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Bid Writing – To bid or not to bid?

Bid Writing – To bid or not to bid?

THAT is the question! … Right?

Many factors may affect your decision to either bid or not bid for a contract. Rather than making it a gruelling and drawn out tender process, keep it simple.

We have put together a few checklist points, which you can use to determine an answer to the age-old question of tendering – to bid or not to bid?

CHECKLIST

Have you got 3 ideal case studies?
These are to be similar in scope, value and scale etc.
Is it right for you?
Look at the size, scope, location, specification – carefully assess the work – don’t be bidding for work in Uganda if you can’t deliver there
Is it financially viable?
Is it worth it? – would you be making a profit?
Do you meet the financial standing?
The golden rule is that you shouldn’t bid for a contract that is worth more than 50% of your annual turnover
Do you offer something unique in the market?
Look at your organisation’s USPs– what can you do that your competitors can’t?
Does this fit in with a long-term strategy?
Will this help expansion and fit into key goals for your company?
Do you need to outsource any work?
If so, how much? If it’s more than 50% why should you be chosen over other prime deliverers?
Does your company have the ability to deliver the project on paper?
Check your team CVs – is the experience and capability there?
Do you have time?
Do you require support? Can you afford to commit the time, effort and cost?
Would you choose yourself for this?
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes – would you offer your company the workload compared to your competitors? How good can you put your offering across on paper?

How we can help further…

These are just a few examples of what you can ask yourself when deciding to bid or not to bid for a contract in your sector. We can help you decide via a highly effective and simple tender-readiness exercise our company provides, along with writing services, tender/procurement training and the best opportunity tracking around via industry-specific portals!

We don’t just look at the fact whether you should bid or not bid for any project but take into consideration your current practices, policies and written documentation to see if this sufficient against tender-specific requirements. It’s all well and good deciding to bid for a project/contract, but if you don’t have adequate processes, manuals and method statements etc., this will undoubtedly be your downfall. Make sure you’re fully ready to go!

Take the hassle out of the bid decision-making process and go for what is right for YOU!

Let us help you get there and ultimately make you grow, develop and standout!

Get in touch!

The Rules and Regulations when Tendering!

The Rules and Regulations when Tendering

Procurement: – The aspect of a business that many organisations wish was easier.

Buyers in the public sector, such as housing associations, councils, and other relevant government departments are dealing with public money. Our taxes! So, therefore, all that is procured must be done so in the fairest and most transparent ways possible.

If any conflicts of interest and/or other bias proceedings occur when tendering, there can be serious consequences to this. Especially with buyers paying massive fines and/or representatives facing prison time. The way in which procurement departments procure all works in the fairest way possible is called ‘sourcing the most economically advantageous tender’ (MEAT). This is usually established via an open process:

Open Process

Open to all organisations to submit a tender. On large projects, this may involve a pre-qualification process (PQQ) that results in a list of suitable suppliers who will be invited to tender (ITT). This open approach usually results in a large number of responses of varying suitability (i.e. both large companies AND SMEs).

It has been noted that more needs to be done to ensure ALL organisations are familiar with the ‘open process’ of tendering and the rules and regulations behind it. Hudson Procurement Group are here to do just that! Our aim is to improve the nation’s understanding of the broad term that is Procurement and eliminate the worries and qualms of managing tender processes by providing lucrative guidance and advice to ALL.

Our focus here is purely based on how the rules of public sector tendering via an open process can affect you and what can be done to ensure you’re at the top of your game:

Each UK public sector buyer is obliged by EU law to:

