This is Big Business

This is Big Business

How security and safety companies can grow through government procurement

When it comes to government contracting, security spending is big business—and small business too. Billions of dollars are at stake for all companies—big and small—tasked with supplying goods and services, preventing cyberattacks, providing counterintelligence and keeping the public safe.

Just think, of the Pentagon’s $718 billion 2020 budget request, about $143 billion was marked for procurement. Meanwhile, defense department contracts skyrocketed to about $373 during fiscal year 2018, eating up a huge portion of the $559 billion in overall federal contracting spending.

Although a significant amount of allocated contracting dollars are consumed by security behemoths such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Co., there are plenty of opportunities for smaller businesses too.

Here is how to determine whether your safety and security company is a good fit, and how it could ultimately profit:

What’s Out There?

On the federal level, security contracts are allotted for a variety of assignments, ranging from the construction of fighter jets to smaller gigs such as opportunities to guard federal facilities.

Some states, including Washington, Virginia and California, are ranked higher in defense contracting spending, but they certainly are not the only areas where opportunities are plentiful.

Contracts are available through multiple tiers of government, ranging from the local to federal levels. Jobs can also be found through special districts, a form of government created by local communities to meet specific needs.

It is also worth noting that government agencies frequently lump security-related products and services into a single category, regardless of what the product actually is. This can muddle search results—after all, alarm system contracts are a lot different than weapons dealers—and make it tricky to link contractors with relevant openings.

Contract seekers can find relevant postings with greater ease by visiting the North American Industry Classification System, and determining which codes apply to their goods or services.

Government Set-asides

If you are a small business, you could have a big advantage when it comes to landing contracts.

Governments aim to award at least five percent of contracting dollars to small, disadvantaged businesses each year. They strive to set aside additional money for women-owned small businesses, and businesses owned by service-enabled veterans.

Is Your Company a Good Fit?

By familiarizing yourself with government contracting jobs within the security sector, you will soon discover that the space is rife with opportunities. Local and state governments are frequently looking to work with companies who offer security and safety products or services. They are seeking security systems, security guards, weapons and ammunition, disaster recovery, canines, and other safety and security equipment.

No matter your specialty, if you are in the security business, there is likely an opening that matches it. Understandably, some small business might find procurement intimidating, and shy away from participating. But the truth is, there are plenty of incentives for small and minority-owned businesses that help level the playing field and make dreams of procurement attainable.

Finding Opportunities

As mentioned, opportunities are plentiful in the government procurement space – it is finding the right ones that is the problem. Government job boards can be a black hole of expired and irrelevant postings, and sorting through them can be an exercise in frustration.

Fortunately, professional bidding services such as Demand- Star can eliminate the headache with filters that allow job seekers to zero-in on relevant jobs at the state and local level, while eliminating inappropriate listings. DemandStar also automatically sends appropriate government opportunities to businesses, which eliminates the need for businesses to sort through listings.

Time saved through such services will allow you to spend more time preparing bids and reviewing contracts.

Before seeking out contracts, ensure your business is registered with the appropriate agencies. If you plan to do business with the government, you will need to create a system for award management profile. And if you are a business looking to seek out opportunities for minority-owned or women-owned, or disadvantaged businesses, you will need to self-certify with the Small Business Association.

Submitting a Winning Bid

With more than 28,000 active opportunities on the government’s website – and plenty more at the state and municipal levels – there is no shortage of contracting jobs. Nevertheless, when it comes to a space as saturated as the security industry, competition is fierce.

To win a bid, you will need to submit a capability statement that introduces your business and lays out why it is the best match for a desired job. Within your proposal, make sure to include your business’ specific advantages, and why you believe it is the best candidate.

Also, take time to read the job description, and ensure you have addressed the perquisite requirements in your proposal. Provide a timeline of how you plan to execute the project, and explain how you will overcome challenges or obstacles.

You should be prepared to address any follow-up questions that might arise, and be available in the event the hiring committee requires an in-person presentation.

As a general rule, it is also a good idea to actively network. Try connecting and meeting up with some contracting offers to better familiarize yourself with the process, while introducing them with your business.

Submitting a bid can be a complicated and time-intensive process, but with the right strategy and approach, it could pay off in a big way.

How Government Work Can Recession Proof a Business

There has been a lot of buzz about a possible impending recession. And with the devastating 2008 recession still fresh in many minds, people are preparing for the worst.

The good news is that governments will always have money to spend on procurement, thus lessoning financial roller coaster rides for contract recipients. By preparing your business for the procurement process now, you will essentially be recession-proofing it for the next downturn.

Entering the world of government procurement might seem overwhelming, but for sectors as lucrative as the security field, it is an area worth considering.

If you are a security company looking for new business opportunities and avenues of expansion, contracting could be your golden ticket. It could also be the insurance your company needs to survive tumultuous financial cycles and an increasingly competitive economic environment.

This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Security Today.

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