Its old news that the UK Government set ambitious targets of awarding 33% of all public sector contracts to SMEs by 2020.
That 33% equates to over £21.3 BILLION worth of contracts each year awarded to SMEs in the UK alone. This presents a huge opportunity for aspiring Entrepreneurs to secure long term sustainable public sector contracts which can act as a foundation for significant organisational growth.
A lot of companies think they are too niche or too small to tender but this isn’t true. As long as you are established, have a good track record of delivery and a solid set of accounts (typically 2 years worth) you are in a strong position to tender.
Opportunities are hugely varied with services and products of all kinds procured. We have selected a few of the weird and wonderful ones below:
Wigs and Associated products- over £9.5m worth! for the NHS. check this link
An opportunity for communities to bid for funds to purchase their local pub!
More than a Pub is a unique three year programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in England and grow the range of services they offer to help local people. Its value is £3.85 million and is jointly funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Power to Change.… So who’s buying a pub with me? https://www.plunkett.co.uk/more-than-a-pub
Whatever you are supplying, someone will be buying (if there are not you may need to give your business plan serious consideration e.g. chocolate fire guards are not fit for purpose)
Often the more niche the better as you have less competition in comparison to highly competitive markets such as cleaning, low value website design, security etc.
If you would like to explore opportunities in your sector please just get in touch and we will happily help you look for appropriate opportunities free of charge.
Luck is a complex issue and one that is hard/impossible to quantify, but it is also something that is so commonly misquoted. Hardly anyone ever achieves anything of significance without a huge amount of hard work and sacrifice, yet the successful are so often referred to as lucky. In our latest video we address the issue of luck and explain how you can actively become more lucky.
Have a watch. If you like what you see please subscribe and if there is anything you would like us to cover in future please just get in touch. We are busy working away developing a series of bid writing videos. These teach you everything you could want to know about bids/tenders so keep watching. For the time being lets all be a bit more lucky…
Across the UK public sector organisations run approximately 1,400 individual tender portals which causes a little confusion when looking for bid and tender opportunities!
Public Sector contracts offer a huge opportunity to UK businesses with over £65 Billion worth of contracts advertised each year in the UK. With Government targets to hit, public sector organisations have to ensure that £21.3 Billion of that is awarded to SMEs each year- there is a very real opportunity for aspirational Entrepreneurs.
Hopefully we can provide a little clarity, many of the opportunities are listed on numerous tender portals. We have listed the key portals below which cover the majority of public sector tenders. Just hit the highlighted links below and explore a world of opportunity…
Contracts Finder– typically contains around 80% of Local Authority opportunities across England with an inconsistent range of opportunities from Housing Associations, NHS etc. it can be useful to find contract award notifications and contract renewal dates.
Pro contract due north is a great resource. Over 400 different portals across England were consolidated in to one tender portal covering Local Authorities, Some Housing Associations, some NHS trusts and an assortment of other organisation
Two other key resources are the portals which advertise MoD Contracts although they are quite strict on who can sign up and what you can view with a lot of their opportunities quite sensitive in nature. The emergency services portal- Blue Light is also a useful resource.
We couldn’t include everything but this a good selection. If you have a particular sector or type of organisation that you are targeting get in touch and we are happy to point you in the right direction to find suitable opportunities. If you do find what seems to be the right opportunity why not read our blog which provides practical tips to help you pursue the best opportunities- Picking the perfect tender
Thanks for reading and thing else you would like us to cover just let us know.
This is a question we are asked time and time again.
“How do you pick an opportunity which you have a good chance of winning?”
So we have decided to share some of our top practical tips which are easy to follow. We believe that picking the right opportunity in many cases is the first of three key steps to increasing you tendering success (we will save the others for another day).
Read the questions- this might sound too simple. but before you even read the specification in detail read the questions. look for trends and patterns. So what does this mean? if all of the questions are fairly generic that’s fine no problem, we have learned very little. However, maybe there is a constant theme within the questions such as Question 1. How will you deliver the contract and report against delivery. Question 2. How will you manage implementation and report progress. You see where this is going. If there is something consistently highlighted then you know that they have potentially had an issue with the reporting from a previous supplier and through emphasising your expertise in this area you can set yourself apart.
