Many technology firms who look to expand their markets look to the federal government, and for good reason. The federal government spent approximately $88.6 billion on IT procurement in 2016, which includes software, hardware, and services. While this is a massive amount of spend, and a lucrative and attractive target, it is expected to be relatively flat for the foreseeable future.
Of course, being a federal government contractor carries with it many obstacles and barriers to entry, especially for new startups that have a relatively innovative technological solution, and no previous federal government experience. Combined with the extensive regulatory and compliance hurdles, the federal government may not be such an attractive market after all.
So where do these firms turn? While the state, local, and education (SLED) government does not have the spend like the feds, nonetheless it is an attractive market with fewer barriers to entry. In 2014, state and local governments in the US spent $32.9 billion on IT in 2014, and those numbers continue to grow.
Selling to state and local government today is difficult, due to the lack of transparency as compared to the federal government. Regretfully, SLED government does not have the equivalent of a federal procurement data system or FedBizOps, which show listings of awarded and un-awarded government contracts, or tools like GSA Advantage to make it easier to showcase your goods and services.
But there are solutions. Many new vendors on the market offer affordable solutions for SLED government business intelligence, combined with information from the local Chamber of Commerce, and other local business advocacy entities.
Given the difficulties that federal sales impose for new firms, SLED government is a viable and thriving opportunity for government sales, expanded markets, and more stable income sources for your firm’s technology products and services.