must be made that only the potential federal contractor can make. “Our job is to show our client the position they need to achieve to beat their competitors, but whether they should attempt to move their company into that ‘win zone’ is entirely up to the firm’s leadership.

If you need more information to decide about whether to engage, my best advice is to ask questions,” said Richter. “I always told my kids that the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask, and I extend that advice to our clients today. Unless the project is classified, of course, why not take a chance? Ask the question. You just might get the answer you need to make an informed decision.”

Richter & Company’s consistent process, innovative tools and experienced staff have helped customers win over $30 billion since 2006.

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Richter & Company Announces Chris Richter as President

With 10+ years of proven experience in business development and technical and analytical support within the public and private sectors, we are proud to announce that our own Chris Richter has assumed the role of President of Richter & Company.

When asked about his new role, Chris commented: “I am excited to start my new role as President of Richter & Company. Having the ability to be an integral part of growing the company from the ground up, I’m excited to take it to the next level.”

Chris was recently interviewed with a set of ten questions to help define his approach and personality within the organization.  Take a moment to learn more about Chris within his new role as President:

What made you want to initially work at Richter & Company?

In 2007, Randy Richter (my father and company Chairman) approached me to help provide some research and marketing support. We decided to do a week of marketing to the top 20 programs that year and as a result of those efforts, landed a few new clients. Those clients fueled our growth over the next several years and I knew this type of work was clearly something I felt strongly about and could excel within.

What aspect about your job do you really enjoy?

One of the best parts of working at Richter & Company is the breadth of programs we get to support.  In a single year we may do everything from building tactical vehicles, surface ships, aircraft, healthcare IT, or intel analysis.

What is one thing people might not know about you?

My favorite movie growing up was Top Gun. I think I’ve watched it over a hundred times. My nickname was “Goose” when I was younger and the scene of Tom Cruise on his Honda sport bike led me to buying my first motorcycle in college.

What is one thing people don’t know about Richter that you think they would find surprising or interesting?

Full-time staff does almost all of our work. We are not a “body shop” using 1099’s. We hire the best people in the industry to provide premier value to our customers.

What is the most unique experience you’ve had at Richter during your time at the company?

Honestly, it is challenging to pick only one.  I think the most unique experience was during my first presentation of a competitive analysis. The plan was to present to the capture manager and the proposal manager, but when we arrived to present the briefing, it was the entire executive board. Talk about jumping in with both feet! The good news is that I was able to provide them with information they needed, and Richter & Company was proud to help them to secure their bid.

What is your background? Ex: where are you originally from, where did you go to school, etc.?

I was born in Ithaca, NY and moved to Maryland when I was 5.  I went to school in Virginia and eventually ended up back in Maryland.

What is your favorite pastime?

I grew up playing lacrosse – in fact, my father and I helped really grow the sport within Western Maryland. However, two years ago, I ruptured my Achilles in a Master’s lacrosse game. Having a strong competitive nature, I needed to do something. I was introduced to competitive pistol shooting shortly after my surgery and actually shot my first 12 matches wearing a boot to protect my newly repaired Achilles.

Have you travelled a lot? Where to? What was your favorite place, and what’s the next place on your list?

I’ve traveled to most of the US, the Bahamas and Bermuda, but my favorite vacation was in Costa Rica. The rainforest was amazing, and the people have such a relaxed attitude. Next will be somewhere else tropical, and eventually I want to make it to Europe and the Far East.

What is currently on your Netflix list?

Lost in Space, The Defenders, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and of course, Stranger Things.

Do you have any bucket list items? Ex: skydiving, learning to play an instrument, etc.?

I will say that I’ve done most of my bucket list items. I’ve been skydiving, both tandem and solo, I’ve ridden a motorcycle at 199 mph (I couldn’t turn my wrist that last fraction to break 200 mph), I learned how to ride horses and to shoot pistols and rifles. I think the few things that remain are to make Grand Master in USPSA and to visit Europe.

So there you have it, straight from the man himself! That’s all for this month’s news here at Richter. Stay tuned here to our blog for more industry news and information, including introductions to more of our team here at Richter & Company!

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Richter & Company Welcomes Brandon Conroy

Brandon Conroy, former Competitive Intelligence Analyst at Northrop Grumman, has joined Richter & Company as Executive Competitive Analyst.  As an Executive Analyst, Conroy will provide senior-level competitive analysis and business development support for clients.  Conroy will also be involved in training development. “We’re excited to have Brandon join our team,” said Randy Richter, President and Founder of Richter & Company.  “His strong analytical and CI skills, paired with experience within the defense market make him a wonderful addition to our company.” Conroy holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland and has worked nearly 15 years within the defense and federal market.  He has completed a variety of professional training programs, and currently serves as Chairman of the Greater DC Chapter of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). About Richter & Company Richter & Company is an industry-leading competitive intelligence consulting firm whose services have helped clients win more than $30B in new revenue since 2006. Please visit www.richterandco.wpengine.com for more information
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Al Fier Joins Richter & Company Team

December 22, 2014- Al Fier, former Sector Director for Position-to-Win at Northrop Grumman Information Systems, has joined Richter & Company as an Executive Consultant.  Fier will provide business development support and lead and develop training seminars. “We’re very excited to have Al join our team,” said Randy Richter, President and Founder of Richter & Company.  “Al is one of the names in the Price to Win industry, and we’re excited that he’s joined forces with us.” Fier holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the New York Institute of Technology, and has completed a wide variety of management training.  Fier has worked nearly 40 years within the defense and civil market. About Richter & Company Richter & Company is an industry leading competitive intelligence consulting firm whose services have helped clients win more than $30B in new revenue since 2006.  Please visit www.richterandco.wpengine.com for more information.
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Beth Keswani Joins Richter & Company

October 6, 2014- Beth Keswani, former Senior Competitive Pricing Analyst at Deloitte, has joined Richter & Company as an Executive Price to Win Consultant.  As an Executive Consultant, Keswani will provide senior-level competitive analysis and Price to Win support for clients. “Beth has considerable insight into the world of pricing,” said Randy Richter, President and Founder of Richter & Company.  “Her strong engineering background and experience with building Basis of Estimates make her a wonderful addition to the Richter & Company team.” Keswani holds a Master’s degree in Engineering Management from Duke University, and has worked 5+ years within the defense and civil market. About Richter & Company Richter & Company is an industry-leading competitive intelligence consulting firm whose services have helped clients win more than $60B in new revenue since 2006.  Please visit www.richterandco.wpengine.com for more information.
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Jessica Combs Joins Richter & Company Team

October 2, 2014- Jessica Combs has joined Richter & Company as Office Manager.  Combs will provide administrative and research support, and work closely with the management and marketing teams. “We’re excited to welcome Jessica to the team,” said Randy Richter, President and Founder of Richter & Company.  “Her project management and research skills, coupled with administrative and HR experience make her a valuable asset to Richter & Company.” About Richter & Company Richter & Company is an industry-leading competitive intelligence consulting firm whose services have helped clients win more than $60B in new revenue since 2006.  Please visit www.richterandco.wpengine.com for more information.