Navigating the tendering process as a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) is essential to expanding your business and reaching new markets and audiences. However, applying for government tenders is more challenging than many SMEs might assume, and without proper preparation, you might make some common mistakes that damage your chances of success.
Avoiding common pitfalls that SMEs make when applying for government contracts will give you more credibility in the eyes of the tenderer. It can help you secure contracts at a faster rate than your competitors. This article will help you understand and overcome mistakes made when SMEs apply for government contracts to prepare you for success and any obstacles that might come along the way. Let’s dive in!
What is a Tender Document?
An important term to understand before applying for government contracts is tender. Tender documents are integral to how you navigate contracts and which opportunities you choose to bid on–but what is a tender document in the first place?
A tender is a contract opportunity for suppliers to bid on different offerings during procurement. A tender notice is published when the UK public sector purchases goods or services. A tender document allows a supplier to provide details about how their business can meet the requirements of a specific project they choose to bid on. This document helps buyers choose qualified and suitable suppliers for the brand based on what is stated within the document and other evaluation criteria.
What Mistakes Do SMEs Make When Applying for Government Contracts?
Now that you understand what to expect from tender documents, you should consider how SMEs can make mistakes during the application process. As you approach government tenders, consider the following pitfalls that could disrupt your progress.
Failing to Demonstrate Value for Money
The top consideration of any procurer is how well you can provide them with the best value for money. Government tenders prioritise finding suppliers with high-quality and valuable products for the lowest possible outlay, meaning that these tenders can become highly competitive. You must show buyers why your product is preferable to outshine your competition.
Therefore, if your product or service is only slightly better than the competition, but your prices are significantly higher, it’s unlikely that you’ll be selected for a government contract. Ensure that you have the perfect balance to secure a contract.
Failing to Answer All of the Questions on a Tender Document
Tender documents should be managed carefully to ensure you’ve completed all the questions necessary to be awarded a contract. Many SMEs find themselves confused by specific questions and skip over them instead of contacting the buyer, making it impossible to receive the contract they’re hoping for.
If you fail to answer all the questions on your tender document, your tender will be considered incomplete, and your bid will be instantly rejected. Bottom line? If you aren’t sure, don’t return to it later–address it now to guarantee that your document will be valid.
Bidding on Every Project
Not all government contracts will suit your niche, which is okay. While you might feel tempted to work with any agency that will assist your organisation, bidding on unsuitable projects is, more often than not, a waste of valuable time you could use to find projects that you’re likely to be awarded contracts.
Selecting the best opportunities will help sustain your business by ensuring you only select projects you can realistically meet expectations. If you aren’t positive that your business can meet a project’s specifications, sit back and wait until you find a tender notice that you can confidently deliver on.
Missing the Submission Deadline
If you fail to submit your completed tender document by the buyer’s deadline, your bid won’t be considered. While you might think leaving your bid until the last minute is okay, this can have detrimental consequences. For instance, if you’re submitting electronically but your connection goes out, you won’t be able to make an offer. Similarly, if you rush into your submission without having someone else look it over, you’ll likely face rejection due to small, easily overlooked mistakes you can only identify through proofreading.
Your Valuation is Misguided
Bidding too high or too low on a government tender might throw your application into the trash before it has a real chance of success. Setting a proper valuation for your goods and services ensures that the procurer takes you and your organisation seriously.
Be careful whenever you price your products. Overbidding is almost sure to get your proposal ignored by the buyer, no matter how effective your product is compared to its competitors. Underbidding might seem like a wiser idea–however, if you underbid too much, the government agency might consider your product risky and unrealistically cheap, eliminating the level of trust necessary for a successful contract partnership.
Always research your market and competitors to determine the wisest price to place your products at. The more reasonably priced your offerings are, the likelier they’ll be taken seriously.
Tips to Overcome Common Pitfalls
Understanding the mistakes mentioned above is the first step to creating a convincing tendering document and receiving a government contract. Depending on the type of tender you’re looking to receive, you might take different approaches. However, whether you’re interested in construction contracts, cleaning tenders, or becoming a healthcare supplier, there are a few standard tips to remember to avoid and overcome common pitfalls. Always keep in mind the following as you start the government contracting process:
- Research the specific government agency before you submit your tendering document.
- Review the requirements numerous times to ensure you meet all criteria, deadlines, and deliverables on time.
- Always highlight your competitive advantage, including your experience, performance, and unique capabilities that help your organisation stand out.
- Mark all deadlines to avoid missing submissions.
- Build relationships with procurement officers to set a foundation for future success by participating in networking opportunities and following up with procurement officers after you apply.
Secure Contracts With Supply2Gov
To meet their contracting needs, SMEs looking for tendering opportunities in the public sector can turn to expert services from Supply2Gov. Avoiding the common mistakes and pitfalls that SMEs make when applying for government contracts is easy with guidance from Supply2Gov’s resources.
Supply2Gov helps businesses of all sizes discover and win government contracts. Register for free today with Supply2Gov to learn how to overcome obstacles and beat the competition.