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?
Lean – ensure it doesn’t carry unnecessary content!
Accuracy – state facts by all means but ensure they are correct!
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
All Successful Tenders begin with a clear response plan. The Public Sector procurement activities demonstrate that small businesses are competitive.
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:
Create the contract boundary
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Preparation! Winning Tender Writers build a foundation for successful bidding. Therefore, the preparation time is critical.
“O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!”
This is the gift described by Robert Burns and business owners can do something about what the Buyer sees.
Although, the public image isn’t the first step in the due diligence process our public reputation can pose a problem.
An example: A Care Provider presents evidence in their bid document that states they respond to and resolve every complaint.
Based on the information they have presented it would appear correct and complete.
However, the local care providers database has a clear complaint about the service, it has been read frequently. The Care Provider has ignored the complaint. Therefore, public evidence contradicts the bid.
As a buyer reviewing your evidence would I be confident that the information presented was accurate?
Consequently when preparing to bid set aside some time to review your public profile. Always do something about outstanding criticism.
All of us have encountered academically skilled individuals, however, they lack competence at point of delivery.
On paper, the qualification looked right, in practice, there was still a distance to be traveled.
Therefore, our evidence needs to be gathered over time and from a variety of independent sources. Focusing on Care Providers, one round of surveys provide a snapshot. However, effective preparation ensures access to a wider data set.
Winning Tender Writers know how to present the evidence “what you do”, “why you do it”, “what your existing clients think”. The evidence comes from your customers.
Preparation Never Ends
The key to winning tender writing is constant preparation. Gathering, collating, and presenting evidence of competence of service is never rushed.
The team at Mark P Trotter focuses on ensuring that your business is tender ready.
The document review is a simple step but important. (I’ll explain why in another blog”) Public profile, again straightforward enough. Evidence of what you do is relatively easy.
However, combine and present that information for Winning Tenders and the challenge has changed.