Organising Files for Tenders

Organising files for tenders remains a critical part of the success of your response. Time spent finding or updating the document storage area increases the pressure of key team members.

Preparation saves time
Flat lay of business concept

Organising Files – Selection Questionnaires

The basic selection questionnaire has a benchmark document, therefore, this enables the team to create a structure for folders and the files to include.

The UK Government set the Standard Selection Questionnaire in 2016 as the UK voted to leave the EU. Adopting parts common to the EU standard and the World Trade Organisation the UK Government guaranteed a common approach to procurement and tender writing.

The four sections of the Standard Selection Questionnaire are listed as:

  • Guidance on the selection stage process.
  • Standard Selection Questionnaire Template.
  • Exclusion Grounds.
  • Frequently Asked Questions.

Organising Part 1 and 2 of the Standard Selection Questionnaire

Create a Folder in your shared drive, labelled: Part 1 – Supplier Information

Then include the following information:

  • Full Legal Business Name – therefore, attach a copy of Certification of Registration
  • Full postal address of the Registered Office – check Companies House information
  • The company website – therefore, attach a copy of the registration of Domain and give the file and expiry date
  • For Limited Companies the Dun and Bradstreet Number – referred to as DUNS Number (free look up service)
  • Value Added Tax details – therefore, attach the VAT registration file to the folder
  • Professional Registrations – certain industries require the practitioners are registered or licensed
  • Using the People Tab on Companies House information – create a copy of the Persons of Significant Control
  • All group details if required
  • For those bidding as a group or with subcontractors – create a new folder
    • enter the same details as above with the same evidence.
    • All agreements between the partners
    • the legal structure and the signed agreement to co-operate/collaborate
    • Include a full list of subcontractors and create folder for each
  • Full contact details for the person authorizing the tender response

Part 2: Grounds for Exclusion

We recommend a safe practice for those working with a large board of directors and a large senior management team. Each year circulate a copy of the Grounds for Exclusion (Mandatory and Discretionary) sections. Create a declaration of compliance with nothing to declare, or summary of information required for self cleaning statements (bankruptcy and insolvency are common points missed). Therefore, at the start of every new accounting year for the business you retain a signed declaration (this also acts as a protection to the other directors and management team).

Consequently this is required for every tender, therefore, ensure everyone reads and signs a copy.

Where appropriate create a Conflict of Interest register, this ensures that only those qualified to manage the contract are involved with the Tender Response. One mistake or inaccuracy is costly.

Part 3: Selection Questions – Economic and Financial Standing

There are 2 questions for this section and so many struggle with this because the financial standing of the business seems very personal. Therefore, the way to manage this information requires a little planning, for example, if the business doesn’t have 2 years accounts then decide what evidence you are going to use and get it together at the start of the year.

  • Cash flow forecast
  • Letter of credit
  • Bank account evidence
  • Credit history
  • Current Profit and loss statements – projected and actual to date.

Explicitly demonstrate that the financial structure of the business is stable, consequently if you need to provide evidence of investment encourage the shareholders, directors or group members to provide the necessary warranties and guarantees it is in place.

Technical and Professional Ability

Contracts, customers, and credibility, this section is designed to ensure that the business has the capacity and technical ability to deliver the works.

Let the contacts know that you are going to use their details and ensure they know what you are competing for. An example, of the perils of not informing the contacts happened when as a buyer we rang one of the businesses listed by a company bidding for specialist construction work.

Evidently, the contact explained that the service the company provided did not meet the criteria. Also, to rub salt in the wound they informed us the directors had decided never to use the company again. Therefore this ill judged contact reference created more issues.

Keep a bank of contracts and references file them in Technical and Professional Ability.

Therefore, what should be in the rest of this section? I’ll keep that for another day.

Using Office 365 SharePoint ensures that the documents are fully controlled and well managed.

To set you business up with the Standard Selection Questionnaire document management system call us or contact the Team.

Also contact the team for policy templates and SSIP accreditation support suitable to your sector of interest.

Consequently the 30 years of competitive tendering that defines the support for business and ensures our clients Win More Tenders with MarkPTrotter.

To summarize working with MarkPTrotter ensures your business has everything ready for the next bid

Finding Opportunities

Focus on Growth

Public Sector Contracts – Finding Opportunities

Portals provide information on contract opportunities, valued at billions of pounds each year. This week for example 501 opportunities.

The sectors include:

123 opportunities with values over £1,000,000. Therefore, are Small and Medium Sized businesses growing into these contracts?

