Monitor contract opportunities and notices
All contract opportunities are published in the form of contract notices on Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) or Contracts Finder, from Tuesday to Saturday. It is now a legal requirement that all public sector contract opportunities above £10,000 are advertised via Contracts Finder.
We recommend spending the time to set up an account on either of these portals to receive alerts directly to your inbox; there are a lot of services available to source contract notices on your behalf and send alerts to you, but these can be pricey and it is possible to visit TED or Contracts Finder directly.
Monitoring contract notices as often as possible allows your business to be up to date with all possible opportunities and means you won’t miss out on an important contract. Starting the bidding process as early as possible is always beneficial.
Undertake a “bid/no bid” decision
Whether it is your first bid or your fiftieth bid, it is vital to take time to assess the contract criteria and the requirements, and to highlight any conditions at all that you could fall short on on. Undertaking a “bid/no bid” decision rather than making a speculative bid is more likely to result in success. Only bidding for contracts which are worthwhile for your company, and realistically achievable, means you can allocate more resources to fewer contracts and have a greater chance of success.
We regularly advise companies on this stage of the bidding process, and common hurdles we see are contract-specific examples, references, certifications and turnover. These are just a few of the essential requirements you should check you can meet before you enter into the tender writing process.
Understand the PQQ and tender process
The bidding process for contracts can be confusing and time consuming; even more so if you are not 100% sure of the process and the PQQ/tender documentation. We have a range of resources available to answer your queries and guide you in the right direction.
The recent introduction of a standardised PQQ will make the process, for both bidders and evaluators, a lot simpler; yet the ITT document can vary in terms of size, questions and complexity so it is difficult to fully prepare. Try and research the likely areas covered in both the PQQ and tender documents or find a previous submission which you could use as an example.
One way to prepare before a bid is to ensure all your policy and procedure documents are up to date and meet all current legislation (see our policy and procedures page for a list of the common documentation).
Keep ahead of the competition
Often companies are so focused on their own tender they forget the whole process is a competition: it is important to analyse the market around you and how to stand out against the competition.
Producing a well written, persuasive narrative response is a given, but what other approaches can you utilise to gain marks and set yourself aside from the competition? We advise using new company innovations, contract-specific case studies, answers closely matched to the specification and lots of evidence to really justify to the contracting authority that you are the company best suited to the contract.
Seek funding to support your company
If you are not well versed in the bidding process, it is a good idea to seek guidance from a professional to make sure you submit the highest quality proposal and do not waste significant time and money. There are various funding options available to subsidise professional bid writing assistance; our recent article advises on the funding options available to grow your business.