Margarita Howard on Building a WOSB Powerhouse: HX5’s Blueprint for Success

Last Updated on: 12th April 2024, 03:21 pm

In the competitive world of government contracting, differentiating your company demands expertise, capability, and a strategic mindset. Margarita Howard, a service-disabled veteran leading HX5 as its sole owner, president and CEO, has elevated the firm into a standout women-owned small business, or WOSB. Her career trajectory offers valuable insights into the strategic maneuvers and principled stances that have steered the company toward success.

HX5’s success starts with a solid foundation built on a deep understanding of the government’s needs and a commitment to exceeding expectations. Howard has steered the company with a focus on strategic positioning, ensuring that it aligns closely with its government clients’ missions and objectives. This alignment is not by chance but by design, with Howard leveraging her military experience and leadership skills to build a company that speaks the language of its clients and understands their unique needs.

Women-owned firms represent a significant portion of U.S. businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration reported approximately 13 million women-owned businesses in the United States, making up about 42% of all companies and generating $1.9 trillion in revenue. The number of women-owned small businesses is rising, showcasing a broad spectrum of industries, diversity, and increasing financial success. As female entrepreneurs grow their ventures, they significantly boost the national economy and strengthen defense.

The federal government aims to annually award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses. This goal is part of the government’s efforts to ensure diverse participation in federal procurement. According to the SBA, the federal government has met or exceeded this 5% goal only a few times, including in fiscal year 2019, when 5.19% of all federal contracting dollars were awarded to WOSBs.

“As more women-owned businesses enter the government contracting market, competition for contracts is intensifying. Accordingly, with an increase in the number of businesses that may be competing for work, it continues to be of critical importance for any business, women-owned or otherwise, to differentiate themselves through their unique capabilities, past performance, and value propositions that they can offer to the government,” Howard says.

“Consequently, the increase in the number of women-owned businesses comes with what many would see as a benefit in the form of more opportunities for collaboration and teaming. Women-owned businesses can benefit from partnering with other firms, including large primes or other small businesses, to pursue larger contracts or projects requiring diverse expertise.”

Margarita Howard: Empowering Women in Leadership

The path to building a successful WOSB in the government contracting sector is fraught with challenges, from intense competition to the complexities of regulatory compliance. Howard acknowledges these hurdles — but sees them as opportunities for growth and differentiation.

“There is an increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion initiatives with Government agencies increasingly prioritizing diversity and inclusion in their contracting practices,” says Margarita Howard. “While many government agencies have always set some goals for awarding contracts to small businesses and women-owned businesses, this current trend could very well serve to create additional opportunities for women-owned businesses to compete for contracts. Any women-owned business would be wise to pay close attention to this trend and the opportunities that may grow out of it.”

She suggests that women interested in government contracting visit the SBA’s women-owned business resource site to review the various resources and programs available to women entrepreneurs.

“Understanding the government’s procurement process is also very important,” Margarita Howard adds. “You should familiarize yourself with all aspects of the government procurement process, including relevant regulations, procedures, and contract types.”

“This is essential to understanding how contracts are awarded and managed, and it will help you navigate the process more effectively when the business gets up and running.”

She continues, “A new WOSB must also always ensure that it’s in compliance with all legal, regulatory, and ethical requirements throughout the entire contract life cycle process, from proposal to close-out, and always maintain integrity and professionalism in all interactions with government agencies and teaming partners.”

According to Howard, “One should constantly be researching new opportunities, with a particular focus on contracts aligned with your capabilities, experience, and business goals. One should regularly monitor government contracting websites, databases, and industry publications to identify relevant opportunities that the company can pursue. As a new WOSB, in your proposals, you need to differentiate yourself from more established government contractors by clearly articulating the company’s unique strengths and capabilities.”

Howard advises companies to highlight how their services can address the government’s needs and add value to their mission in a way no other company can. “You also need to emphasize quality, reliability, and performance in your proposals and project execution. Building a track record of successful contract performance enhances your credibility and your competitiveness,” says Margarita Howard.

HX5 Path to Success

The company has navigated the industry with agility and resilience. As a WOSB, HX5 stands as a testament to the capabilities and potential of women in leadership roles within the government contracting sector. Howard’s success in building and leading the firm inspires and serves as a blueprint for other women entrepreneurs looking to make their mark in this challenging but rewarding field.

A strategic investment in infrastructure and capabilities has been a cornerstone of HX5’s success. Early on, Howard recognized the importance of having systems and processes that could support the company’s growth and meet the stringent requirements of government contracts. This foresight led to investments in government-approved accounting systems and other critical infrastructure, positioning it as a reliable and capable partner for government agencies.

Margarita Howard’s approach to navigating the complex procurement system involves meticulously reviewing opportunities and adeptly crafting compelling bids. She understands the intricacies of solicitation documents and evaluation criteria, ensuring that HX5’s proposals are compliant and compelling narratives that showcase the company’s strengths and unique value proposition.

The government contracting sector is dynamic, with shifting priorities, emerging technologies, and evolving regulatory landscapes. Howard’s focus on continuous learning and staying abreast of industry trends has kept HX5 adaptive and responsive to these changes.

This forward-looking approach ensures that the company remains at the forefront of the industry, ready to embrace new opportunities and tackle emerging challenges. As the business continues to thrive under Margarita Howard’s leadership, it inspires the potential of WOSBs in the government contracting arena.

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