In the last 20 years, formal procurement has crept into just about everything large organisations purchase, from the simple and commoditised (stationery) right through to the complex and intangible (professional services).
It’s a system that providers are stuck with for now, especially when it comes large consumers of professional services (government, banks, insurers, listed companies and other large corporates).
The opportunities a win could present may seem attractive, but does your firm take the time to properly evaluate the risks and real costs?
If you’re tempted to bid on something, or you have a partner in your firm that cannot resist chasing down every single opportunity – “we should throw our hat in the ring” – see if you pass the following reality check first.
Reality checking the opportunity and testing assumptions
This quick (non-exhaustive) bid or no bid list will help you critically size up a bid opportunity:
- Do you know if the tender has been advertised far and wide? Competition can be fierce for “open” tenders.
- Have they indicated how many suppliers they are likely to appoint? The trend is to reduce the number of providers.
- Do you know who the incumbent providers – your competitors – are? It’s incredibly hard to unseat satisfactorily performing incumbents.
- What do you really know about the consumer and their reasons for tendering? If the consumer simply wishes to “test the market”, it’s likely that there will be no or minimal change to the composition of their providers.
- Have you dimensioned in $ how much work you will actually get if you win? And how does that stack up against the costs of putting together a bid?
- Do you clearly understand what it will cost to produce the services once appointed?
- Do you meet minimum threshold requirements? For instance, do you have the required professional indemnity insurance?
- Has your firm ever done any work for the tendering organisation? At all? Or are you total unknowns?
- Do you and your team actually have the time and resources to put together a credible bid?
- Are you starting your response late? Never good!
Whilst much of this is common sense, it can often fly out the window in the heat of the moment. Just be sure you know when it’s a real opportunity, and when to walk away and spend your time and effort on something else.
One of the reasons Julian Midwinter & Associate’s track record in bids, proposals and tenders is so strong is because we divert clients from wasting precious time and scarce resources on dud “opportunities”.
And if you’re thinking of throwing your hat in the ring, we can help – please get in touch.
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Remember, nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply Albert Einstein was spot-on when he said “nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply”. Tenders, bids, proposals, and informal pitches for business are not times to show how clever and capable you are by using legalese (I’m looking at you lawyers), […]