5 mistakes to avoid when tendering to the public sector

So, you have received a tender alert for a contract that is suited to your business – great news! Now it is time for you to get your head down and start to write your bid.

Time and time again, however, suppliers make the same mistakes that cost them valuable contracts.

As Supply2Gov aims to help SME businesses get started successfully with procurement, we have taken the time to collate a list of the 5 top mistakes suppliers should avoid when tendering.

Read what you should not do when tendering below.


Not engaging with buyers

Many suppliers think that they cannot get in touch with the buyer during the tender process – this is a myth. In fact, the earlier you engage with buyers the better.

In an interview with Supply2Gov, PASS Procurement Principal Consultant Eddie Regan advises that smaller businesses attend ‘Meet the Buyer days’. This type of event provides suppliers with face to face networking opportunities where they can find out more about up and coming contracts that may be relevant to the products or services they provide.


Forgetting to read the tender specification completely

It’s as simple as that really. Many suppliers dive in head first, without reading all about what the buyer’s needs are.

It is important that your business understands the tender specification before you begin to complete your bid. If you think that your business lacks the capacity or resources to complete the task then there is little point in going after that specific tender.

The best advice for SMEs looking to work with the public sector is to choose your contracts carefully – be realistic.


Not answering all the questions

Many suppliers make the mistake of not answering all the questions the tender document poses. If you are unsure or confused by any question it is important that you get in touch with the buyer – chances are another supplier could be thinking the same thing!

If you do NOT answer all the questions then your tender will be marked as incomplete; this will eliminate your bid right away, wasting all of the time you have spent writing it.


Leaving it to the last minute

Do not leave bid writing to the very last minute. It is important that your bid is checked by at least one other person in your organisation. Give yourself enough time to check over your answers, spelling and grammar.

You must also check that everything that needs to be signed is signed; forgetting to do this will render your bid void, meaning all your hard work will have gone to waste.


Late submissions

Under no circumstances will the public sector consider your bid if it has been handed in late. Make sure that you have all your answers and references sent away and uploaded to the tender box with plenty of time to spare – the last thing you would want is for the eProcurement system to fail or crash when you need it most!


Ready to tender now?

Now you know what NOT to do, you can begin to look for contracts using Supply2Gov.

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Procurement Do's and Don'ts

If you’re new to tendering in the public sector, it can be a little daunting at times. There’s a lot to consider when putting together your procurement bid, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. The UK Government spends around £242 billion on goods and services every year and you don’t want to miss out on that kind of action!

So, what are the key things for you to remember and to avoid when starting the tendering process with public sector buyers?

Download our list of public sector procurement do’s and don’ts below.

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It is a misperception that only larger businesses can win public sector tenders; in fact the UK Government is committed to working even more with successful SME businesses.

This is nothing new. In 2015 the Government set a target to spend £1 in every £3 with small businesses by 2020, aiming that its procurement spend goes to small and medium-sized firms directly or through the supply chain.

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