With its wildly different culture, risk adversity, rigid processes and sometimes outright incompetence, is it any wonder that so many suppliers are put off working with the public sector? Probably not.
So, you should just forget it right? Getting into the public sector market will involve hard work and perseverance. You will have to spend a bit of time understanding the public sector procurement processes and pick up some new skills. You will more than likely face frustrations along the way, you might even have to change some of your preconceptions about this elusive market. Sometimes it’ll seem like it’s just not worth the hassle so you don’t bother pursuing it.
But could it be worth a second look? Is it worth getting your company geared up to do business with the public sector? If you supply a product or service that the public sector demands then here are a few things to inform your decision:
– The UK public procurement market is worth over £175 billion a year;
– Public sector organisations are not going to go out of business any time soon, this means a level of security and certainty that you won’t get with a lot of private sector organisations;
– Public sector clients tend to make prompt payments;
– There’s a high chance of repeat contracts;
– Processes are (largely) open, transparent and fair.
Now, if you’ve had a negative experience with a public sector buying organisation, you might well disagree with this last point. However, the first thing you need to remember is that no two public sector purchasers are the same. This can be a difficult thing to get a handle on to start with. On opposite sides of the spectrum you could have one organisation keen on innovation, communication and strategic partnerships and another still firmly operating in the master and servant mindset. It is up to you to do some digging, find out what’s what, then decide which organisations you want to work with. Tricky, but worth it perhaps?