6 tips for winning tenders for small businesses

6 tips for winning tenders for small businesses

September 18th, 2019 By Marketing

It can be a shark tank out there, especially for small businesses who’re trying to win new clients and work on different projects. If you’re searching for ways to score more contracts in your industry and beyond, you’ll need to improve your tender process, especially in the constriction, public services and business & finance industries.

What is tendering?

Tendering, or a contract bid, is a common legal process where businesses are invited to present their bid for taking on the goods production and/or service delivery of a particular project. Tenders can be used for any company who need assistance with a large-scale project, however they’re most common in the public sector,

Why should small businesses bid for tenders?

  • Public sectors often wish to be as cost effective as possible. This means contracts are broken down and awarded to certain businesses based on specialities in order to spread workloads and minimise larger risks and delays.
  • Local governments want to encourage enterprise in their localities and strengthen trade in their area as this makes a more prosperous community for all.
  • Having a pool of small businesses to pick from as opposed to large, corporate clients can often simplify the bidding process
  • Governments want to invest and spend money in private businesses

How can small businesses win tenders?

First, they need to actively look for new contracts. For UK-based opportunities, use resources like Contracts Finder and, if your sights are international, try TED for EU contracts. When on the lookout, seek contracts that are relevant to you and your business and always be realistic about your chances as well as your company’s ability to complete a contract.

Top tip: local or very specialist businesses can often approach their authorities for contract opportunities

Next, form your contract bid. Calls for pre-qualification tenders will state whether their procedures are:

  • Open – any interested organisation can submit their tender for evaluation
  • Restricted – completion of a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) can put your business on a shortlist. The organisations who make it here are then invited to tender before being evaluated
  • Competitive dialogue – reserved only for complex or extremely lucrative tenders. Businesses discuss and negotiate different solutions before a select few are then invited to tender
  • Direct negotiation – the hiring body approaches different businesses to discuss working with them.

How to win a contract bid

  1. Conduct some considered research into the industry and sector you’re bidding to work with, be it public or private. Organisations want to work with experts so you’ll need to prove yourself as one.
  2. If you don’t have one in-house, look for a specialist to assist you with your bid. Their insight could prove to be invaluable.
  3. Ensure your documentation is thorough and precise. Sloppiness at an early stage of the project is an indication you’ll behave similarly down the line. Employing thoughtful planning from the outset will hint that you’ll be an organised, reliable and professional business to work with.
  4. Show that you’re qualified for the role with the presentation of your certifications, such as ISO 9001, for example. Impress those you’re bidding for with your low environmental impact standards and state-of-the-art quality management systems.
  5. Sell your services. In addition to your ISO certifications, are there any other quality standard awards you’ve received? Maybe your staff have gone through special training programmes or you use innovative technology. Explain the work you’ve done before and how it’ll help you execute this project brilliantly.
  6. Perhaps you’re unsuccessful this time. Ask for feedback – it’ll help you improve in the future.

If you have any more questions about ISO 9001 and what it can do for your business, don’t be afraid to contact us. You can also download our FREE ISO 9001 guide below:

ISO 9001

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