Repeating Opportunity Searches

It is strange how as a business with direct sales employees there is an expectation that contract sizes and complexity continue to grow. Contrast that with Public Sector Tender Opportunities, the experience repeats itself, the same contracts, same value and little difference in delivery.

Consequently there is a growing issue! Experienced Medium Sized Companies compete with micro and small businesses for the same market share. Failing to use the experience gain to fuel business development and growth.

Contract volume – the number of similar contracts is an indication of atrophy, both financial and development.

Create the Strategy

Develop the ratio approach. Every three small contracts generates interest in one new contract double the size. For example, three contracts valued at £75,000 pa amount to £225,000 turnover, therefore adding a new contract at £150,000pa is a reasonable step.

This method applies is the small contracts are £15,000 in annual value – the principle remains the same lay the trifold foundation and continue to grow.

Create Economies of Scale

Winning Contracts from the incumbent provider is easier than businesses realize because there is a failure to accept the need for reduced infrastructure costs. As each new contract is added the core costs necessarily reduce, however, businesses tend to leave the costs where they are. Pay attention to the detail.

The example that springs to mind linked to the HR costs of a cleaning company, the rate for the first 24 employees is fixed, from 25 to 100 again the rate is fixed. So the company paid £1,000 to the HR consults per month for the first 100 employees. However, the real cost of employees reduced as new staff were recruited. Therefore, the hourly rate failed to reflect that reduction.

Be clear with the bid or tender writing team on cost centres, consequently, these minor economies of scale win contracts, increase margins and keep the content fresh.


  1. Expand the knowledge of opportunities.
  2. Increase the value
  3. Find the economies of scale – every penny counts
  4. Keep opportunity selection at the heart of the business development strategy
  5. Grow with confidence


Public Tenders

Competitive Public Tenders cause so many headaches for business.

Experience in the EU demonstrated that UK Business had not prepared. Small Business took time to capture a real market share.

Now there is an opportunity to shape the Public Tenders for your business.

Competitive Public Tenders

The idea that special skills are required to secure contracts is a misstatement. Winning all competitive work is down to a combination of events. Therefore, prepare well, understand the competitive approach the buyer is looking for and ensure you have enough time.

What makes tenders competitive?

  1. Lean – ensure it doesn’t carry unnecessary content!
  2. Accuracy – state facts by all means but ensure they are correct!
  3. Compelling Content – style counts, winsome words win contracts!

How do you improve the chance of winning?

  • Understand the competitive approach – know the buyers strategy
  • Prepare every response as though it is the first
  • Work at the content all of the time – add real value to a tender by improving and updating content
  • Never stop trying to improve on the last one – get your scores, especially when you win

Know when to Employ a specialist

Not every tender requires a bid writer or a writing team, for example why pay to get on to a framework if you were already success in a previous competition. Take the template and work with the formula.

Yes I’m a tender writing specialist but if you don’t require my support I will let you know. Paying £1,000 for something you can do the bulk of yourself is throwing away good money. So discuss the tender, chat for half an hour and work out what is really required.

Stay lean, remain agile and be competitive that ensures winning Public Tenders is never accidental or a surprise.

Call me or contact via email if you want more information or to join the next Workshop Public Tenders – Introduction to Winning

Business Compliance

New Business Compliance rules and standards for 2021. Therefore, the UK is now an independent trading nation.

UK Business wasn’t ready!

Employment Practice

New rules on working arrangements are now in force. These required action.

The rules focused on employment of economic migrants create new obligations. Every business needed to update policies, procedures and safe working practices.

March 2021, every week I read policies that fail a simple compliance test. Check your practice and policy against this UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers

Import and Export Compliance

Freedom of trade has been replaced by a simple process and documentation. Therefore, 12 months to prepare, businesses were still scrambling in January and February to regularize their position. Why?

Import and Export Licensing check compliance

Business Compliance Public Contracts

Business experience has taught me that companies only adjust and comply when it is absolutely necessary. Consequently, these time critical actions create mistakes and irregularities.

Therefore, Competitive Tendering is the litmus test of your business compliance.

The use of a Standard Selection Questionnaire and an opportunity specification creates the perfect measure of business compliance.

Mark P Trotter Consultancy provides the in depth review of policies, procedures and compliance at a fixed price. Understanding where your business is today improves the winning capacity tomorrow.

Contact the team, because we complete the check in 7 days and guidance steps are clearly detailed.

Win only to lose

Consequently, Winning the competition to lose during the due diligence checks is therefore, humiliating. Avoid the embarrassment, review, amend and compete.

