The Society of Defense Financial Management recently completed Season 1 of The Business of Defense video podcast, produced in conjunction with WTOP News/Federal News Network.

Thank you to our guests from across the defense sector – the bigs, the smalls, the partnerships and private equity owned, and the SDVOBS, ESOPS, and EDWOSBs – who joined us over the past 12 months. These business leaders brought us inside their companies to talk about the challenges and opportunities of operating in the federal and defense sectors.

Key insights from Season 1:

  • Organizational structure can be a competitive advantage, but each structure has pros/cons and can affect growth strategies and competition for government contracts.
  • Uncertainty in government funding and the government contracting process increases risk…and increased risk increases cost for companies and the government. Large companies have greater capacity to manage risk and uncertainty through capital reserves and credit markets; small firms have less capacity to manage risk, particularly contract disruptions or work stoppages.
  • Operating margins in the audit/advisory/consulting space are thin, particularly for small firms whose margins can be further reduced as a sub-contractor on a prime contract. But, even small margins can be lucrative given the size of government spending.
  • Mentorship is important at all levels – early careerist to CEO.  No c-suite executive achieved their position without mentorship throughout their career, and they see the value in giving back through mentorship.
  • Strategic planning in the startup phase tends to be emergent and opportunistic, but evolves into a more deliberate process for growth-oriented companies as they seek expansion into new business areas, gain access to outside funding and M&A, and establish advisory and fiduciary boards.

Many thanks to Sunny Singh from AeyonMike Monson from Definitive LogicTodd Johnston formerly with BDOChé Bolden from the The Charles F. Bolden GroupMary Ahern Snyder from SignificanceDawn Sedgley from cBEYONDataRichard Manley from Thompson Gray, Inc.M. John Saad from GuidehouseRichard Pineda from CALIBRE Systems, Inc.Ryan Waguespack, CPA from Iberia AdvisoryHorace Blackman from CGIDave Sterling from Royce Geo, and R.J. Blake, CPA, CGFM from the Blake Willson Group, LLC for giving us the insights into how they create value for their companies and their customers.