The business world is ever changing. To keep on top of the latest trends, it’s important for SMEs to have a resource bank of insider tips and knowledge. We have compiled a list of our top five business resource websites so you have a go-to list of sources to help inform your business practices.
- Bdaily Business Blog
Bdaily was founded in 2009 and provides timely news, advice and opinion content useful for SMEs. What’s good about Bdaily is that you can target news stories for specific regions in England: North East, North West, Yorkshire and London as well as national and international coverage.
If you’re looking for a range of advice for your small business or startup, or even if you’re just in the planning phase, gov.uk has a range of resources: advice on writing a business plan, financial planning and support, and links to the various schemes the government runs.
With a dedicated Q&A section maintained by small business experts, smallbussiness.co.uk is the hub for start-ups and SMEs looking for insider knowledge. The site covers the most important topics and advice for SMEs covering finance, business management and technology.
- Federation of Small Businesses
Established 40 years ago, the FSB provide a wide range of business services to their members. What makes them stand out is their legal edge: online you can access fact-sheets, legal documents and read their blog to get into the nitty gritty of regulations.
- Startup Britain
A ‘national campaign by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs’: Startup Britain offers inspiration, resources and guidance to help people start and grow their own business. Startup Britain have local support centres and run events which you can find via their interactive map online.
- Tenders Direct – Things to help you
For guidance specific to public sector tendering, our ‘Things to help you’ section on Tenders Direct has guides, infographics and handy procurement links to help suppliers with their procurement exercises.
Unless you have been living under a railway bridge for the last 10 years, you will know that in 2010 the UK Government approved the plan to create High Speed 2 (HS2): a high speed railway from London to Manchester/Leeds.
Off the rails? Most definitely on. HS2 will shrink the travel time for many commuters and travellers between the cities in the Midlands and London, and for freight by improving lead times on deliveries, that in turn improves customer satisfaction (railtechnologymagazine.com).
HS2 will be one of the most ambitious projects undertaken in this country in recent years. The venture will create tens of thousands of jobs and generate billions of pounds worth of contract opportunities for suppliers in many fields. With 2026 the deadline date for HS2, what have we seen so far in terms of opportunities?
A tender has just been published looking for a supplier to provide them with 54 new high-speed trains along with maintenance, servicing and refurbishment for an initial 12-year period. This tender is worth £2.75 billion and has the option to be extended for the entire design life of the trains. Continue reading “High Speed 2 – A whole fleet of opportunities”
It’s Valentine’s Day. That time of year when people pay attention to the special connections they have in life and take a bit of time to celebrate them. Or maybe you are still looking for some special connections? Still searching for that one relationship with long term potential, stability and plenty of money…
Of course, here we’re talking about your business connections – specifically your connections with public sector buyers and tendering. With contract life spans of three years plus, 30 day payment terms and a high chance of you retaining a contract once you’ve won it once – what’s not to love? Continue reading “The tender matchmaker…”
The Public Sector is providing more and more contracts for Construction sector suppliers. Although times were tough for the industry following the recession, things have rebounded and opportunities have never looked better for suppliers and contractors working with the Public Sector. The future looks brighter still with this sector having a projected average growth of 2.6% from 2015-18.
Certain sub-sectors of construction have had significant increases over the past year. A 12% increase in road related tenders, 8% increase in new build tenders, 25% increase in architecture/design team tenders and the biggest increase is in the renewable energy sector (areas like solar power, wind power and geothermal) of around 35%.
With the High Speed 2 project, floods defence work, major road schemes across the UK, along with affordable housing and other projects it’s no surprise that things have rebounded in this sector.
Millstream has created an infographic on this to highlight the key facts and you can view this here: Construction Infographic
More than 4,000 private sector companies use Tenders Direct to find new business opportunities, of those over 950 are construction businesses, accounting for around 22% of the customer base. Tenders Direct work with thousands of public sector organisations in the UK, Ireland and Norway to publicise their contracts, allowing direct access to contracts that many are unaware of. The dedicated research team solely identify contracts and include them within the Tenders Direct database – many of these are smaller contracts that would not be published by the Official Journal (OJEU) or on any other central resource.
The Tenders Direct team, also manually categorise all tenders to ensure that only highly relevant opportunities are provided and therefore personalised to individual preferences and areas of specialism and are sent to subscribers every day.
To find out how Millstream can help you find opportunities in public sector construction, call 0800 270 0249 or visit www.millstream.eu
Alone with his thoughts in the dank cellar below the House of Lords, Guy Fawkes imagined the display of pageantry that would occur above him when King James I arrived later that day for the State Opening of Parliament. This war veteran from Yorkshire, however, had a very different spectacle in mind: the detonation of 36 barrels of gunpowder directly beneath the King’s feet. With James dead, Fawkes and his fellow conspirators hoped to instigate a popular uprising and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. He just had to remain undiscovered for a few more hours…
A noise… his heart skipped a beat. Footsteps!