  • publish the contract opportunity in the public domain – our industry-specific portals (incl. Creative Tenders, and Technology Tenders to name a few) are the first of its kind to have manual daily bulletins processed/disseminated by an efficient team of people, rather than [mostly] flawed algorithms via automated systems used by ALL our competitors;
  • inform all suppliers of how tenders are to be evaluated – 95% of the time this is split between a quality and a commercial ratio (sometimes including a presentation stage too) – outline your tender strategy/focuses here – is 80% of the mark purely based on cost – are your rates competitive?
  • ask for whatever they feel is relevant to the opportunity – this could be method statements, evidence of past work, policies and written procedures – are you up to date with all background content – you don’t want to spend another 2 whole days creating a new policy from scratch- this minimises time from your actual tender response;
  • not discriminate against businesses registered in another EU country– so currently you may be up against your French competitors or other EU companies that are trying to make their mark in the UK – know your market – how do YOU stand out?
  • clearly, state all deadlines – this includes deadline to ask clarification questions & deadline for submission etc. Organise your time wisely based on this!
  • provide at least a 10-day standstill period – this is the period between contract award notification and actual contract award, allowing other suppliers the opportunity to contest/dispute the decision[s] made;

What will change in the coming years?

As we all know, some sort of changes may likely occur over time due to the whole Brexit saga and we will be the first to update you on how this affects you! For now, there has been no immediate impact on the legislative position in the UK and all the provisions listed above continue to apply!

These are just a few regulations in a very large pond filled with procurement jargon. Our upcoming Tender VLE service will ensure this jargon is broken down and shared via understanding methods and practice. The days of wishing procurement were easier are now over! Watch this space!

In Development – Tender VLE

In Development – Tender VLE

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a one-stop shop for all your tender needs?

How about a shop that doesn’t charge and provides access to ongoing training, advice and guidance weekly?

3 words: LOOK NO FURTHER.

Here at Hudson Procurement Group we are proud to announce the launch of Tender VLE. 

A fantastic and engaging virtual learning environment which provides ongoing support, both with bid writing and procurement, TO EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, FOR FREE!

With hundreds of subscribers already established on our innovative sector-specific platforms, one thing has become well known to us. This is that the majority of our customers require additional tender support from time to time. Our platforms currently allow customers to view opportunities that are not only specific to their sector, but specific to their exact service. We do this through daily bulletins manually created by internal staff, meaning opportunities are scoured across the country daily to ensure exact matches are ALWAYS listed.

This is proving extremely successful and highly desired by all clients. But, now it’s time to start acting on these opportunities and dealing with what most would describe as the ‘pain of procurement’ – writing a tender!

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 17.02.35

ENTER Tender VLE

Tender VLE is a video-based e-learning platform that allows YOU to get up to speed with how tendering works. It also runs you through how YOU can maximise these opportunities by developing knowledge further in this field. It’s important now, more than ever to develop your skillset and embrace tendering rather than shy away from it.

We understand that video content is at its height, and there is a surprisingly low amount of knowledge-based tendering information available online. For these reasons, we will be using highly engaging video material in all learning sessions. This will be accompanied by a written ‘how-to’ guides so that we cater for the masses.

We’ve invested in the development of this product because our customers need it. We act quickly on customer requests and believe the easiest way to share knowledge far and wide is via online video master-classes. We’ve also decided to provide this content for free!

We won’t charge to grow and develop the UK economy. We hope that within the next couple of years we are able to develop an accredited version of our training to widen opportunity routes into writing for businesses, allowing a structured landscape for tender education.

Our launch date is May 2018 – be prepared to grow, develop and stand out with the best tender training available!

Tender Writing – HELP! I need somebody – HELP! not just anybody

Tender Writing – HELP! I need somebody – HELP! Not just anybody

HELP! I need somebody – HELP! not just anybody

The number one mechanism that puts off business leaders and development executives from getting help with bidding for work- is the sheer prices that many consultants charge for their expertise and support. We all have received that email from some portal, inviting you to attend ‘Bid Writing Masterclasses’ in a swanky conference suite, usually a million miles away for around £100 per ticket per day.

There was nearly £171 Billion spent within the UK’s public procurement sector in the last year alone. Why should companies pay for help in order to access this money? Who wants to pay over the odds for some helpful guidance? – especially when there are various options available … FOR FREE!

