It would be fair to say that SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) are pioneers when it comes to delivering a personalised, tailored service to the customer. Whilst business growth is essential for any sized company, it is particularly important for SMEs to grow and utilise effectively the smaller scale resources they have.
In the past and present I have worked for SMEs. I give custom to SMEs and, most importantly, I network with SMEs and get to know more about them. As a people-person, I always take a genuine interest in who I meet and what their business does. I have been very fortunate to network recently with a variety of innovative small business owners from different sectors.
When the conversation turns to business development and bidding in order to enable their growth, I am always pro-actively thinking – “How I can help them?” This question always sits with me in the background as I am listening. I find there can be real panic in the eyes of some SME owners when the conversation on bidding further progresses. This person before me, who gives such a personalised service to their customer, feels depersonalised by the bidding process.
Why is this?
3 reasons why SMEs are not bidding
- Academic nature of bidding can be intimidating to SMEs
Specialist SME businesses such as plumbers, joiners, tree surgeons etc. are so skilled when it comes to doing their job – the ‘hard graft’ aspect, however, when it comes to pulling this expertise into a formal document and selling themselves, this can prove difficult, frustrating and intimidating. The phrase often heard is “I’m just a one man band; I don’t know what they (the buyer) are asking for”. Additionally, PQQ and tender level of detail: Whether you’re an SME or a FTSE 100 company, the level of detail required for the buyer can often be the same. Some of the qualifications / policies they are asking for may be what your organisation doesn’t have and largely irrelevant to the contract / your size of business. “We don’t have that, so what’s the point?” can be how a business owner can feel.
- Cost involved to bid
As a SME, any days taken out of the office for training and writing proposals for anyone other than a paying client is time in which you’re not earning money. With smaller scale resources, every commissioned piece of work counts. So the hours / days involved in putting together a bid can seem off-putting. The phrase often heard is “I can’t afford to bid”.
- Low previous success rate
The SME owner has been plucky and attempted to pull together a bid proposal with very little resources or support, however, the bid has come back with a low score and therefore hasn’t been won. They’re feeling deflated and say “we’re unlikely to go through all that again”.
What are the solutions to these problems?
3 solutions to these problems
- Attend the fantastic Supplier Development Programme (SDP) webinars and events. I attended a great ‘Introduction to Working in the Public Sector’ training event yesterday and I am booked in to attend further webinars. Further information is available at: www.sdpscotland.co.uk/events-training/
- Set up alerts with Public Contracts Scotland and schedule in time to visit the website and seek out viable contracts: www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/
- Bring in bid assistance: Here at AM Bid Services, we empathise with the position you may be / are in and exist to use our extensive expertise to take this hassle and uncertainty out the bidding process for you. We are delighted to assist SMEs and all sized companies on their journey to securing long-term contracts. For more information on the services we provide, please see our website: www.ambidservices.co.uk/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dane is a recent addition to Bidding and has a strong desire and drive to help people grow their businesses through successful bids and proposals. He has a PR and Marketing background, with a BA (Hons) in PR & Marketing (2:1) from Queen Margaret University.
His specialties are:
- Writing compelling content (Bids, Websites; Newsletters, Articles, etc.)
- Creating engaging social media content
- Seeking out viable promotional opportunities for business
- Effective networking and partnership building