Interview on procurement training

Supply2Gov caught up with Principal PASS Consultant Eddie Regan to discuss how micro businesses can get started with public procurement.

What can a micro business do to stand out against businesses with more experience?

Small businesses and micro businesses must identify markets that are suitable for them. It is important that you identify the market, find the niche and have something that buyers are looking for.

If your business does not have a product or service that is unique, chances are that the public sector will not give you a contract that is over twice your turnover, especially if you are a start-up that cannot prove what your turnover is in your first year. The public sector is risk-adverse. It tends not to take risks when it doesn’t have to.

The market does not have to be niche, it just can’t be flooded. A new stationary business has a slim chance of working with the public sector in its first three or four years as it will be up against thousands of more experienced businesses. Your business must build a reputation.

If your micro business is a specialised tech company, providing technology that the NHS or MOD wants, there is potential for your business to succeed even six months in as there are opportunities in the market.

For example, there are only four MRI scanner suppliers that the NHS will work with; if a fifth one came onto the market then it is likely that opportunities will open up as the market will become more competitive, driving down some of the costs for buyers.

What type of training would you recommend for micro businesses looking for public sector work?

I would suggest that they think about courses that will teach them what the tendering process is, what the selection questionnaire looks like and entails, and what the overarching requirements in procurement are.

Going to a bid-writing course is all very well, but you must have knowledge of the public sector marketplace before you do that.

Suppliers should try to understand what the buyer is looking for. “Added value” is an incredibly important part of the selection questionnaire but suppliers often ask, “what does that mean?”.

This section is the part where you can promote what your business does. For example, if your business supplies equipment, mention in the Added Value section if your business will fit it for free.

This is the kind of thing the public sector is looking for, and it may be something your business won’t think twice about doing.

That’s just one example and it is something that suppliers need to get a hand on.


Principle PASS consultant
Eddie Regan at Procurex Wales 2017


Are procurement events important to smaller businesses?

Meet the Buyer Days are extremely important – if you get the chance, start going to them, even just to make contacts. Attending events is a fantastic way to get your name out there and will give you the chance to start conversations with public sector buyers.


Where is a good place to start for smaller businesses that want to bid for government contracts?

First stop is to look at the selection questionnaire and see what is required by that document. After that, it becomes market-specific.

We do a training course called “Bid Prepare” where we spend an entire day with a business, going through a checklist of all the things their market requires. A consultant will talk them through the process and help them to gather everything they need to prepare for the tender process. We review the business’s policies and make sure that they are fit for purpose.


Any final advice?

Stop waiting for the opportunity and start looking for the opportunity.

Stop waiting for a particular contract to drop onto your lap and start looking for other contracts that may be valuable to your business. We have had clients over the years who have done this and they have been extremely successful as a result.


Eddie - Pass Procurement Principle

Can you give us any examples of this?

Many years ago we had a client that supplied workstations, long before public sector organisations advertised for workstations. So they went knocking on the doors of government buyers. Every time they saw a public sector IT contract come up, they contacted the organisation looking for the IT equipment asking them if they also needed workstations.

After a trial with a local government department, the department liked the workstations so much that they signed a contract with the client. From there they expanded and secured work with local government departments across the country. It started a market.

We had another player in the marketplace that supplied recycled toner, long before anyone else was doing it. They looked for every photocopier contract and they went knocking on doors. People started to open those doors and realised the savings that could be made. At that time, no one advertised for recycled toner, and this is the way small businesses must think.

It all goes to show that there are lots of opportunities out there for small businesses.


Introduction to Procurement

Visit the Supply2Gov blog for weekly procurement updates and tips for businesses looking to get started with procurement.

If you would like to find out more information about procurement training, visit the PASS Procurement website.

Low value tenders

In 2016, there were 414,000 business births in the UK. With such high rates, how can your business find opportunities that it can grow from?

Working with and supplying to the public sector can help your business expand its customer base. The public sector marketplace is extremely attractive due to the number of low value tender opportunities that are available; and now more than ever before, the UK Government is opening up bidding opportunities to micro and small businesses.

Finding opportunities in this lucrative market is often the hard part. However, Supply2Gov has a database of low value tenders across the UK and Republic of Ireland that are available to bid for right now.