Tender VLE

In May 2018, we will be launching Tender VLE, a highly innovative virtual learning environment (VLE), where we will be sharing regular masterclass videos across a diverse range of procurement topics, including support and guidance around tender readiness, bid management and pretty much every procurement practice you can think of. This will be broken into various knowledge strands so that people with the most limited knowledge and those with advanced knowledge can receive the best help and guidance to succeed. The best part of all this – is that it comes at no cost to the learner/viewer. All videos will be made publically available on our VLE and onto the likes of YouTube, allowing unlimited access to ALL.

Tender Consultants

Additional to this online support, another one of our business development platforms, Tender Consultants, works with you on a more personal level to ensure a helping hand is always there when needed. Currently, procurement is far from being easy. Our mission is to de-complicate the sector so it remains simple for all buyers and suppliers across the country. Our firm is different from other consultancies, as we offer free impartial advice on your procurement strategy. Subsequent to our advice, you can then decide what kind of support you need. Whether this be our Tender Readiness Assessment? Tender Writing Service? and/or Guide and Reviews? etc. All services on offer are accustomed to your needs, meaning we do not overcharge or maintain bulk rates. We offer more than affordable consultancy rates that remain specific to your requirements and will only enhance your chances of winning.

Our upcoming Tender Bank system, launching within the next year, will also provide customers with a one-stop-shop for all of their tender needs, including templates, pre-established responses that are tailored to your sector and varying policies.

In the meantime, we are happy to provide whatever support you need. Contact us for free advice and consultations on your tendering efforts. Let’s get you some of that £171 Billion up for grabs! Don’t just use anybody – use the right body! Use Hudson Procurement Group!

Believe you can and you WILL, Believe you can’t and you WON’T

Believe you can and you WILL, Believe you can’t and you WON’T

You know what they say – believers are achievers!

Corny I know, but the principle DOES apply when tender writing. You can never just hit it and hope for the best – this isn’t snooker! Each piece of work you bid for should have been accurately assessed to make sure this is a good opportunity for your business (see our ‘to bid or not to bid’ blog for further information).

The point is, you have to go in fully prepped with the clear mindset of achieving this piece of work. If you are not fully confident that you can win the work, then don’t bid for it. Simple.

If you feel you are in with a good shot – then make sure any doubts or reservations are left at the door, as you don’t want these to be identified by the evaluator.

Remember to be descriptive, be assertive, but most importantly be positive!

You should:

  • use phrases like ‘We will …’ – no one cares you if you are attempting to do something – this is your piece of work – be confident and state you WILL deliver all that’s expected;
  • demonstrate your willingness to adapt, conform and collaborate with the buyer – always demonstrate further added value and what more you can do for the buyer – think of the positive effects this has socially and economically;
  • validate your company – describe not only what makes you different, but what makes you BETTER? Explain clearly why the buyer should choose you and not your competitors – why do YOU stand out?

You’ll find that if you’re below 80% sure to whether or not you should bid for the contract – this tends to show less confidence on paper. The better the opportunity that is right for you, the better your proposal will be projected. Unbeknownst to many, on a subconscious level, if we believe we are NOT destined to win the work, we will in many ways lag behind our competitors in that all-important tender.

Never go for any opportunity! Always go for the ones you believe in!

Get in touch with our bid writers today. We can help you believe what’s best for you!

New Facebook Business Update – How this affects you?

New Facebook Business Update – How this affects you?

Can you hear that?

That’s the sound of creative agencies everywhere gasping at the recent news that Mark Zuckerberg wants to make Facebook’s news feed more ‘meaningful’ and ‘personal’.

One of Facebook’s biggest “focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.”

This is the opening line in Mark’s latest monologue, posted on 11th January, where he states that consumer research has led them to the realisation “that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other”.

With changes already underway as of last year, Mark has promised all Facebook users that within a few months’ time “you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups’ and seeing “less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media”.

Apparently, this research has resulted from various studies carried out, including that on mental health and social media, in which Mark states “when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being […] we can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long-term measures of happiness and health.”

Facebook Business

So, how will you be affected?

