Let’s start with this essential piece of advice:
Do not make the mistake of going after every tender!
It can be appealing to start off on this footing when you see a flood of tender notices coming through, all of which apparently match your business area. But are you remembering how high bidding costs can be and have you really thought about your chances of winning? Companies who bid for everything are not normally the most successful. Bidding on the wrong contract can be a waste of resources if you have no chance of winning so you need to think about things a bit more strategically and start targeting specific opportunities to make the most of your time and resources. Don’t just enter to make up the numbers.
It could be very easy to end up in a muddle when following this approach. If you win the wrong contract it may tie you up or distract you to such an extent that it prevents you winning more lucrative contracts. Even worse, you may not be able to fulfil the contract satisfactorily which will damage your reputation with that client, other potential clients and may incur financial penalties.
However, there is a delicate balance to be achieved. Failing to bid on a contract may mean missing opportunities to grow turnover, profits, market share or achieve a strategic position in the market. It may also provide a golden opportunity to your competitors.
Here are a few initial things to think about before you dive in and start bidding for everything:
Track Record – Ah yes, that old catch 22 situation. How do you establish a track record if you can’t get your first contract? You could start by going for lower value opportunities or subcontracting opportunities. This is quite a good way to make yourselves known to clients and start building relationships.
Client Relationship – Don’t shy away from developing relationships with public sector purchasers. It’s easy to see this as mission impossible but more and more purchasers are interested in establishing a dialogue with suppliers through informal meetings, meet the buyer events and networking at exhibitions and conferences. Making yourself known to purchasers is a good way to put you on their radar.
The Competition– Your chances of winning are significantly affected by the competition so you should never have them far from your thoughts in a competitive bidding situation. If you are 1 in 3 you have a much greater chance of winning, provided you put in a credible bid, than if you are 1 in 20. If you are lucky enough to have the choice, concentrate on tenders where you have a limited number of competitors.
There is plenty more to come on this topic. In the meantime, leave us your own thoughts…