This year the government will be publishing a conservative estimate of in the region of 100,000 contracts for businesses UK-wide
So how can SMEs turn these opportunities into a new revenue stream?
The founder of online tendering platform, TenderScout, which aims to level the playing field with the big boys when it comes to SMEs and sole traders, said companies need a clear business to government strategy to be able to do this successfully.
Tony Corrigan, who created the platform after a career in software development and tender writing, listed the main ways in which SMEs can harness potential fresh income offered by the many 1000s of tenders up for contract this year.
- Identify a tender portal with which to find opportunities
- Find the list of relevant buyers for your particular industry
- Find the contracts which are up for renewal and the names of the people running them
- Create a collaborative agreement within the business to set out what they want to provide and to whom
He explains, ‘An example could be a company which provides interactive smart boards for schools and colleges and which wants to make a big splash this year in the education sector by providing this type of equipment.
‘The strategy would be based on the successes identified from 2017 and the company would have to provide references and case studies they already have and then a list of education sector buyers who have a specific interest in smart boards or who have had something similar provided to them in the past.’
Also advised strongly is for the company to approach the buyers directly as most will wait until the tender has been published.
‘Part of the strategy should be pro-active. Also, people buy from people they both know and like so if you’re tendering purely based on a random impersonal document you’ve sent off that is not as compelling as having built and sustained a relationship. As a result, the success rates of those who have not met and/or made direct contact with the right people is one in 10, but for those who have – ie been more strategic – it’s more than 40 per cent, ‘Corrigan says.
He went on to explain that the second part of the process was making sure the tender was ready and complete with a checklist of completed paperwork including case studies, updated staff CVs with related successes, good marketing materials and ROIs included into the bargain.
‘Finally, look at strategy budgets. Tenderers will have to commit to one and decide whether it’s worth spending a certain percentage on it to compete competently.
‘Here at TenderScout we have found that it’s a six percent investment of the contract value. So, if the contract is worth £1 million, then invest £60k. From our research and data, we know six percent is what the winners would have spent. If it’s not that much it is likely to be a waste of time and if it’s more then it’ll be difficult for the process to be cost effective,’ Corrigan concludes.