The Creative Industry will undoubtedly be hit the hardest, due to many core services being the management of Social Media. Of course, we still have the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. But Facebook, as many will know, is key into retaining new customers and serves a great platform for consumer interactivity. With less and less engagement toward Facebook by the end of 2018, is this the beginning of the end for Facebook targeted ads? Or are prices going to seriously rise in order to pull your content through to your engaged audience? This will become increasingly limited over the next few months!

Although millions of pounds have been spent by companies since Facebook’s ‘target ads’ launched have begun, it seems there will be a massive drop in the amount being spent to garner consumer and business leads through this platform going forward.

Thinking ahead…

Bad news for some businesses and consumers who don’t mind receiving the odd advertisement now and again. Engagement between businesses and audiences will be reaching an eventual all-time low by the end of the year. Mark warns us that time spent on the platform and “some measures of engagement will go down.”

It’s time to get your experts to think ahead on ways in which B2C and B2B engagement can be driven elsewhere. Make sure your strategies for both yourselves and your clients consider this vital update. Facebook goes “from focusing on helping [consumers] find relevant content, to helping [them] have more meaningful social interactions.

John Hudson – In Conversation With (Creative Tenders)

John Hudson – In Conversation With (Creative Tenders)

Why do you think Creative Tenders was an instant success?

For me the answer is simple.  We created a platform specific to the creative sector that was easy to use, wasn’t complicated like most platforms on the market and we ensured that the product does what it says on the tin.

As a business, we know how to communicate to creatives due to our sector knowledge which helped us to understand the pain points when tendering in the sector and how we should work towards minimising these through the effect build of the product.

What do you see changing in the world of procurement over the next 3 years?

More opportunities for SMEs.  The government have announced they will spend £1 in every £3 with SMEs by 2020. Coming down from £1 in every £5 which is the current standard.  An approximate £15billion will be spent annually with SMEs either directly or through the supply chain.

For this to happen I believe government need to strongly address how they buy and the scoring systems they put in place for purchase to ensure fair procurement processes with a reduction on ‘free pitching’ which is a major bug bear of directors here at Creative Tenders.

What’s your thoughts on the current procurement practices for our government?

Procurement has improved a lot since we started tendering but they still have a very long way to go.  We’re seeing a lot less handshakes and more open procurement processes with sufficient feedback for agencies to improve their tendering next time round. However, we’re still seeing horror stories and wasted pitching which needs to stop.

Feedback is business critical for agencies who tender.  They need to be able to improve to ensure tendering is a viable route to market, so we’re spending some time working with government procurement departments to fly the flag for the sector and to make sure we’re heard as a united voice.

What is your hope for the UKs creative sector?

I hope that we become the world leaders for setting creative design trends, which I believe we’re extremely strong, and that our UK businesses look Internationally for their work.  The perception of the UK design capabilities is fantastic, the US love British design so let’s embrace that and start growing our client base outside of the UK.

You’ve chosen Boston as your first US office, why is this?

Massachusetts is the closest state to the UK, so logistically it is the easiest for our commute.  We’ll need to be in the US a lot over the first 24 months so we need to think about ease of travelling and distance to New York.  We’ve recently attended Inbound in Boston, Hubspot’s event, which has a fantastic community and 20,000 businesses gather to hear what’s new in the world of inbound marketing.

America will be a challenge as there is a lot less structure in America when it comes to procurement, but our product will provide businesses with the much needed process to carefully and correctly select its suppliers.

What’s the future for Creative Tenders?

Creative Tenders has a 15-year business plan.  This business plan evolves every 3 months during our management meeting, but the core goals remain the same, just the delivery behind them evolves as technology and external factors evolve.

First, we’ll crack America and ensure the products we develop for our customers are built with the customer in mind, ensuring our core goal of growing the UKs creative sector remains at the forefront of what we do.

What can agencies expect when working with Creative Tenders?

