Quiet Professionals: A Small Business Defense Contractor’s Backoffice Strategy for Growth Preparation

Written by Mike Horowitz, Chief Financial Officer, Quiet Professionals, LLC

The majority of Small Business Defense Contractors start out with less than a handful of people, and hopefully if all goes well, a single contract or subcontract to operate. This is a story we hear many times over, some leading to huge success and many more leading to failure. Along the way, small businesses face many challenges to include determining the best way to build an indirect staff to support their planned revenue growth. From my experience in working with DCAA, I have witnessed a plethora of compliance concerns in doing business with the Federal Government, and specifically within the Department of Defense, and the longer a business waits to bring on subject matter experts in functional areas, the greater the risk becomes in falling short. Most businesses will choose to operate with the bare minimum for obvious financial reasons, only hiring additional support staff when a clear gap presents itself. This can work with smart leaders and some luck, but where is that balance between “winging it and hoping for the best” and methodically hiring those Subject Matter Experts at key milestones to enable readiness?

When it comes to landing that first big cost-type Prime contract, and knowing that the books and records are buttoned up and audit proof, or that the HR Dept is ready to support hundreds of employees, or that the Contract itself has all of the bases covered and is ok to execute, the necessary reaction time can be significantly reduced with an optimized team. Having worked my entire career supporting Defense Contractors of all sizes, I can say with certainty that there is no right or wrong answer. Many businesses have found those answers at different junctures in time and maturity, and their results run the gamut. Some find themselves behind the curve and needing to bring people on to clean up a financial or other type of mess. Some have no issues and pass their first audit (of any kind) with flying colors.

Quiet Professionals, LLC developed a philosophy early on, of hiring proven, top-tier talent to manage and operate its functional organizations to always be ready to support the company’s mission and objectives. This has allowed QP to ensure that our customers’ missions are executed at the highest level possible, while simultaneously being ready to take on the next large contract award without having to scramble to transition and operate at the onset. This philosophy has paid off in spades, and integrates into having the flexibility to respond to unpredictable occurrences, such as COVID-19, and QP is proud to have had the foresight to take this approach.

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