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Winning edge through successful tendering

Winning tenders and writing successful proposals can open doors to new business opportunities, increase sales and profits, help develop new products and services, and raise awareness of your business. Planning your approach will increase your chances of producing a winning tender or proposal document. The top 10 ways to win quotations and tenders: Demonstrate value for money – the lowest price may not necessarily win the contract. Demonstrate a competitive advantage – make it clear what distinguishes you from the competition. Demonstrate capability and credibility – present clear evidence that your organisation is experienced and reliable. Understand the customer’s needs and focus on them – know the tenderer’s purchasing guidelines and demonstrate how your offer complies. Show how you meet (or exceed) each of the qualitative criteria – do not make unsubstantiated claims, but supply tangible examples. Understand the requirements and address each one – every tender requires specific information, follow the tender instructions carefully. Sell yourself – show why they should be doing business with you. Present the information clearly – ensure accuracy and consistency, and use language compatible with that in the tender documents. Submit a complete tender on time – leave time for your submission to be independently checked for accuracy and compliance. Play by the rules – be ethical and honest. Anything less will adversely impact on your reputation and credibility. You don’t have to go it alone Some businesses may feel excluded from tendering because they are too small or lack the resources for large corporate or government work. But tenders and proposals can be submitted on a collaborative basis, by a consortium of two or more businesses to provide a competitive, value-for-money solution. However, because the consortium is not a legal entity, it is appropriate for members to draw up a formal agreement detailing who will be responsible for what and how the profits from the arrangement will be split. Most government agencies will accept consortium bids but, like private enterprise, they expect a single contracting party be nominated as the lead tenderer with whom they will enter into a contract. Seek out Opportunities Another way that smaller businesses can get involved in tendering and quoting for larger projects is via a “prime contractor.” A prime contractor submits a tender on the basis that if successful, it will sub-contract parts or all of the supply of goods or services to other businesses. Small businesses should seek out and develop relationships with relevant prime contractors. It is also not uncommon for prime contractors to advertise for sub-contractors when they are bidding, so watch for such opportunities. Be proactive and market your business to the right people, including government, to reinforce your name and reputation, to assist in developing strong and lasting links with your clients. The State Government purchases approximately $5 billion worth of goods and services each year. Supplying to government can open many doors for a small business, including providing excellent credentials to compete for overseas sales. The Government is also a reliable purchaser and is required to pay its suppliers within 30 days. But, as the Government uses different processes to purchase goods and services, compared to the private sector, it is a good idea to get to know these processes. The Government Electronic Marketplace (GEM) provides a central point to access information on how to do business with government. GEM Tendering at www.gem.wa.gov.au is where government tenders are advertised. Information on upcoming tenders can be accessed, tender documents downloaded and tender results viewed. If a bid is unsuccessful, tenderers can request a post-tender debriefing with the person nominated in the notification letter they receive. The information gained from such a debriefing will be valuable when completing future tenders. The Small Business Development Corporation is funded by the WA Government to deliver small business guidance, information and assistance to new and existing small businesses, monitoring and commenting on policies and legislation that impacts on the growth and development of the small business sector in the state. Contact the Small Business Development Corporation on 131BIZ (131249) or visit www.sbdc.com.au.

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