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Tips for submitting a public sector tender

<a href='http://www.nelep.co.uk' target='_blank'>North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP)</a>

Created by North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP), 23rd October 2019

3 MINUTE READ


Sinéad Moloney, NEPO Supplier & Social Value Development Specialist, and Garry Stone of B2B North, NEPO's Business Club trainer, give advice for businesses on preparing to submit a public sector tender for the first time.

  1. Read all of the documentation carefully and fully and sort out what needs doing when – take control.
  2. Find as much time as you can for writing and ring-fence it to put maximum focus on getting the best answers and score that you can. It’s about winning, not just answering questions and getting it in on time
  3. Ask yourself “why should they give us the contract, why us?” and use this in your answers.
  4. Focus on matching the requirement and what the customer needs and wants to achieve: use the specification but remember that it is telling you what they want – your job at each step is to show how you are going to deliver it.
  5. Answer the question, in full - every word and bullet point.
  6. If you can’t think what to write, think through the process end-to-end, in detail to help you ‘map out’ what you do, and remember: who, what, when, where, how, why, how much.
  7. Remember it’s about reassurance and showing that you have the capacity and capability to deliver the contract. Many smaller businesses fall down because they just ‘answer the question’ rather than thinking about what the customer will need to see on the table to be reassured you can deliver (such as the team needed to deliver the contract).
  8. Work with others and join forces where that means you can hit the requirement together.
  9. Remember that if it’s too large for you, someone else will win and maybe they will want other companies to help them deliver.
  10. Come along to the NEPO Business Club Workshops! They are free and will take you step-by-step through how to find the right opportunities, how to successfully navigate the tender documents, and how to think and write like a bid writing professional.

There is a lot of challenging work to do, and specialist thinking to apply – but that’s no different from every other area of running a business. We have seen many businesses transformed by winning contracts when they approach the opportunity with the same determination and ‘can do’ attitude as they use to approach everything else you do in their business.

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