How Small Businesses Can Expand into the Public Sector

Landing a public sector contract is like participating in a marathon, there are many competitors and only those who understand what it takes to win eventually win it. Small businesses often shoot themselves in the foot by thinking they are not good enough but that’s just a myth.

Any company (small, medium, or large) can get public contracts if only they understand the processes involved. It is this process that seems overwhelming for SMEs.

Understand how the system works

The UK government spends around £242 billion every year on the procurement of services from contractors. If any small business must land a contract, then it should be ready to do the heavy lifting.

The UK procurement process is in four stages: Advertisement, selection, tendering, and award.

∙ The advertisement is the first stage, where the government publishes contract notices on its official platform. Be sure to check it regularly and see if any contract falls within your niche.

∙ The selection: After showing interest, you would need to fill out a pre-qualification questionnaire. This is similar to a CV – it is your opportunity to convince the government you can do the job.

∙ Tendering: If you pass the selection process, you’d be invited to submit a bid.

∙ Award: The contract is awarded to the best company.

Learn how to write a persuasive bid

At this stage, a lot of competing companies fall by the roadside because their bids aren’t good enough. To write a great bid, take into consideration the requirements for the contract, ensure you have the skills needed, and that your company has the human resources and qualifications to pull it off.

Your bid should include details of your company’s experience in providing similar services, how unique your approach is, a pricing strategy you can defend, the people that would work on it, and so on. Writing a bid to secure public contract is extensive and should be nothing short of brilliant. This comprehensive resource can help you.

Build your portfolio

Perhaps the reason bigger companies win contracts more is that they have experience and an impressive track record. As an SME, focus on offering excellent services to your customers, growing your customer base, and increasing your bottom line; all of these will strengthen your bid for public contracts.

As an SME it is not impossible to win public contracts, but you have to do your homework right and be adequately prepared before sending in a bid. The UK government has plans to award 33% of public contracts to SMEs in 2022, if you work at becoming the best at what you do, you stand a better chance to claim a huge part of that figure.

The future shows a lot of economic uncertainty due to the potential impact of Brexit. One thing we can be certain of is that there will be an increased opportunity for businesses to do business within the UK. A lot of multinationals are choosing to move headquarters and operations to the continent, so British businesses have a chance to eat into markets that were once dominated by global players.