Margarita Howard’s Strategy: Keeping HX5 Ahead in Government Contracting Trends

Margarita Howard’s Strategy: Keeping HX5 Ahead in Government Contracting Trends

Staying ahead of the curve is paramount in government contracting. Margarita Howard, CEO of HX5, has proven adept at navigating the complexities of the landscape. Through strategic foresight and a deep understanding of industry trends, Howard has positioned HX5 as a leader in the field.

Understanding Howard’s strategy requires a grasp of the current state of government contracting. In December 2023, President Joe Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2024 into law. This legislation contains measures aimed at streamlining the procurement process of goods and services by the U.S. Department of Defense, bolstering the defense supply chain, enhancing national security, and promoting using artificial intelligence for advanced data analysis.

HX5 services government agencies, particularly in the defense and security sectors. It plays a significant role in fulfilling government contracts in various areas such as technology, aerospace, logistics, and engineering. The firm contributes to the defense supply chain by offering specialized expertise and capabilities. For middle-market defense contractors, it’s crucial to comprehend the shifts occurring in the DOD’s procurement landscape and to align their strategies with evolving defense priorities. A clear understanding of how the government procures its services or products is essential for contractors to secure contracts efficiently and expedite the procurement process.

The sector is inherently complex, with shifting regulations, emerging technologies, and evolving geopolitical dynamics. Howard emphasizes the importance of agility in this environment. “The government procurement processes are often lengthy and change, which can lead to delays in contract awards and payments.

“We learned this very early on and had to quickly develop realistic timelines and budget projections and establish contingency plans to manage cash flow and other operational challenges during what ended up often being extended procurement periods,” she says.

Businesses must invest in educating themselves about these regulations and ensure strict adherence to them. Howard notes, “It’s important that a company’s records are impeccable when working with the government due to the compliance reporting and audits that companies have to agree to in order to perform on government contracts.”

One of the cornerstones of Howard’s strategy is a commitment to innovation. “Understanding the bid requirements allows you to evaluate the staffing levels and financial resources that may be required to complete the proposal (bid) successfully,” says Margarita Howard. “We must consider factors such as the proposal’s complexity, timeline, technology requirements, and any specialized skills that may be needed to complete the proposal.”

Howard continues, “From there, we identify the team members to be assigned to the effort based on skill sets, knowledge, availability, etc., and then outline their respective roles and responsibilities. We ensure the team members identified for the proposal team have the necessary expertise and experience to be successful in their role supporting the proposal.

“In conjunction with identifying the staffing needs, we define a budget that accounts for all expected proposal costs, including personnel costs and any other costs for other things that may be needed for the particular proposal, such as special equipment, materials, travel, consultants, etc. We try to ensure the budget is realistic, but it always must allow for potential contingencies and unforeseen expenses.”

By investing in cutting-edge technologies and fostering a culture of creativity, HX5 remains at the forefront of industry advancements.


HX5: Adapting to Change

In the competitive industry, adaptability is critical. Howard understands this implicitly and has structured HX5 to be flexible and responsive to market shifts. There has been a huge and recent trend in the government allowing for a lot of the work traditionally performed onsite to be done via remote work arrangements and virtual collaboration.

The shift toward remote work and virtual collaboration, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is heavily influencing how government contracts are being performed, and women-owned businesses that develop the skill sets and infrastructure to effectively deliver services remotely may have a competitive advantage in the very near future, says Margarita Howard.

“Additionally, many companies are now starting to participate in the voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements, and being able to show that a company is taking proactive steps to be more environmentally conscious can have a real impact in setting the company apart from others who are not.”

Howard continues, “As a women-owned business, HX5 recognizes that these trends and others present both opportunities and risks. Each trend is monitored closely, and the company attempts to adjust its strategies and operations to best accommodate and adapt to the various effects each of these trends presents.”

Collaboration is another critical component of Howard’s strategy. Recognizing that no enterprise operates in isolation, she has forged strategic partnerships with other firms in the industry. These alliances enable HX5 to leverage complementary strengths and access new markets.

Howard says, “We try to continuously assess our performance, refine our strategies, and invest in professional development education so our employees are able to always stay ahead in performance.”

Margarita Howard’s Advice for Emerging Women Entrepreneurs

Howard advises women entrepreneurs aspiring to enter government contracting to get officially certified as a women-owned small business. This certification opens up additional resources and contract opportunities for women-led companies.

“Understanding the government’s procurement process is also very important,” says Margarita Howard. She advises anyone interested to “familiarize yourself with all aspects of the government procurement process, including relevant regulations, procedures, and contract types, as this is essential to understanding how contracts are awarded and managed and that will help you navigate the process more effectively when the business gets up and running.”

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

“As a new WOSB, you need to differentiate yourself from more established government contractors in your proposals by clearly articulating the company’s unique strengths and capabilities. You have to actively highlight how your services can address the government’s needs and add value to their mission in a way that 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.

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