By Kate Burrows, Managing Director, Tender Training College
I talk regularly with business owners who are interested in growing their business through tendering, but have little or no experience and simply don’t know where to start.
I also see SMEs who jump in and start bidding for a contract, only to find out midway through the process they don’t have the right capability and experience, or the required systems and processes to be compliant with the tendering requirements.
It can be a daunting process when you are new to the bidding business, and it can be a high-risk game if you don’t properly prepare your business to respond to tenders effectively.
It pays to have the foundations in place – before you commit to the tender process.
In this series, I provide you with the key steps and tips to organise your business to save you valuable time and money when responding to tenders and to increase your chances of success.
Step 1: Research relevant tenders
The best way to start tendering is to find a couple of ‘example’ tenders that are relevant to the type of contracts that you want to apply for. Reviewing these tender documents will give you:
- Familiarity with bid documents
- Understanding of the type of information you will need to supply
- A knowing of how each tender is assessed
- What the successful supplier will need to do if they win the contract.
The best way to find example tenders is to research tenders online. For example, if you are a builder who wants to bid for local council construction jobs, visit your local council website and see what current opportunities are available.
All Federal and State Government tenders can also be downloaded free of charge from their respective websites.
Alternatively, Australian Tenders provides a convenient online portal service, with hundreds of government and private section tender opportunities for SMEs. Tip: contact us to find out how you can receive a $100 discount on an Australian Tenders yearly subscription service.
Step 2: Confirm what you need to have in place
Once you have reviewed a couple of example tenders, you will have a much better understanding of what a potential client will want to know about your business and what they expect to see in your tender response.
I am often asked by business owners, “why do clients want to see my business financials?” The client who is issuing a tender wants assurance you can deliver the contract if you are the successful bidder. Making sure you are financially viable will be a consideration that many clients, particularly governments, will want to know to reduce their risk exposure.
Likewise, they will want to know you have the appropriate systems, accreditations and insurances to complete the job safely and to the expected standard.
From reviewing the tender, you will get an understanding of whether you are expected to have a quality manual or a full-blown ISO-accredited quality system as a minimum requirement, for example.
From here, you can identify any gaps you might want to address in your business foundations before you start bidding.
Step 3: Build a document library
Once you start tendering regularly, you will tend to use a lot of the same information repeatedly in your responses.
This is because the clients issuing the tender will generally ask you similar questions – how will you deliver the contract, who will be the key people involved, what systems will you use, provide evidence you have done this before.
This means that you should have a library of information that includes:
- An organisational chart and CVs for your key people
- Descriptions of how you deliver your product or service
- Information about your systems and processes – including safety, quality and environment
- Relevant insurances, accreditations, licences, latest financial accounts and business details
- Case studies of similar contracts you have successfully delivered in the past, including client testimonials.
It will save you a lot of time and effort if you have this information in a central repository that you can continually add to.
Tip: Don’t forget to add relevant graphics and pictures to your library that will help explain your business and its processes – by using these in your tender response, it will give the evaluator a break from reading lots of words!
Stay tuned for Part 2 with more steps to get your business tender ready for 2021.
If you would like to know more about how to implement these steps, book a free 15-minute consultation with Kate Burrows to discuss: https://tendertrainingcollege.com.au/product/my-online-tender-trainer-15-mins-copy/