Public tenders have long been a popular choice for large businesses.That said, the government has taken steps to make sure public sector tenders are becoming even more open to SMEs too.
With large corporations and SMEs both increasingly able to benefit from government contracts, the prospect of growing your business via public tenders is a tantalising one.
If obtaining more public sector contracts is a key part of your business development strategy, we’ve put together this five point guide to help set you on the right track.
1. What Are Government Tenders?
Well, first things first, what actually is a government tender? In a nutshell they are contract opportunities published by public sector organisations for goods, services, utilities and all other works. They give businesses the chance to competitively bid for jobs and deliver government projects.
Public sector tenders can provide large and small businesses the opportunity to bring in new revenue streams with very secure contracts and favourable payment terms. The government has a genuine goal to make public sector contracts more accessible to more businesses. Now could be the ideal time to explore how your business can benefit from government tenders.
2. How Can I Get Tenders?
Finding details of public sector tenders has become more straightforward over recent years. With the introduction of our Tender Pipeline software and all UK tenders are detailed on the Contracts Finder website. EU tenders get listed on the TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) website.
UK businesses interested in supplying local authorities and public sector organisations will find themselves on Contracts Finder a lot. It lets you search contracts across a variety of different industries, find out what’s coming up in the future and also familiarise yourself with historic public procurement tenders and contract awards.
3. How Do You Make A Tender?
We get asked ‘what is the tender process?’ all the time. There are typically four procurement procedures used by public sector bodies during the tendering process. The contract notice will tell you which one needs to be used:
- Open Procedure – This is when the tender is advertised with all interested parties able to submit a completed tender document. The hiring organisation then works through them all with a thorough evaluation process. Contract awards are made from there.
- Restricted Procedure – With this procurement procedure there are two steps in the process. The first part will see a shortlist of suppliers chosen to move to the next stage. This initial step normally features a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) to be completed. Those selected to move to the second stage will be invited to tender (ITT). Once the returned tenders are checked out and evaluated, contract awards will follow.
- Competitive Dialogue – Usually used for complicated or high value tenders, the awarding body will negotiate with companies to reach the best possible solution. The process is then followed by an invitation to tender (ITT). Subsequently contracts are awarded.
- Negotiated – This tends to be used sparingly in public sector contracts but, from time-to-time, will be deemed the most suitable option. The public sector organisation involved will enter into direct negotiation with one or more suppliers.
4. How Do You Win Tenders?
Bidding is one of the most crucial parts of tendering. One of the most important things here is to follow and manage the process properly. Sloppiness at any stage is a sure-fire way to throw away your bid. You need to understand the tender document through and through and, importantly, identify the key points to make your proposal writing stand out.
Tender documents aren’t just a form-filling exercise. If you’re completing your bids properly they will turn into a powerful piece of sales literature. It’s important that you share the content needed to sell the reasons why your business deserves the contract.
Blow your own trumpet about previous success with public sector work. If any of the work was local, even better. Detail how you supported on similar contracts. What specific and measurable results were achieved. Get prepared with the right accreditations, such as ISO:9001 for quality management and ISO:14001 for environmental management, for example.
If you’d like more information on bid writing and winning tenders, you can look at our ultimate guide to bid writing by clicking here.
5. What Are The Benefits To Your Business?
The government spends a huge amount of money with private businesses each year. About £700bn in fact, making it one of the largest spenders across many UK industries. Wouldn’t it be great to have a piece of that substantial pie?
In addition to the extra revenue streams you can get from the public sector, generally speaking, government contracts are far less risky than their private sector counterparts. A public sector organisation won’t go bust, owing large sums of money to suppliers, for example.
To win public sector tenders you have to be committed to the process. Public sector procurement is tough. The completion of tender documentation is a skill that’s hard to get right. As is managing the overall tender process and presenting the tender, potentially face-to-face, to secure the work. Only experience will help you get these critical factors right first time.
The opportunities are great with public sector tenders, however if you need any consultancy or training to maximise your ability to win public sector contracts, you can always get in touch with our team of experts and contact us for a free appraisal today.