When the economy is good, companies aren’t always looking ahead to the slow times and new ways to diversify.
But they should be.
One way to diversify is through government contracting.
The Susquehanna Economic Development Association Council of Governments, or SEDA-COG, has a procurement technical assistance center, or PTAC, that covers an 18-county service area.
The center aids companies in either entering the government marketplace — which could be local, state, federal or international — or expanding current market share. With the exception of bid-matching searches, most services are free.
SEDA-COG’s counties include Adams, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Union and York.
The Southeast Pennsylvania PTACs, which operate through the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, serve a 10-county region that includes Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and York counties.
Within that network is the Kutztown University SBDC. Its local offices are in Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties.
Robert Brown, director of the SEDA-COG PTAC, was one of the speakers last week at a Harrisburg event held by World Trade Center Harrisburg.
“There is a long-term approach to this,” Brown told me of government contracting. It often takes a year or two to land your first contract.
You want to register as a vendor and get into the pipeline to compete for projects or to provide goods and services to prime and subcontractors when economic conditions are good, he said.
SEDA-COG currently works with about 300 clients. A lot come from Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties, Brown said.
With a lot of attention being paid to infrastructure funding, both in Pennsylvania and across the country, there are a lot of opportunities to compete for road and bridge contracts, he said.
Health care and cybersecurity continue to be strong areas as well.
But the government buys pretty much everything and anything, so you never know what procurement opportunities might arise, Brown said.
It pays to register at all levels just in case. You never know what government contract might come along to take your business national.
The PTACs can make it easy for you. And bid-matching services are fairly inexpensive. One hit and it pays for itself multiple times.
“We try to help you find that niche,” Brown said.
Have you found your government niche? I’d be curious to know how things are working out for your business.
And if it’s export opportunities you seek, I’d reach out to the WTC to make those connections.