“SDVOB’s Struggling to Gain Traction”
by Ken Smith
I recently interviewed Jim Hawkins, Army Veteran and owner of RedHawkIT located in Woodbridge, Virginia. This “SDVOB” or Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business” is an example that other Service Disabled Veteran Business Owners nationwide should follow. What makes this SDVOB so interesting is that sales (total sales) have increased quarter after quarter, year after year, due mostly to the fact that Jim Hawkins is a man on a mission.
SDVOB’s are struggling to gain traction with Procurement officers is one of the most common statements that owners of SDVOB’s share with me. GSA and their staff are the good guys say SDVOB’s and non GSA Procurement officers are mostly taking the path of least resistance and sticking to the vendors that they have used for years. Let me explain.
When you sell your products or services to the government (City, State or Federal Agencies), you have to convince the procurement officer of that agency that your company has the skill sets and experience to deliver the products on time and on budget. Procurement officers are located all over the country and there are some very good ones and some very poor ones. The very good ones, ones who buy products or services from SDVOB’s are usually Veterans themselves and know that to support a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Company is the right thing to do.
What makes it so difficult for SDVOB’s to penetrate into goverement contract work is paperwork. I hear the owners of Veteran businesses tell me stories of staying up till after midnight to fill out reams of paperwork that is required just to get the chance to bid on the job. Not to get the job, to get the chance to “Bid” on the job. Something is not right with a system that makes it extreamly difficult to gain traction.
Congrress has ordered that SDVOB’s should rightfully have a “set-aside” when it comes to goverment contracts. Sounds good on paper. The reality is very much different.That is what makes RedHawkIT such a success story. Here is a little about this company:
“RedHawk IT is a Certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned and SBA Certified 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business. They maintain a unique position in today’s technology marketplace, with powerful consulting, implementation, procurement and maintenance capabilities in enterprise and small-business systems. Our proficiencies encompass a wide variety of technologies such as Enterprise Management, Storage, Networking, Server, Desktop, Mobile Systems, and other technology business productivity solutions. RedHawk IT professionals make the distinct requirements and the bottom line goals of each of our clients our highest priority. Their unsurpassed and proven commitment to quality and client satisfaction has earned them one of the highest rates of repeat business in the industry. Selecting RedHawk IT as your trusted technology business solutions advisor guarantees that you will receive quality service and achieve profitable and sustainable long-term results.
RedHawkIT has the following Certifications:
- CVE Certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)
- SBA Certified 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business
- Cisco Registered Partner
- Citrix Solution Advisor
- HP / Microsoft Frontline Partner
- Microsoft Silver Partner
- Symantec Certified Partner
You would think with all that IT horsepower the goverment would be knocking down the doors to give RedHawkIT contracts. The opposite is what happens. Not just to RedHawkIT, but to other SDVOB’s. That brings me to the agencies that are tasked with helping the “Jim Hawkins” type companies out there today. Where is the help from SBA-Vets? I know they have a program that will loan an SDVOB $35,000, but what I am being told is that most banks don’t honor that loan guarentee and its the old adage, “You can get the loan, only when you don’t need it”.