- What is tendering?
- Why is tendering so important?
- Who is tendering?
- Why use a tender website?
- The 7 things that make for a good tender website.
What is tendering?
Tendering is an excellent and essential tactic for developing a business and expanding your outreach as a company. Tendering comes in three main forms, open tenders, selective tenders, and negotiated tenders. You can find out more about these specific types of tenders on our blog here.
Tendering is when a public sector company is searching for goods or services and releases this to tender. This means they open up the opportunity for relevant businesses to respond to this need and establish a business relationship, finding the best fit for their needs and goals as a public sector organisation. It is an incredibly lucrative way for businesses to expand their reach and increase their yield, this is aided by the fact the public sector spends an estimated £284 billion a year on outside goods and services meaning there are plenty of opportunities within tendering.
Why is tendering so important?
Tendering crucially allows your business to secure contracts from new buyers and organisations that may not have initially been on your radar as a business. This is why tendering is such an excellent tool for business growth, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking for expansion and new business relationships.
Tendering allows a business to expand from the comfort of their own offices or even working from home, something which is increasingly important as the COVID-19 pandemic has minimised the opportunities for face-to-face business interactions and entertaining potential new clients. This allows you to quickly and easily expand your outreach as a business and establish lasting working relationships with other companies, feeding into business growth. Find out more here.
Who is tendering?
Tendering is incredibly diverse and many different businesses in a number of sectors and industries are using tendering to establish the best working relationships for their activities. It is predominantly used by public sector businesses and organisations (think the NHS, schools, local and national government) but some private companies will also opt for tendering, especially if they are particularly large. A majority of the tenders displayed on tender websites will be open tenders.
Tendering is used by businesses involved in a number of industries such as:
- Facility Management (cleaning, landscaping, pest control, and security companies)
- Healthcare (medical supplies, equipment, technology, and PPE, recruitment, and care in various industries)
- Technology (website development, software, security systems, hardware, IT support)
- Consultancy and education (training, project management, apprenticeships, business support)
- Human Resources (training, management, recruitment)
- Logistics (transport, recycling, couriers, public transport)
- Hospitality (catering, laundry, school meals, catering equipment)
- Finance (tax, accountancy, VAT, insurance, investment, payroll)
- Construction (brickwork, scaffolding, electronics, demolition, surveying, civil engineering)
- Creative industries (website development, PR, video production, design, print work, and events)
Why use a tender website?
While tendering is exciting and useful for a growing business, it can also take a lot of time and effort for a business to find and shortlist tenders that appropriately fit what they do and who they want to work with. A good tender website takes out the guesswork and trims down the sea of tender contracts to find the best ones to fit you. Finding tenders is an excellent way for an SME to develop and expand but searching for one that fits with you can take a long time, and divert productivity away from other key duties you may have, so cutting out a lot of the grunt work by using tender websites is a great way to make the most of new opportunities without spending countless hours tracking these opportunities down.
Tender websites can also present potential tenders to you that would otherwise have passed you by and collect all of the potential tenders you could bid for in one place. This allows you to then more carefully consider which will fit your business and allow you to have a more streamlined process when it comes to finding tenders for your business. Further tender websites can present tenders to you with clarity, something all businesses can appreciate amidst the confusion some may be experiencing due to Brexit. Find out more about how Brexit has impacted tendering here.
The 7 things that make for a good tender website.
1. Email alerts: The main reason to use a tender website is to cut down on the time a business spends searching for tenders and streamlining which opportunities are presented to a business. The best tender websites will not only allow you to search for tenders through their platform but will actively send you relevant tenders to you directly through email and further minimise the amount of time spent manually searching for tenders that will fit well with your business. For some tender websites this is likely to be an additional paid feature but some will provide this service for free or part of a more general membership fee.
2. On-hand support and account management: The best tendering websites will have a framework of support to make the process of tendering easier. Even people who are experienced with tendering will find the process can be confusing or need additional support to guide you through the process or answer questions you have. Some of the best tender websites will have support staff or resources available to alleviate the confusion involved in the process. Staff connected to a tendering website can advise you on how to maximise the services they offer, direct you to resources for bid writing support, and other similar services to help you make the most of a tendering website.
3. Filters: Filtering is a seriously important part of cutting down the time spent hunting for tenders for a business, and the best tender websites will have them available to its users. Filters to narrow the pool of tenders by keyword, budget, industry, or location saves you lots of time in finding tenders and allows you to put more focus into perfecting the process of pursuing a tender. Filtering is necessary for making the most of a tender website and utilising them as a tool for making the most of the opportunity for growth and lucrative business relationships that tendering offers.
4. No reliance on CPVs: Some tender sites will use CPVs (common procurement vocabulary) which are 8 digit codes used to track tendering opportunities from buyers to explain what they are procuring. CPVs can channel great contracts and direct you to buyers looking for your goods and services but they can also be plagued with inaccuracies and errors. This can result in excellent opportunities falling through the cracks and your business missing out. The most effective tender sites will not be dependent upon CPVs but will instead manually upload their tenders to their platform and track them to ensure the information presented is accurate and useful to users.
5. Diversity: If you are a business looking for lots of avenues for growth or cover a lot of different goods and services that potential customers can access then a site which offers a lot of diversity will be a great option for you. Many good tender websites will have a wide range of businesses offering diversity in the tenders you can search for and review. The best tender websites will have a mixture of public and private sector tender contracts that you can look through, this is important because a diverse range of tenders is key for dynamic growth for SMEs. Diversity is also essential for moving into new markets and finding new niches to fill as a business.
6. Specialism: For certain sectors of business such as construction, facility management, and financial services, a whole host of specialised tender websites have emerged which take the guesswork out of finding the right site for you. These specialist sites can be the ideal fit for a business because while they may have a smaller number of tenders displayed to you, if the focus of a specialist site lines up with what you do there is a higher likelihood that a greater portion of the tenders displayed will be ones you are interested in pursuing.
7. Affordability: Many tender websites are entirely or partially free of cost and will give business access to their roster of tenders free of charge, allowing a business with limited budgets to still access new opportunities. On the other hand some tender websites will offer you the full extent of their services for a fee, and often for a business this is a worthwhile expense as a lucrative tender contract can break even any cost used on signing up for paid features on tender websites. It is important to ensure that if you are using a paid service that the website is going to work well for you and fits your needs as a business. If a tender website is going to become a major part of how your SME expands it is essential that it is going to provide you with the necessary tenders that you as a business can bid for and have a chance of successfully securing. It is for this reason a good tender website is one that can give you good value for money and be justifiable as a business expense instead of something that burns a hole in your pocket.