Great customer service and a product which is easy to use that benefits our buyers.  After attending Inbound and meeting many of the world leading SaaS businesses we believe America leads the way with regards to customer service.  I know it’s a real cliché but I genuinely feel this is how we gain loyalty from our customers.

If you could explain Creative Tenders in 3 words what would you say?

Effective, simple, approachable.

 

Creative Tenders ‘In Conversation with Jill Hudson’ – Creative Tenders Website

‘In Conversation with Jill Hudson’ –  The founder of the Creative Tenders website

What is your role at Creative Tenders?

My role is quite vast, on a weekly basis I work with agencies who are struggling to see results from their tendering efforts, delivering tender training and tender writing services, as well as driving forward product innovation to ensure our group of businesses are constantly developing.

Why you think the Creative Tenders website was an instant success.

Creative Tenders was our flagship product and I thought about this business whist working in agencies and often thinking ‘there has got to be an easier way to get this information’.  I knew that if I had this trouble thousands of others would too, so I wrote a technical specification for a product which would make my job easier.

Because I knew the industry so well, having worked in it for over 15 years that the product instantly screamed success.  On the day we launched the ‘coming soon’ campaigns the phone literally rang off the hook.  We had 5 staff at the time and they were all on the phone taking calls.  As all phone lines were busy other agencies were messaging us on Facebook and email saying they couldn’t get through and wanted to speak about the product as soon as possible.  I knew then that this product would be a success.

Then when we launched, within minutes’ agencies were signing up.

What do you see changing in the world of procurement over the next 3 years?

Procurement is changing but slowly. With the growing use of technology and technical capabilities procurement portals will hopefully become more user friendly.  Most portals, in my opinion need simplifying to make it easier for agencies to navigate.  I think this is starting to get better for digital agencies with the use of Digital Market Place.

Brexit will play a huge role in procurement changes, even those who don’t realise it, a lot of money spent on creative tendering opportunities has come from Europe, either directly or indirectly so we won’t see any more opportunities which are funded by ERDF or ESF for example.  I believe it will take a while to steady the ship once we leave the EU, so I am hoping and praying that the transition won’t affect SMEs too much.

Lastly, the government plan on spending £1 in every £3 with an SME by 2020, they currently spend £1 in over £5 either directly or through a supply chain. It will be interesting to see the impact Brexit has on this goal.

What’s your thoughts on the current procurement practices of our government?

It’s quite clear that it isn’t 100% right, nor do I believe that the government think it is.  I know it’s very frustrating for our customers that they need to register on many different portals to access tender documents, each system with a completely different interface and user requirements. I won’t be the first to say that this needs to be addressed to move forward procurement in general.

Having tendered for over 15 years, I see the frustrations of our customers and have personally seen some horror stories in regards to client selection processes but all we can do is unite and work with procurement departments to educate them on how much effort we put into our tender documents to ensure fair procurement practices are addressed.

What is your hope for the UKs creative sector?

The sector is flying, there is no doubt about that.  We want our agencies to feel confident stepping outside of their comfort zone and looking at International business.  We’re opening our US office in 2018 to support and encourage buyers to use our UK based creative agencies.  This will be a core focus for us during 2018 and any interested agencies should contact me direct so we can chat about how we will support agencies with this development.

You’ve chosen Boston as your first US office, why is this?

There is a number of reasons really, firstly it’s the shortest flight from the UK now that they’ve opened direct flights from the North, it is also only a short 50-minute flight from New York.  Secondly, we’ve visited Boston attending conferences, events, hosted meetings with businesses and government bodies and we feel the support on offer and the welcoming nature of the business community, that Boston is ideal for us to dip our toe in the water and start making some waves in the US.

What’s the future for the Creative Tenders Website?

The sky’s limit. No really. We’ve made significant progress in the year and a half we’ve been in business. I dare say 90% of all UK agencies know who we are, we have over 500 customers which grows daily and we have an exceptional retention rate for agencies choosing to stay with us year on year.  Now that we’ve launched another 9-sector specific tender portals, we’re working on Hudson Discover which is an online inter-trading portal, allowing businesses to buy and supply directly to one another from our system.

