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Scared of public sector bidding? by Sarah Heyes

Scared of public sector bidding? by Sarah Heyes


Halloween is here again, and while you’re probably not so scared of vampires and monsters anymore, there’s still something that might send a shudder up your spine – tendering.

What is it that’s so off-putting about tendering to the public sector? The most common reason we’ve found it that the whole process seems quite frightening, especially for businesses that are new to tendering.

We agree, bidding can be a challenge and will require time, energy and resources. However, if you’re up for the challenge, and you meet a few basic requirements, then tendering can be an extremely profitable.

With the right knowledge and guidance, you’ll find that tendering isn’t scary after all. Here’s some tips to bidding for the public sector:

Are you bid ready? You’ll need to evidence your finances, and be able to provide relevant case studies and references. Other than these, the only other real requirements are bags of enthusiasm and time to devote to preparing your submission.

Find tender opportunities Once you’re bid-ready, you’ll then need to find potential contracts to bid for. If you’re interested in bidding to the public sector, there are a wide variety of free registers e.g. www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk, but these can be quite torturous to navigate. You might consider using a paid-for search service (like our Search Service) to take the pain out of searching.

To bid, or not to bid… Having found a potential opportunity, ask yourself three fundamental questions: Can we deliver this? Can we present a winning case? Will it be profitable? Only if you can truly answer yes to each question, should you decide to bid.

Completing your bid Anyone who’s ever had the joy of competing in a public sector tendering process could be forgiven for losing the will to live after trying to wade through the ghastly amount of information requested. Here’s some tips to make this step as painless as possible:

  1. Don’t start until you’ve read everything – at least twice.
  2. Check you meet mandatory requirements – e.g. specific accreditations, minimum financial turnover, mandatory insurance levels.
  3. Understand the scoring system – so you know what is required to score top marks.
  4. Answer the question – it sounds obvious, but answer the question you’re asked, not the question you want to be asked.
  5. Answer all the questions – it’s so easy to inadvertently miss out a response requirement and miss out on points, or worse, be disqualified.
  6. Review – make sure your submission is as good as it can be. Oh, and definitely check for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.
  7. Gathering feedback – You’ve finally submitted your bid, give yourself a pat on the back. Remember, you can’t win them all, so don’t expect success every time. Win or lose, ask for feedback on your bid.

‘Who ya gonna call?’

So, we’re not quite the Ghostbusters, but here at Onto the Page, we specialise in helping businesses find and win tenders (our win rate is over 70%).

Hopefully, we’ve helped demystify the tender process a little bit but if you’d like to know more, get in touch for a no-obligation chat. We will discuss any challenges you’re facing, answer any questions you have, and signpost you to services that will increase your success rate in tendering. Believe us, once you have the right support, tendering really isn’t as scary as it seems.

Call me on 07591 206202 or email sarah@ontothepage.co.uk.





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