Also look out for a question which really stands out. If every question is generic but one question is very specific or highly technical. This is a red flag. Unfortunately in some cases existing supplier or even future supplier can convince procurement teams that they absolutely must have some absurd capability which in turn gives that supplier an advantage. It doesn’t happen often but when it does you can be pretty sure that the supplier who has had that influence will win the contract.
Contract value. Recent regulations removed the restriction on public sector organisations which restricted the value of contracts which can be awarded to SME organisations. Previous legislation allowed public sector organisations to award contracts to companies worth up to 50% of their turnover (e.g. company with £100k turnover could win a 3 year contract worth a total of £150k) despite the removal of the restriction and the previous rule you will very rarely see an organisation awarded a contract worth over 40% of their annual turnover (e.g. company with £100k turnover awarded a contract worth £120k). Regardless of the legislation public sector organisations are still risk averse and rightly so. They have a duty to spend public money responsibly. Giving a £1m turnover company a £10m contract would be madness regardless of legislation. So select realistic opportunities.
You are often better to focus all focus all of your attention on one opportunity rather than lots of different ones. Just having a go is not an option. No one ever one a contract by just having a go because someone out there will be putting in a lot of time and effort.
Research the service and the current provider. Its amazing the news stories that can pop up of poor service or price increases or public complaints. Its definitely worth 15 minutes of google searching. If it is a regulated industry you can even read some rather official external reports and audits which often highlight strengths and weaknesses of the competition which at worst is useful for developing your response through knowing what you are up against. If you find something truly shocking why not even be a little mischievous and send it to the local newspaper (However this is not something we actively encourage).
Other factors should of course be considered such as deliverability and ability to achieve commercial success through delivery but that would be just stating the obvious.
I hope this has been useful. If you are doing anything different that has been helpful or successful please share we are always looking to learn from the experiences of others.
We have created a Facebook group where we hope to build an online community supporting people with all things bid and tender related. This is not a place to sell your wears, it is merely a place to ask questions and learn from one another. This group is for those aspiring to write better bids and we have a number of other bid writers in the group- even those from competing organisations (just to prove we aren’t there to sell to you).
Following on from the success of our initial video we developed a practical video which outlines the 90 | 90 | 1 rule. This is a practical tool which if used consistently can help you to achieve huge growth in your business or can support progression towards personal goals and objectives.
Maybe your goal is to secure longer term contracts with a public sector client. We can help with that of course but whatever it is give this a go and please share any results with us. We will be providing regular updates of our progress through our social media stories on Facebook, Instagram and snap chat so please follow our progress and if you like this video don’t forget to subscribe as we have more content coming soon.
Decisions are the foundation of all activity. We make thousands of decisions every day without even thinking about it. But some decisions take a little more consideration. We have made a practical video showing you a tool which can support you to make better fact based decisions for the bigger things in your life.
This is the first in a series of videos that we are developing. We will be covering practical business tips, hints and ideas and we are also developing our bid training in a series of videos which we will be publishing for free to show you how to complete a bid/tender/proposal document from start to finish. So please have a watch of our first video, if you like what you see please subscribe and if you have any feedback or if there is anything you would like us to cover please just get in touch. Video number 2 is coming very soon…
A number of factors are having a positive impact on the procurement landscape and it hasn’t gone in noticed. Perhaps this is a result the fall of Carillion you might say? but actually the wheels have been in motion (slowly) for a whole lot longer. The Uk Government set challenging targets of 33% of public sector contracts to be awarded to SMEs by 2020. As far as we can see little was done to support this aspiration. A few minor tweaks to legislation which have had little/no impact. This has put the ball firmly in the court of the procuring organisations who are typically Public Sector organisations- by nature they are typically risk averse and not really known for their innovation. Until now…
Hartlepool Council procurement team have made it their policy to get at least one quote from a company based in their town. A small but impactful change which gives confidence to local suppliers that they are in with a chance
. Cambridge council are working with FSB (Federation of Small Business) to change their procurement and encourage SME bidders.
Middlesbrough Council have increased the value of contracts (to £50k I believe) which just need three quotes or a mini proposal and they are building a database of local companies to invite to quote.
County Durham County Council have worked to refine their questions particularly the Social Value element of the bid to favour local SMEs.
