Many managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) overlook a prospect with a huge budget and that consistently buys IT products and services year after year. The U.S. government. Consider these four statistics about U.S. government information technology spending:
- Fiscal year 2020 U.S. government technology spending is projected at $87.1 billion. The Department of Defense has the largest IT budget at $36.1 billion for 2020, followed by the Department of Homeland Security at $7.0 billion, the Department of Health and Human Services at $6.3 billion, and the Department of Veterans Affairs at $5.4 billion.
- The U.S. government plans to spend $17.4 billion on cybersecurity in 2020.
- With 48 percent of federal and state agencies using multiple cloud-based services, the U.S. government is considered to be the biggest cloud consumer.
- Federal contract spending has grown about 6 percent year over year from 2014 to 2018. The federal government has a goal of awarding 23 percent of contract work to small businesses.
Can you think of any other prospect that can come close to equaling that opportunity?
Resources to Help You Break into Government Contracting
But even though the potential is great, the process of selling IT solutions and services to government offices and agencies can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are a variety of programs and organizations that can help you enter and find success in the government market. Here are six resources that can provide you with the information and guidance you need:
1. The Small Business Administration (SBA) All Small Mentor-Protégé Program
The SBA All Small program matches small businesses new to government contracting with experienced contractors. Mentors can provide businesses new to the space with guidance on accounting, marketing, and planning as well as assistance with bidding, acquisition and performance processes. Mentors can also provide general assistance, such as human resource sharing or security clearance support. The SBA offers a course to help you determine if your business is a good fit for the All Small program.
2. The Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program
This program is designed to help small businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged people compete for government contracts. The program provides business training, marketing assistance, and executive development and offers the services of specialists who can help eligible businesses through the federal contracting process. Participants can form joint ventures through the SBA mentor-protégé program.
3. SBA Courses, Videos and Events
The SBA offers a variety of educational resources. The association offers a 30-minute online course that explains the contract process and how to prepare a proposal. You can also access videos about the SBA’s HUBZone program or how to sell to the government. Additionally, the SBA holds events that provide information on government contracting for both prime contractors and subcontractors.
The USA.gov website has a page devoted to helping businesses prepare to become federal contractors. It provides links to websites where you can find business opportunities and offers an 8-step process for preparing your business for federal contracting. You’ll also find guidance for how to bid and a link you can use to chat with USA.gov to find answers to your questions.
5. GSA Training Programs
The General Services Administration (GSA) offers workshops, conferences and seminars throughout the country and online to help businesses get on the GSA schedule and to market themselves successfully. The GSA also offers resources specifically for small businesses.
FedBizOpps.gov is transitioning to beta SAM.gov in fall 2019. This website provides links to acquisition policy, regulation and compliance information that you will need as a federal contractor.
The More You Know
Take time to study the opportunity to sell IT solutions and services to the federal government and the resources that are available to help your VAR or MSP business succeed. These facts will help you make an informed decision about whether to focus time and resources on entering this vertical.