Can Small Businesses Access Tendering?

A solid tendering strategy can transform your business. Check out our tips on things to consider.

The short answer is yes, Small Businesses can and absolutely should access the tender market.

As a growing business, a well executed tendering strategy can provide sustainability and credibility - Allowing you to invest in expanding your capabilities and overall presence.

It's also never been a better time for SME's to enter the market, with organisations (public & private) looking to things such as supplier diversity and delivery of social outcomes as key strategic focuses.

We'll take a look today at some of the opportunities, barriers and things to know about tendering for small business as well as some tips & tricks on how you can win more bids as a SME.

Start Local

The best place to start for a small business looking to find tendering opportunities is your local council. Councils are required to "go to tender" for most goods and services, and being a company that operates in the area and can prove the social & economic benefit that winning the contract will provide - Is often a deciding factor, particularly between choosing a local business and a larger competitor.

Price & quality will definitely be considerations - Most councils (all of them really...) are working on a fairly limited budget & are typically risk-averse, so being competitive will be a requirement. But if the bids are comparable, your knowledge of local issues, ability to engage in person and role in the community will often tip the scales in your favour.

No Time Wasting!

To quote the immortal TLC "Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls".

Seriously, so many SME's waste a significant amount of time chasing opportunities because their eyes are too big for their stomach. Be realistic in your own capabilities, research the opportunity and ask yourself whether a buyer is likely to be convinced you could deliver the project better than anyone else, at a price that won't cripple your business.

Where's Your Proof?

Evidence of past work & references from clients are your best friend.

One of the benefits of being a larger firm with a significant presence in the market is the ability to draw upon a wealth of examples of how they can deliver the project & why they should be trusted to do so.

But that portfolio has been built up, one project at a time and each of those projects was won off the back of their ability to communicate the value of everything else that had come before it. Gather as much proof as you can and create a compelling story to tell with it.

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

The truth is, you won't win every bid. You may not even win most of them - a 1/3 success rate if often considered pretty good.

What's important is that you examine why you weren't successful, and take those learnings on board. Maybe it's because you haven't listened to the sweet sounds of TLC enough lately, or you didn't pay enough attention to the detail. Whatever it is - try and get some feedback, find out who won the contract and what you can learn from them, and then move on to the next submission bigger & better for the experience.

Fiona Nissen at ArcBlue NZ shared with us the value of debriefs for suppliers and buyers. Buyers get to hear from suppliers about the process so they can refine for next time and suppliers get to hear how they can be more competitive next time. A buyer won’t be able to disclose another supplier’s confidential or commercially sensitive information, but can provide you with information about the strengths and weaknesses. Fiona always asks for a debrief when she responds to tenders - don’t hesitate to ask for a debrief, yourself.

The good news is that even one contract can completely transform your business, and all of those opportunities to learn and get better will immediately be worth it.

If you're a small business looking to win more tenders and grow your business, then why not take a look at our platform. We currently have thousands of active tender opportunities across Australia and New Zealand across all sectors and industries, waiting just for you. Take advantage of a free trial today.

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