Business is fun, learning to build in a competitive marketplace and then delivering the service is rewarding. However, “you’ve got to be in it to win it” the saying goes.

Mark P Trotter Consultancy support services has designed a range of new products for winning competitive tenders in 2021, throughout UK, EU and using the WTO rules. Contact us to access the products and training.

Successful Tenders

All Successful Tenders begin with a clear response plan. The Public Sector procurement activities demonstrate that small businesses are competitive.

Prepare to Win

Plan the Success Tender response

Learning lessons from other businesses creates a short cut to success. Therefore, here are three things clients do when they want to win.

  • Get to know the buyer
  • Pick the right opportunity
  • Research the background of the bid

Know the Buyer

This often comes across as strange, because there are clear rules about the procurement process. So “we can’t contact the buyer” is the logical response.

Getting the know the buyer is more than talking to them, look at previous tender opportunities, the companies who have been successful – ask “what do they have in common?”

The trend is there, so know where to look.

  • Review spending against the previous contract, often you find a clear indicator, do you require aggressive saving tools?
  • Read the policy documents that count.
  • Review minutes of Council Meetings on Strategy and Development
  • Learn to speak their language

Successful Tenders – Pick the right opportunity

Create the hit list of target clients, looking at their future contract spending plans and be patient.

Often businesses see the value and decide to go for the contract based on that alone. Two powerful tips:

  1. Create the contract boundary
  2. Be realistic about revenue

To mobilize a contract 5 miles away is easier than mobilizing 20 miles or 200 miles. Recognize from contract award to start date is short. Generally allow 4 weeks, set a 4 week bedding in and trouble shooting period and then 4 week evaluation of performance. Keep this simple!

If you turnover £50,000 a year who will award a £500,000 contract to you? It happens but you have to be clear on how the plan works. Safer to begin with 2 x £25,000, growth in turnover is doubled without the level of risk. Once the contracts are performing add 2 x £40,000 plus contracts. Within 18 months you’ll be winning £500,000 contracts. Have a realistic growth model.

Where can I find the right opportunities? Do I have to pay for the service? Two free sites for you to review a couple of times a week:

Sign up with the procurement portals and set your alerts properly. Cutting corners and bidding for everything will keep you busy, it makes successful tenders very challenging when looking at value for money.

Success Tenders – Research the background

Every Public Spending Review weighs the value for money in services that Government procure. Therefore, the Civil Service invest time and resource to present a clear rationale for the spend. That spending rationale responds to key themes in Government.

Right now if you want to be successful the cross cutting theme that creates interest remains “Protect the NHS”. Then look at Social Value and what it means to the department spending, what are they doing? Equality, inclusion, youth employment and education are constant messages that raise the evaluation scores.

Be bold and read everything about your prospective client because you are going to want to keep the contract for years.

Success Tenders – The Incumbent

Surprisingly easy to beat because preparation begins late for most incumbents. However, the opposite should be true. In another post I’ll explain how to beat an incumbent. Preparation for A successful tender rebid begins as soon as the mobilization process is complete and as the contract rolls on builds the additionality and added value for the next time you have to tender.

Sales Point

Successful Tenders begin with a structure, foundation and strong direction. Know the plan, share the plan and keep to the plan.

For winning to become a habit prepare for every bid as though it were the first.

Never lose sight of the objective – making money follows planning excellence.

To find out more contact us

Business Growth Tools

Focus on Growth

Three keys to Business Growth

Business Growth Tools and Market Development require continuous change, however, we all take comfort in familiarity. How can we balance comfort and growth in our business?

Every networking event attended, every marketing email sent, every penny invested in a website indicates that we want our business to be known, either we are buying or more often selling.

Therefore, we understand the basic principles, however, the real challenge is to achieve the right action which creates the opportunity.

Understanding Growth

Growth for growth’s sake is often a distraction, with bodies chasing everything and winning new business. The foundation of the business does expand, too wide and it strangles productive growth.

These 3 pointers are for those who want to understand when to choose No!

Progression Training

Old wood isn’t deadwood! There never comes a time when you need to stop investing in your team, no matter how experienced.

Consequently, design an annual training and events program that develops the skills and that challenge the individual.

Plan the progress you need them to make and spice it up with a little of what they want to learn.

To achieve the best result, know your staff and then know your marketplace. The cycle of change and progression is then embedded in the development of your business.

Creative Solutions

Don’t reinvent the wheel, or design a new feature. Gadgets and gizmos attract for a while the art of longevity in business focuses on understanding the developing needs of your marketplace.

