Bidding for tenders is a vital process for securing new business contracts and growing your operations. Depending on your industry, it is likely that your competitors are bidding for the contracts they’re securing. As well as other strategies, such as marketing, tendering is one of the most effective ways to grow your organisation.
Hudson Succeed is a Durham-based business development consultancy. They were founded by husband and wife team, Jill and John Hudson. Jill has been supporting businesses, globally, with their business growth efforts for almost two decades. Hudson was founded based on her experiences of tendering and procurement.
Across the Hudson Group, their mission is to make tendering a fairer and more transparent playing field for all businesses.
Whilst working with the 700+ businesses that they support, the team noticed a common misconception, from SMEs in particular. It seems that some SMEs are under the impression that they are too small to tender for work. This is not the case.
Hudson’s Head of Bid Management, Daniel Hall, said: “You have to be realistic when making your bid/no-bid decision. You should always consider the contract value and assess the experience requirements before continuing.
However, there are advantages to being an SME when tendering for work. For example, the UK government has a target to spend £1 in £3 with SMEs. Therefore, public sector organisations actively want to award contracts to smaller companies.
“SMEs also have the advantage of not competing with industry giants on smaller projects. Larger businesses tend not to bid for contracts with smaller values, therefore increasing your chances of winning.”
Since launching their suite of bid writing services, Hudson has been thrilled to work with businesses, around the world. However, as a company with strong roots in the North East, Hudson says it’s always a pleasure to support local businesses as well.
Securing 4-years income for Imagine You Can UK
Imagine You Can UK are leading providers of the National Citizen Service (NCS) in Redcar and East Cleveland. They also work across the North of England, delivering opportunities for personal development and employability skills for young people.
The company’s Director approached the Hudson Succeed team to enquire about their bid writing services. They required support with the submission of a tender for the provision of additional service partners to provide capacity for delivering an NCS programme.
When bidding for tenders, there will inevitably be challenges that you didn’t foresee. With experience, these obstacles become easier to mitigate. Due to the nature of this tender, Hudson knew they would encounter challenges around sensitive information. The work required detailed information regarding Imagine You Can UK’s Safeguarding and Data Management procedures.
Tight deadlines also posed an issue to their time management. As the company was a new client of Hudson Succeed, they did not have a bank of information developed, as they do with returning organisations. This meant that the team had to extract the necessary information in a short timeframe to ensure maximum quality scores.
A detailed communication procedure was therefore created to obtain the information needed. The team then underwent a thorough bid plan, outlining the necessary activity for both parties.
Due to the deadline of the tender, work was allocated across the team of Bid Writers. They proactively took charge of each response and produced high-quality, well-researched and thorough tender responses.
The team produced 5,000 words within a little over 24 hours of the work being commissioned.
As a result, Imagine You Can UK were successful with their endeavour and they were accepted onto the framework. This secured them sustainable, ongoing income for the next four years.
Due to this success, Hudson has developed an excellent relationship with the client, and they look forward to working with them in the future.
“Daniel and the team gave me excellent instructions on the content they needed to complete this tender. The whole process was seamless and I’m glad to say we were accepted onto the framework. It was a pleasure to work with Hudson and we look forward to collaborating in the future.” – Dave King, Director – Imagine You Can UK.
Winning a DPS place for APM Cleaning Ltd
APM Cleaning provide commercial and domestic cleaning services on a national scale. The company contacted Hudson Succeed, seeking support after identifying a tendering opportunity. They expressed concerns with developing the quality responses required to win a place on the framework.
After the initial consultation, the Hudson team found another contract opportunity using their Facilities Tenders portal. The team made the client aware of the second tender, a Facilities Management DPS with Prosper Housing.
Once the work was agreed, the Hudson Succeed team began working on both tenders for the client.
The deadlines were very close together which meant that both submissions needed to be developed in tandem. This meant that workloads had to be split between two Bid Writers. This, accompanied by ongoing tenders the team were already compiling for other clients, posed a challenge to time management.
APM was also a new client with Hudson which meant that the required company details needed to be extracted.
Through the creation of Hudson’s staple bid plan, a communication procedure was implemented between themselves and the client. The two assigned Bid Writers collaborated effectively to ensure no overlapping in requests for information from APM.
Once completed, the tender response underwent a thorough, internal review process. Their Head of Bid Management took the lead on all stages of the content development.
Both tenders were signed off and submitted four days ahead of the deadline.
As a result of the team’s combined efforts, they successfully secured APM a place on the second DPS. Not only that, but they were successful in all the LOTs applied to.
They are still awaiting the results of the initial tendering opportunity.
Due to this success, Hudson are pleased to say that their working relationship with APM Cleaning has continued.
They have since supported the submission of four further tenders. One has been successful. They’re awaiting the results for three others. They also look forward to working with the client on a future bid, later this year.
“The Hudson Team were very reactive in their ways of working and handled all communications very effectively and efficiently. This partnership is credit to the recent win for the Prosper DPS for Facilities Management, which we were successful on all LOTs applied. We would recommend Hudson to any company who require bid support of any kind!” – Samantha Reid, Director – APM Cleaning Ltd.
Advice for SMEs
As we begin to emerge from a global pandemic, Hudson understands that bidding for contracts can seem daunting. However, it is important to remember that businesses are still actively seeking suppliers.
“The procurement industry hasn’t come to a standstill” – Daniel Hall, Head of Bid Management.
Understandably, some SMEs don’t know how to tender for work. The practice is more prevalent in some industries than others. In the construction sector, for example, most businesses are either actively tendering or have been involved in the process before.
However, bidding for tenders does carry advantages. For example;
- Guaranteed pay in the public sector
It might seem strange to sign a contract and not be guaranteed pay. Unfortunately, we hear of this happening in the private sector more often than we would like.
The Crown Commercial Service’s Prompt Payment Code means that this won’t happen in the public sector. The code stipulates that invoices must be paid within 60-days. This gives suppliers piece of mind, knowing that income is guaranteed, and the profit can be accounted for.
- Build your experience
If you’re a relatively new business, building a portfolio of experience is crucial when wanting to tender for large contracts. By securing smaller value projects, you can demonstrate relevant and impressive experience when the time comes to “bid bigger”.
Also, building a portfolio of experience means building a bank of contacts. Bidding for tenders helps to connect you with buyers that you may not have had access to previously.
- Frameworks can help your sustainability
Winning places on long-term frameworks increase your chances of securing contracts sustainably. Some frameworks can last up to 10-years or more. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to bid for this work as the projects are published.
To support SMEs, Hudson offers a free “Hudson Helpline”. The Helpline connects you to an expert Bid Writing consultant for 20-minutes of free consultation. You can use the helpline to;
- Ask questions about a specific tender;
- Ask for advice surrounding the early stages of the tendering process;
- Get tips to help you begin tendering for work;
- Ask for information about any of our services;
- And clarify, sometimes confusing, procurement terminology.