The question in front of some business owners is whether or not to become a governmental contractor. The answer, at least to Lisa Haggard of the Kansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center, is pretty easy. 

"It can give you sustainability and keep the lights on," Haggard said. "Business has peaks and valleys. You are out there looking for business, then find it. That is a peak. Then you are in fulfillment, and maybe not able to be out there seeking. There comes the valley."

The Kansas PTAC is headquartered at Wichita State University and offers services free of charge to area business. PTACs were created by congress in 1984 to assist businesses in government contracting endeavors. 

Haggard spoke at the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce's "Hot Topic" luncheon this week. 

"We just wanted to bring this to businesses as a possible revenue source," said Pam Stevens, director of the chamber. 

It can be a big revenue source. 

"They spend billions," Haggard said. "They set acquisition levels they have to meet each year."

The PTAC assists businesses with product evaluation and matching those products and services to government contract opportunities. While that sounds simple, it is anything but. 

Companies that have tried to get into the governmental contracting game have found the need for help — and in some cases paid others to do what PTAC does at no charge. Sometimes those paid companies offered no results. 

"It looks like a simple process, but it can be very complex," Haggard said. 

The key, she said, is patience. It can take hours to get qualified to become a contractor, and months to land a contract. 

For more information about PTAC, call (316) 268-4417.