Picture this: you’re a member of the management team at a business that is doing fine, but has the potential to do lots better, if only you had the funds to support growth. You want to take on more work and expand the business. But how exactly do you do that when networking events are still on hold?
One way to secure more work is through bidding for public contracts (e.g. work with the NHS, schools, housing etc.) Not only can this work come with a great financial reward, it also gives you a huge amount of credibility. But how do you even begin?
The trick is to do your research. Below we’ve rounded up 4 tips to get you started.
1. Know where to look for tenders
Half the battle of bringing more work in is knowing where to find the opportunities in the first place. There have been some very recent changes to platforms in the UK in 2021, most notably the introduction of Find a Tender Service (FTS). This is a free service working in the same way as OJEU and TED, which are procurement portals used by members of the EU. Now that the UK has left the EU, FTS will be its replacement moving forward.
It is also worth looking into Thornton & Lowe’s Tender Pipeline Software. This allows you to track upcoming bids before they go public, information about networking and buyer events, relevant stories in the news and more. If you know about bids before they even go public, you’re in a great position already and can prepare in advance.
2. Make a bid/no bid decision
While looking at these portals and pieces of software, it can be easy to get excited and think you can secure lots of new work at once. In reality, this just isn’t the case. Not every project is right for your business, and you may not even be able to meet the tendering organisation’s requirements anyway.
Focus on tenders that are aligned with the business objectives that you know for certain you can deliver. This saves a lot of time and energy and the embarrassment of being chosen for the work but ultimately under-delivering.
3. Research everything about the client
Research is absolutely essential. Find out who the client is, what they do, their values and who has delivered work for them previously. This can tell you a lot about the sort of ‘win themes’ you should include and how you can prove to them that you can help them to achieve their goals. Your aim, essentially, is to provide them with a solution to their problems.
4. Consider your competitors
Unfortunately, there is no way to be certain of who else is going to bid for the same work, but you can take an educated guess as you will already be aware of competitors in your industry. What can you offer the tendering organisation that they can’t? Equally, how can you compensate for their USP too? Make note of these and think about how you can express this in the bid.
Once your research is complete, it’s time to plan and write the bid. Read more about the tender process stages in this guide from Thornton & Lowe.
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