It’s fascinating to think that the actions of a few individuals in the distant past can continue to influence our lives centuries later. In his moments of introspection in the cellar, Guy Fawkes probably didn’t imagine that his effigy would be burned as part of a widely recognised annual cultural event over four hundred years after his death; he surely wouldn’t have had the remotest idea that an extensive publicly funded supply chain would be required to make it happen!
Continue reading “Remember Remember Your Tenders in November!”
The most common question that we get from Tenders Direct customers is: ‘What rights do we have once we put in a bid?’
The answer to that is dependent on what stage of the process the supplier is at and the rights for both stages are listed below:
For the PQQ:
Questions should only be asked of your company and not your potential solution (It should be about selection of suppliers and not an evaluation of your product).
Buyers have a legal requirement to notify candidates eliminated at the PQQ stage “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
Continue reading “Your Rights as a Supplier”
Following on from our recent blog regarding the changes to the PQQ stage in the new 2015 Procurement Regulations we are going to look at what has changed at the ITT stage and what suppliers need to be aware of when tendering to the public sector.
The most important changes to the ITT stage for suppliers are:
1) There is now greater clarity regarding the rules on social and environmental aspects being taken into account in tenders meaning that:
- social aspects can now also be taken into account in certain circumstances (in addition to environmental aspects which have previously been allowed);
- contracting authorities can require certification/labels or other equivalent evidence of social/environmental characteristics, further facilitating procurement of contracts with social/environmental objectives;
- contracting authorities can refer to factors directly linked to the production process.
The caveat to this is that any factors taken into account must be reasonably achievable for all suppliers so as not to favour larger companies or specific methodologies. We would encourage suppliers to keep a check on your key buyers to see what policies they have in these areas and how they are likely to implement these new rules. For example do they have a big drive on apprenticeships or carbon emissions you could support them on? In general it would be a good idea to start gathering data, case studies and evidence of your company’s positive social and environmental impacts to use in your responses going forward as the level of detail asked for in these questions is only going to increase.
2) Full life-cycle costing can be taken into account when awarding contracts; this could encourage more sustainable and/or better value procurement which will hopefully save money for tax payers in the long term. Continue reading “2015 Procurement Regulations – Changes to the ITT stage – What Suppliers Need to Know.”
For many organisations, but particularly SMEs, public sector tendering opportunities are an important way of securing new business, with hundreds of local contracts in every industry published every week.
The key to winning public sector tenders lies in knowing where to find the best information, choosing the appropriate contract size and building good relationships, according to Aberdeen-based electronic tendering provider Millstream.
“A number of European governments and public authorities now handle procurement electronically in order to save money and time and to comply with the latest EU legislation so there are literally thousands of opportunities out there,” said managing director Tim Williams.
Tim Williams, MD at Millstream Associates
Continue reading “Millstream offers key to SME success in securing public sector tenders”
For many organisations, particularly SMEs, public sector tendering opportunities are an important way of securing new business, with hundreds of local contracts published every week in every sector from cleaning and office supplies to security and major construction projects.
Nearly all local authorities, NHS trusts and government departments now handle procurement electronically to save money and time and ensure compliance with the latest contracts regulations.
It is therefore vital for businesses to ensure they have their finger on the pulse and do not miss out on any potential opportunities in their own local area, throughout the UK or mainland Europe, says Tim Williams, managing director of electronic tendering specialist Millstream, which runs the Tenders Direct and myTenders websites.
“The days of the printed version of the Official Journal of European Union are long gone and there is no effective way to keep track of all the opportunities without using an online system, particularly in today’s fast-paced world of business.
“Procurement processes will all be conducted entirely online in the near future and the Government’s target is for procurement to be completely electronic by 2016, so it’s vital that companies make sure they don’t miss anything. Continue reading “Be in it to win it, Millstream advises companies looking for public sector work”
Sitting in a university library in the early 1990s, trawling through a copy of the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in search of potential business, Tim Williams realised the information on tender opportunities was valuable not only to his own company, but to thousands of others.
Having turned his back on his plans to become a natural history filmmaker in favour of a global career as a diver and then project manager in the 80s oil boom, Tim set up Millstream, now a leading electronic tendering specialist which runs myTenders and Tenders Direct.
Tim Williams, MD at Millstream Associates
Continue reading “Tendering expert fuels new business wins”