This is just a snapshot of progress being made all over the UK in different yet effective ways.
Brexit is well and truly on the way and public sector procurement aligns with EU procurement law. Once we leave the EU (whatever you think about that) we may see more changes coming our way.
We have worked over the last 12months with Durham University Business School and one of their super smart masters students to develop a research paper looking at what post brexit procurement might look like.
We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, predictions or even just to hear of any other stories of how procurement is changing to favour the SME bidder.
For many a new year signals a significant milestone, a fresh start where promises are made which are often long forgotten by mid-January as Gyms go back to being empty and the Tesco special of 24 Mars bars for £3 again becomes irresistible. Well we don’t like that approach one bit!
Your life is the most valuable thing you have, and I am disappointed every day to hear people moaning and complaining about their jobs. Did you know that 70% of the UK population are unhappy with their jobs with over 20% stating that they despise their jobs. Wow! So statistically speaking 7 of every 10 readers of this blog are unhappy with their job situation (unless we only attract happy readers) and even if you are happy maybe you know someone who needs to get their backside in to gear and apply for a happy role in a positive work environment at Bid and Research Development. We are actively seeking the greatest human beings available.
that’s a fact! we offer you the opportunity to change lives and bath in the glory that is multi million-pound contract wins providing our clients with security and income, keeping people in jobs and making a real difference. It really is a wonderful thing.
We have three roles up for grabs based in Teesside:
Junior Bid Writer– an entry level position, ideal for someone who has the raw skills to be an awesome writer- this includes any/all or a combination of attention to detail, business or marketing experience/qualifications, hunger to learn and be an all-round nice person.
Bid Writer– perhaps you work as a bid writer or in a related field- Marketing, Procurement, copywriting and you are looking for a diverse and continually challenging (in a good way) new role to push you professionally and personally with the opportunity for real career progression.
Senior Bid Writer– you have to be a truly awesome bid writer for this role perhaps you have more bid writing experience, you need to be good with clients (in fact you need to be utterly charming), you will be expected to support the more junior team members but must not rest on you laurels- you need to be a learning machine and add to our existing culture of sharing experiences and continuing to push your knowledge to the next level. If you have the skill set and desire you may also be involved in business development activity.
Pay rates are very competitive with real potential for progression. We have a range of benefits such as flexible working hours, you get your birthday off along with generous holiday allowance and a whole lot more.
The company is in an exciting phase. we have achieved significant year on year growth. We are officially a scale up business- what does this mean? its a big deal. We have had sustained organisational growth of more than 20% year on year for 3 full financial years. only c.9,000 SMEs in the UK are achieving this from 5.7Million companies. We must be doing something right. Also see our last blog post with a summary of 2017
I could ramble on all day, but I will leave it here. So now it’s your duty to remember how many people hate their job- is it you? maybe a friend? get in touch to find out a little more. We are always happy to have a chat or a cuppa or maybe you just want to apply. Deadline is 19th January with CVs sent to email@example.com
Lets not beat around the bush. 2017 has been a fantastic year for team Bid and Research and importantly for our customers. The companies we work with have won contracts bid and small nationally and internationally ranging from thousands to Millions. For us that’s what it is all about WINNING. there is absolutely zero fun in just taking part. We are in the business of winning.
We have seen the team significantly grow, we have met some great new companies, we have moved to a bigger office and we continue to build with optimism for the future.
The Practical bit…
We all know the phrase
“you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with”
well this year along with working our backsides off day and night we have really put this in to action investing more time and effort with our non exec and actively sourcing mentoring from those that have been there and done it. This doesn’t mean trying to make friends with every big wig in town. Its as simple as reading books by some of the most successful people in history, watching youtube videos, listening to podcasts, attending conferences and just asking. We have had mentoring sessions with people well out of our league through a bit of flattery and an offer of lunch- “Hi ____, I really admire _____ and the way you _____. It would be great to get your view on our marketing/business/growth plan etc.is there a day i could take you for lunch to get your opinion on our plans?”
It really does work. This year personal development has been off the scale and we have plans to push it even further in 2018.
What has made your year a success and what business challenges do you anticipate in 2018?
Have a great festive break and we look forward to supporting even more of you in 2018. Cheers *raises glass*