You’ve won plenty of contracts over the years and feel satisfied that you lead your industry. That may be the case, but change can come like a thief in the night. Ensure that you remain competitive by avoiding some common mistakes.

Resting on your laurels

Your products or services may not change much over the years, and if you’re winning contracts you may not feel the need to rethink your approach too radically.

The problem is, the competition is always lurking in the shadows. Upstart operators have been watching you with envious eyes, calculating how to edge you out when a new opportunity arises.

They’ve been gradually improving the quality and affordability of their offer, while the drive that won you your first contract may have dissipated. Have you become complacent?

Even the most successful operators can find themselves gradually edged out of a marketplace by more driven rivals if they lose the focus and urgency that facilitated their early success. All glory is fleeting; try to approach every bid as if you’re the underdog you once were.

Not adapting to change

Make sure you’re paying attention to developments in public procurement on a local and national level – tendering is not the same game as it was in previous decades. Purchasing organisations are always looking for leaner and smarter alternatives, and changes to legislation can shift the goalposts.

A prime example of this is the increasing prevalence of social value requirements in public contracts: suppliers will find that their existing sustainability actions are unlikely to be effective, as excelling in this regard can now be a significant requirement (see our recent blog on social value).

There is sometimes a perception that companies that are dominant in their industries need only continue along the same path. This is often the case in more static marketplaces, but believe it at your peril.

Sometimes an industry can change radically and catch businesses out – remember Blockbuster Video? You must make every effort to see change coming and be ready to adapt and overcome.

Assuming that one size fits all

If you’re an incumbent supplier on a soon to be re-tendered contract – and the buyer holds your services in high regard – you might assume that a slightly improved and updated rehash of your previous bid will be sufficient to retain your position.

This can be a dangerous game: as already noted, the needs of buyers can evolve substantially over time, and what was a winning strategy five years ago may be found to be lacking in a changed marketplace.

Everyone likes getting something a little more special than the standard “off the shelf” package, not least public sector buyers. With budgets perpetually under pressure, publicly funded organisations will always look for more added value and innovation relative to previous years.

Even if you’re pursuing a contract that is almost identical to another that you’ve won previously, failure to make your bid as bespoke and imaginative as possible puts you at a disadvantage. Unless you take a fresh look at each new prospect you may find yourself outmanoeuvred by more savvy competitors.

Tenders Direct provides a variety of full day training courses. View details of our upcoming dates in central London:

Getting to the ITT

Writing Compelling Bids

Advanced Bid Writing Skills

Questions? Leave a comment, call 0800 222 9009, or chat with us at www.tendersdirect.co.uk