Many inexperienced bid managers make the mistake of starting the tender process before doing a thorough review of the tender documents – even if the tender sounds like it was written specifically for their business. Do not make this mistake!  
Always start your tender process with a Go / No Go assessment. 
Without proper preparation, you could discover that you are unable to complete the tender in time, you cannot fully deliver the requirements, or face some other impassable obstacle.  

Your Go/No Go assessment 

The Go/No Go assessment is a series of questions you can use to determine if a tender is worth pursuing or not. It will force you to carefully review the tender documents, and ensure you are ready to start planning your bid.  
Your assessment should allow you to answer the question ‘Can we win this tender?’ 
With experience, you can build a more relevant and comprehensive list of questions, but to get you started, here is a basic template: 

Does this tender align with your business strategy? YN
Based on reputation or experience, do you want to work with this particular customer?  
Would you still have enough resources for other upcoming opportunities & accounts?  
Is it worth assigning resources to bid for and deliver this contract?   
Do you have a realistic chance of winning the contract? YN
Do you have an existing, positive relationship with the buyer and / or decision maker?
Can you offer a suitable and affordable solution?
Do you expect a lot of competition?
Does the competition have a better chance of winning the work?
Do you have the resources and experience to create a compelling bid?  
Can you deliver what you promise? YN
Do you have the resources to deliver the requirements?
Can you get the resources to deliver the requirements?
Do you have experience in delivering this type of service?
Can you deliver to agreed standards and proposed budget, while still making a profit?

Market preparation 

If you are new to the public sector market or are preparing a tender for the first time, then there are additional assessments you should make before bidding on public contracts.  

Do you have industry relevant accreditations and qualifications? 

By looking through historical or current tenders in your field, you can discover what accreditations and qualifications are often requested. If there are standards that you have not met, you should address these before fully committing time and effort.  
Do your research, learn how to meet these standards, see if there is leeway for alternatives, and check if they make sense for your business. 

Can you reference and demonstrate your ability to deliver similar projects?

Ideally, you would want to be able to provide references of projects within the public sector of similar scope and size, but comparable privately delivered projects will serve as suitable references. You may also wish to highlight individuals within your business who have public sector experience and will be involved with project delivery. 
The public sector uses public funds for projects, and experience helps ensure they spend money with suitable suppliers. If you lack experience, you could consider joining frameworks for the provision of smaller requirements.  

Can you provide 2-3 years of audited accounts? 

Most tenders require companies to provide 2-3 years of accounts to show the sustainability of well-established businesses – a risk reducing measure for buyers. If this cannot be produced, you need to find an alternative way of proving you are viable and do not pose a financial risk to the buyer. Please be aware this is not always the case, if there is little competition or the scope is small – it might not be necessary.  
If you find you do not have enough trading history, either work on building a private portfolio first or look at subcontracting for larger contract winners. 

Next steps 

Once you have decided that a contract is worth bidding for, it is time to start planning and writing your proposal. We have a few articles you should refer to for the next stages. 
The 9 Step tender Writing process – details every step, from Go/No GO assessment to Submission, and gives you a clear idea of what is expected at every stage. 
Planning Your Winning Tender Submission – offers you a guide for the planning stage, with details of what you should consider and include. 
How public sector tenders are evaluated – provides you with an understanding of how your proposals will be scored.

Our team would be happy to offer you some support with a FREE 30 minute bid support call. We can assess your overall tender readiness or discuss your go/no-go process, and give you the confidence needed to start winning work with the public sector. 

We can help you grow your sales pipeline by offering you quick and easy access to public sector contracts, while also providing you with the tools & support needed to succeed. Our trial gives you full access to our tender sourcing and bid management services.

Tenders Direct is the UK’s most accurate tender alert service.
We are the only provider to guarantee that with us – you’ll never miss a tender.

For more information about how we can help you find and win more work in the public sector, please visit or call us on 0800 222 9009

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