Before you start bidding, find out more about low value tenders below.


Low value, low competition

Bidding for low value tenders is something that your competitors may not have thought about – and with lower competition, your business stands a better chance of winning such tender opportunities.

Low value tenders give sole traders and micro businesses the chance to win work with the public sector, and in most cases multinational companies (MNCs) are unlikely to bid for these opportunities. This opens the door for micro businesses to bid and win.

Tenders below the value of the public procurement thresholds are not carried in the OJEU. Public procurement regulations mean that if a tender value is under the threshold published, the public sector body awarding it does not need to advertise in the OJEU; this reduces the number of potential companies who are aware of the opportunity.


More opportunities

Although low value tenders may not bring in as much money as higher value tenders, suppliers may be able to complete more such tenders within a given period than they would completing just one high value opportunity.

In most cases with low value tenders, the timespan of the contract will be shorter than an OJEU notice. An OJEU tender could last as long as four years before it needs to be retendered. As for low value tenders, they could be as short as one year; and even if you do not win the first time round, you can easily prepare and bid again in such a brief period.


Tender alerts for micro businesses

Having limited resources is a problem that faces many micro businesses and sole traders, and it is often the reason why they do not have sufficient time to seek out public sector contracts that are suited to their business.

If you are always missing out on low value tender opportunities, setting up to receive tender alerts will be the most efficient way of finding public sector contracts for your micro business.

Supply2Gov offers a tender alerts service to its customers, giving them the option of four different subscription levels. Our researchers monitor over 3000 sources and we help organisations find business opportunities that are relevant to them.


How to get started with low value tenders

You can register for free today and set your preferences in your Supplier Profile. This will reduce the time you spend looking for relevant contract opportunities and will allow the opportunities to come to you.

Find out how you can gain instant access to opportunities in the area, region or country of your choice here.








How Supply2Gov works video main image

We are very proud to announce that Supply2Gov Tenders UK has officially launched, meaning your business’ procurement plan just got even easier!

Explore the brand-new website here and discover exactly how we aim to help you FIND new opportunities, WIN more tenders and GROW your business.

We make business growth easier for small businesses

We know time is precious for busy sole traders and micro businesses, so we’ve designed Supply2Gov to make your life easier. Through our unique daily tender alerts, matched opportunities and intuitive searches, we make sure you spend your time winning new business instead of looking for it.

Super-powered public sector database

Supply2Gov has the UK’s largest database of public sector contracts and opportunities. We publish more tenders than even the Government’s own national contract services! What’s more, we put all our contract information in one simple to use place for you and only send you alerts for opportunities relevant to your business needs.

Help and support when you want it

Through jargon-free guides, easy to follow webinars, and countless other benefits, we support you throughout the entire tendering process in our Resource Centre, providing help and guidance whenever you need it.

Want to know more about how Supply2Gov works? Watch our short video!

Register on the new Supply2Gov website for free  here and get ready to FIND, WIN and GROW.

Supply2Gov Superhero with city in background


Superhero comics, films and television programmes have taught us numerous lessons over the years, the most important one being that no matter how strong, clever or old you are, you never stop learning.

This theory can be applied to getting involved in public sector procurement for small businesses. Getting started can seem daunting but just like Superman and Wonder Woman, you have to start somewhere.

Knowledge is power and having the right intelligence will help you to capture all the contracts that are available for your business.

Find out how you can release Supply2Gov superpowers below.


Have a “Hawkeye” for tender opportunities

Knowing where to look is the first step to becoming the superhero of your company. You can use our platform to search for tenders in your chosen area.

The Avengers would not be complete without the skills of a true marksman – remember, if you don’t shoot, then you do not score.  Register for free today and receive tender alerts that are suitable for sole traders and micro/small businesses.


Find tenders in a flash

As the old saying goes, ‘if you’re not fast, you’re last” and in the world of business, poor timing can be costly.

Staying up to date is a battle for new public sector suppliers. Many sole traders and micro businesses miss opportunities when they are searching for tenders, simply because of the sheer volume of sources out there.

Our speedy researchers look for opportunities across the UK every day, something that many businesses do not have the time or resources for. Just think of Supply2Gov as the Flash in your Justice League!


