Part of the art of tendering is choosing the right opportunities for your company. The tendering process is used with the buyer in mind and not the supplier. You need to make sure that you have the following in place and you also need to be confident that you can win the tender. Your confidence needs to be based on reality which is backed up by your documentation and writing a compeling case with the buyer in mind.
Is my company big enough?
- Buyers will be checking that the tender contract value does not exceed 20-30% of the tendering company’s turnover (NB this is a guide, not a rule)
- This is because the buyer wants to be sure the contract value will not be too much for the company to handle
- The size of your company dictates the maximum size of contract it is likely to win
Can my company meet the buyer’s needs?
- You may look at a contract and think that your company can do most of the work but if there are areas that it cannot manage, your chances of qualifying or winning can be seriously reduced
- This may be in terms of specification, geographical location/coverage, mandatory accreditations etc
Can I show relevant experience?
- Buyers like to see that suppliers can prove they can do the job, therefore references from similar organisations for similar work are ideal
- If you haven’t got these, you will need to show you have ‘transferable skills’ from customers with similar needs
- If the work you are bidding for is not a ‘core competence’ (ie it represents only a small element of your company’s overall turnover) it can reduce your chances of success
Has my company got sufficient trading history?
- As shown in the above Tender Documents Checklist, public sector buyers generally ask for audited accounts for the last 3 years (sometimes 2 years is enough)
- This means that Start-Ups are not always in the best position to win bids
Has my company got sufficient resources, time & tendering expertise?
- Tendering is time consuming – you will need to invest a lot of your time and resources to create a winning bid
- Tendering can also be a daunting task – especially if you do not have the right skills or expertise.
What can I do?
- Wait for the tender opportunity that is right for your company – it is a waste of time tendering for contracts that you are not going to win!
- Continue to grow your company until it is better positioned to tender
- Collaborate with another business that can complement your company and help minimise any of the ‘gaps’ mentioned above
- Use consultants or other resources to help you through the tendering process