The next 12 months sees us focusing on opening the US office, launching Tender Bank to support agencies through simplifying tendering, ensure Hudson Discover is up and running and operating successfully and generally working hard to double the number of tenders we upload daily.  We’re currently uploading about 10-30 every day, we want to make that a minimum of 50 new opportunities every single day by the end of 2018.

What can agencies expect when working with Creative Tenders?

Consistency.  We will ensure you get your daily bulletins so you don’t miss any opportunities.  We will guarantee that if you log a support query someone will call within 1 working hour maximum, and we ensure our customers that we are constantly flying the flag for the creative sector and encouraging fair procurement practices.

We won’t become stale either, we are constantly in development and constantly generating new products that benefit UK agencies during their tendering journey.

If you could explain Creative Tenders in one sentence what would you say?

An innovative product that ensures timesaving for busy agencies, making it a business-critical tool for agency growth.

 

 

Creative Tenders Opens New Office in Manchester

Creative Tenders Opens New Office in Manchester

Youthful, diverse, energetic and bursting with character; Manchester is one of the most exciting places to visit in the UK right now. With a progressive vision to be a city that delivers surprise and delight in equal measures, where better to execute our expansion plans?

As we continue to grow at an exceptional rate, our prospects and opportunities are endless. With plans to expand overseas into Australia and America, the team are bursting with pride as their efforts and hard work are ensuring our vision appears fully into focus.

“The expansion into Manchester was pretty inevitable for us. We have established such a big client base there and we need to ensure they are serviced efficiently and to full potential” said Growth Director, Jill Hudson. “Manchester is a prime central hub for business, innovation and technology so where better to decide to make our second of many future office developments”

The opening comes on the cusp of the launch of seven brand new platforms for our firm and, as we enjoy our successes, we know there is a sizeable amount of continued hard work to follow.

Our business model is not showing any signs of slowing down in terms of development as we adapt and advance in terms of client wants and needs from our services and offerings.

CEO John Hudson added, “With the success of our current platforms, we couldn’t be more confident that our offerings are fundamental for growth and business prospects for the sectors we are currently working within. Our movement into Manchester reflects this as we move into further markets and continue to naturally progress forward with our exceptional team and consistent pioneering hard work”.

Here at Creative Tenders, we source creative contracts in the UK for:

Book a free live demo with Creative Tenders to see how we can help your business grow. 

 

 

Why choose Creative Tenders?

Why choose Creative Tenders?

Mr Tenders vs Mrs Finder

Our system is used by two types of customers, creative agencies and freelancers looking for new business opportunities. Business owners and marketing managers looking to source creative partners will also benefit from Creative Tenders.

How can we help your business grow you might ask? By using Creative Tenders (for agencies and freelancers) or by using Creative Finder (to source creative partners).

Here’s how….

Mr Tenders vs Mrs Finder

Mr Tenders will…

 

  • Source creative only tenders, minimising the time needed to search for tenders
  • Work with his team who has decades of creative sector experience
  • Provide a time saving solution for business development teams
  • Provide a dedicated account manager to make sure you don’t miss out
  • Set up cold calling campaigns to generate unique opportunities for our subscribers
  • Grow his team who are currently operating UK wide with a clear international strategy
  • Create an ideal solution that works for both growing UK agencies and freelancers

 

Mrs Finder will…

 

  • Give you access to our ‘free to use’ system for unlimited invitation to quotes
  • Help you write your creative and digital specifications
  • Ensure your opportunities are seen by hundreds of relevant freelancers and agencies
  • Take the legwork out of securing competitive quotes
  • Ensure our system is an easy to use online solution
  • Allow agencies to respond via our system, reducing the amount of emails you receive
  • Provide you with a dedicated account manager with over 10 years’ industry experience

Don’t waste your valuable time searching for tender opportunities and suppliers….we’ve got them all in one place.  Sign up today at www.creativetenders.co.uk

Tel: 0203 051 2217