Hammer the competition

Take action and your business will soar ahead of any competition, even larger players in the market.  Every great superhero needs to prepare for their first challenge and with Supply2Gov, you are sure to learn more about procurement and train for the marketplace.

Subscribing to our website means you will never miss the latest in procurement news. The more that you familiarise yourself with procurement terms and regulations, the better your bids will be. Before you know it, you will be the expert and you will start to win contract opportunities!


hammer the competition

Get help from a Supply2Gov sidekick

Where would Batman be without Robin? Every great hero has a sidekick who is always conveniently there in their time of need.

If you want support or advice on how to get started, get in touch with a member of our expert procurement team. We can help you to get your head around all aspects of procurement – which is why we have also added an FAQs section on our support page.


Save the day

Superman wouldn’t think twice about signing up for a free Supply2Gov account. Let your micro/small business fly high and before you know it your business will grow from strength to strength.

We love happy endings and that is why we have tailored packages for micro businesses at every stage. Whether you are looking for tenders in your local area, region or across the UK and ROI we have a pricing package suitable.

Make powerful decisions with Supply2Gov. Start for free today.

A guide on key public sector procurement terminology

Whatever stage your business is at, it is never too early to consider bidding for public sector tenders. However, many small businesses find the process daunting. One of the most intimidating things, which stops many micro businesses from joining the tender process, is the jargon and confusing abbreviations used by public sector buyers.

We believe that success is driven by knowledge. Therefore our aim is to break down barriers for sole traders, start-ups and small/micro sized businesses and equip you with the knowledge you need to succeed.

Our procurement experts have created an A-Z appendix of procurement terms. The Supply2Gov team hope that this will help you to understand the process better and so you can get started with public sector procurement.

 Download your full  A-Z guide to procurement

Register For Free 

Celebrating the new business year with fireworks

No more excuses – make sure that you are actively looking for tenders in 2018.

Our New Year’s resolution is to help you become the superhero of your company and win more work with the public sector.

It may sound like a cliché, but setting a goal at the beginning of the year will make you more motivated and you could end the year winning more contracts than ever before.

Read our list of New Year’s resolutions for micro and small businesses.

Improve Productivity

Whether you are a sole trader or the owner of a micro-business, this is a goal that every small business should take into 2018.

It is important that you have planned and prepared for the year ahead and, if you want to get started in public sector procurement, have key documentation ready and in place. This will help you to bid for opportunities more efficiently and effectively.

Highlight Your Achievements

Do not be afraid to blow your own trumpet. If you want to grow your business, make sure that you are highlighting your professional achievements.

When you are bidding for work with the public sector, you should always demonstrate how you have helped clients in the past. This will help you to sell your goods and services as it shows public sector buyers that you are both capable and experienced.

Ask for feedback

If you haven’t won work with the public sector in 2017, then why not?

Go into 2018 asking buyers why you have been unsuccessful. Public sector bodies are obliged to provide you with feedback within 15 days of your request.

Next time you find work that is relevant to your business, you will feel better prepared, and acting on feedback eliminates the chance that you may make the same mistake again.

Embrace technology

The days are long gone when a business would search for opportunities in the local newspaper. Embrace technology and halve the manual work that you are currently undertaking.

Technology is moving small and micro businesses forward; procurement portals like Supply2Gov can help you to find opportunities relevant to your business in specific regions. A quick and easy way to find new opportunities.

Learn about procurement

If you are new to the public sector marketplace, it will be worth your while to attend training and events in 2018.

Events like Procurex Live are held across the UK and give delegates the opportunity to attend training and networking sessions where you can learn first hand from procurement professionals.

If you would prefer intensive learning, you can also book a one-day “Introduction to Procurement” course with PASS Procurement. This would be extremely valuable to enhance your knowledge of the public sector procurement process.

Whatever way you choose to learn, you can stay up to date on the Supply2Gov website. Simply visit our resources section for all the latest procurement news for micro and small businesses.

New Year, new business

Try something new in 2018. Start with a regional subscription and you can choose to expand your subscription as your business grows.

You can sign up to Supply2Gov today for free. Start looking for tenders without paying anything at all. FREE areas include Inner London – East, Greater Manchester – South, Glasgow City and Outer Belfast.

Register Now