Creative solutions need to save time, reduce stress and encourage activity. The critical element in developing a creative solution is listening beyond what is said. Ask questions that enable your market development.

Business Planning

Dynamic business planning acknowledges that your guiding document remains alive. The main purpose of a business plan can be to placate the bank or investors.

However, all that work and planning offers the core reasons for your business working. Treat it like actual cash flow when compared with projected income.

Be prepared to set goals for 8 years, 5 years and 3 years. Plot the journey and then decide the pace of travel. Your share of market growth remains dependent on the business infrastructure.

Borrowing too much too soon cripples small businesses. The solution is often in the people you know.

Mark P Trotter

We know our Business Growth Tools are effective because our challenges change with every new client, with every tender opportunity, with every crisis we are invited to resolve. Our experience shows us that planning, investment, and simplicity are at the heart of sustainable business growth.

Other Services

Bid and Tender Writing Services offer the following:

  1. Business Health Check
  2. Comprehensive Business Policy Review
  3. GDPR and Information Security support
  4. Strategic Planning and support, Bid v No Bid
  5. Bid and Tender writing
  6. Submission support and Document Reviews
  7. Templates and document management tools
  8. Training and Development
  9. Quality Improvement in Social Care
  10. Voluntary, Charity and Social Enterprise Governance

Specialists in Health and Social Care working in association with KKS Management Ltd

Social Care Tenders

It seems to be about the money

The Social Care Tender writing team has successfully supported more than 50 small and start-up care providers. Therefore, working with the experienced tender writers business owners are winning local care contracts.

Working With Us

The first step is to contact Kuljeet or Mark, via the link. We will contact you to arrange a personal call.

Our bespoke service ensures that your business receives the support required, this includes preparatory work for Care Quality Commission registration.

Social Care Focus

Our experienced team understands the meaning of person-centered Care; outcome measures and how to use this information when linked with the specification.

Often every contract looks good and the opportunity is a means of securing income when viewed at face value. However, understanding that to secure a place on the Dynamic Purchasing System is only the beginning.

The competitive mini-competitions require clear evidence, current data, and examples of competence. Therefore, working with our team ensures your business has the information in the right format.

Common Issues

The reality is often that we are competitively bidding at the council’s fixed rate. This is often below the market hourly charge.

The example that springs to mind, the National Care Association in the publication “2019 Social Care Briefing paper”, the authors noted that:

The result being that Local Authorities feel comfortable commissioning complex care at unrealistically low prices – a patient in an NHS facility with assessed care needs costs the state over £2000 p/w but on discharge the commissioner will expect to purchase the same care in more homely surrounding for about £600 per week. Clearly, there is a disconnect between what we pay for care!

This is reflected at a local level when the “real cost” is compared to the price paid.

Consequently, the expectation is that more Not for Profit providers will enter the marketplace. However, Not for Profits must at less remain ahead of the “breakeven point”. Therefore, every provider needs to know the real cost of their care package, consolidate local provision and adjust care packages to the local area. Our team enables you to create that flexibility.

Understanding the Cost of Care

Our experienced care sector project managers ensure the key measures that reduce overheads and unavoidable cost centres are applied.

Therefore, we examine work processes, the greatest efficiency in all service provision remains to “meet the need as it arises”. With the right systems, cost centre care management improves competitiveness.

However, this requires business discipline and a responsive approach.

A delays cost time and money, therefore, maximise your communication tools, understand how to ensure your client need to contact your team, armed with the up to date information the next visit is successful in meeting that need.

Effective communication tools add value to the offer and therefore, reduce the face to face time a client requires.

Access to assistive technologies is often understood to be the answer to prayer, however, access to additional community support is where the real added value occurs.

Our Offer to Social Care providers

About to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)? Contact

Planning to respond to Dynamic Purchasing System or contract opportunity? Contact

Seeking to win more mini-competitions? Contact

Our social care setup tools enable you to gather the right evidence, provide information on the level of experience and competence. This includes how to calculate your “real” hourly rate, project income based on knowledge of the sector funding and contracts. Our team of experienced project manager ensures you are ready to tender.

We ensure that you remain competitive and we will help you through the first tenders as part of the tender readiness process.

Win Contracts

To win the strategy is simple:

  • Preparation
  • Clarity
  • Cost sensitivity
  • Realistic plans
  • Let your work speak

The team is successful in working with start-up businesses and established care providers. Because, these business tools are designed to streamline the tender process, consequently simplifying contract arrangements and therefore, ensure competitiveness.

Contact Us