7 Steps to Take Your Government Tenders to Another Level

government-tenders

The State is the single largest buyer in Ireland, spending a whopping €9 billion of public money on procuring services and goods in 2017, across 7,500 different tender opportunities. Here are 7 Steps to Take Your Government Tenders to Another Level:


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Despite all the benefits that winning government tenders could bring - a cash injection, prestige, new business pipeline, the prospect of international collaborations, the opportunity to work with the best in the country -  barely 10% of Irish small or medium enterprises (SMEs) take part in tendering.

For many SMEs, it is the prospect of finding and applying for tenders that is off-putting. Complicated applications can be intimidating but the fact is many businesses here are uninformed and inexperienced when it comes to tendering.

Furthermore, for many SMEs, the cost of making a submission may seem too expensive given the uncertain returns.

In order for Irish SMEs to shed their fear of tender bidding and to rebrand themselves as serious competitors for the public procurement purse, reconsidering their approach to tenders is vital. The following list will help give confidence to curious SMEs. As Ireland possesses a forward-thinking, technologically savvy and well-educated workforce, the application of the 7 steps listed will mean SMEs improve their tendering win rate, while asking their competitors to CATCH ME!

1. C for Commit

When you decide to start a tender bid, do not go in half-hearted. Invest your time and manpower in understanding the system and work out what is expected and required. A pertinent question is: where are the hotspots for open tenders? At any one time, there can be 45,000 opportunities in the Irish and European markets. Commit your time and energy to trawling platforms where tenders are announced and logged, scrutinise opportunities and become familiar with the expectations of a successful tender bid.

2. A for Articulate

Your bid should read like a solid argument from start to finish. This means smart SMEs will interrogate their business brand, quiz themselves about what they stand for as an enterprise and consider the aims they have for the future. This is no easy task - but once you know what you want to say, consider how you will articulate it in your bid. Communicate using the language of your audience. With the correct language, SMEs can compel and convince the reader. Articulate that your business can and will best deliver the required service with quality and professionalism. A coherent and confident case will make all the difference.

3. T for Text and image balance

Now armed with a strong story, steeped in brand awareness and confidence, SMEs would do well to consider the added boon of images in their tenders. Interspersing text-heavy bids with relevant and reinforcing images, such as infographics or illuminating charts, will add individuality and uniqueness to your tender application, driving your memorable points home for the reader.

4. C for Checks

Checking for errors is a dull task, but it is fundamental to any bid that it is fault-free. Understand the tone required, engage with relevant policy, cite your figures - and check again and again and again. The smallest mistake can cost dearly and be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful bid. While it might seem fundamental, even something as basic as checking for spelling and grammar means your bid won’t be let down by mistakes that can be easily avoided.

5. H for Help

One of the most important attributes for any business is a willingness to learn, communicate, network and collaborate with others. The same applies to tendering. Reaching out to experts is key to winning tenders. Within the tendering sector, active assists are becoming an important asset to SMEs, as they fulfil the functions of researching, collating, writing and guiding applications. Tendering is a learning process and smart SMEs use the right people and ask for help, if necessary, to present the best bid they can.

6. M for Moment

Studies show that one of the chief reasons for failed tender applications is a simple one: missing deadlines. Indeed, some applications may have more than one deadline as bids progress through phases. Keeping a close eye on dates and times of closures is imperative. A bid that is well researched, uses all the right language and is error-free is no good if it misses a deadline.

7. E for Entertain

A sparkling, innovative and memorable tender bid will speak volumes over your competitors. Be confident – don’t be afraid to showcase the assets of your organisation. Tell your reader how you will bring added value and extra commitment and convey your passion!

With these tips in mind, it is worthwhile to note that, according to TenderScout CEO Tony Corrigan, only one in ten SMEs compete for government contracts. This figure shows the majority of Irish businesses are completely in the dark about the tendering opportunities open to them. For economic survival and for the good of the country – tenders are perhaps the best illustration of the State's commitment to economic recovery – SMEs must get on board and, at the very least, dare to bid.

The figures show that the opportunities and monies are out there, but the onus is on SMEs to face up to the challenge. Using the seven tips in this article, success is within reach!

TenderScout partners with businesses in Ireland and abroad to help them win more tenders. If you'd like to find out more, we'd love to talk to you.

Over to you now. What's your experience with government tenders? Any tips to share? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Comments 2

Fionan Murray on Wednesday, 25 July 2018 10:03

Great blog. What are the minimum financial hurdles that an SME has to meet to bid...t/o over three years, insurances such as public liability...any others?

Great blog. What are the minimum financial hurdles that an SME has to meet to bid...t/o over three years, insurances such as public liability...any others?
Lisa Raftery on Wednesday, 25 July 2018 14:02

Hi Fionan
Thanks for your comments and you're right.
Candidate selection criteria usually fall into three main categories:

    \nExclusion criteria Financial and Economic Information Technical Capacity\n

but all these have to be specified either in the advertisement or in the invitation to
tender documentation.

Most people just have to fill in an ESPD once to show that they fulfill these requirements.
One way of getting around the turnover thresholds is to collaborate with another SME on the actual tender.
We'd love to share some more insights with you if tendering is something you are considering.

Thanks
Lisa

Hi Fionan Thanks for your comments and you're right. Candidate selection criteria usually fall into three main categories: [list]\nExclusion criteria Financial and Economic Information Technical Capacity\n[/list] but all these have to be specified either in the advertisement or in the invitation to tender documentation. Most people just have to fill in an ESPD once to show that they fulfill these requirements. One way of getting around the turnover thresholds is to collaborate with another SME on the actual tender. We'd love to share some more insights with you if tendering is something you are considering. Thanks Lisa
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