Business Advice

There’s government tenders up for grabs. Follow these tips for a chance at success

- August 17, 2020 2 MIN READ

With small business crucial to the economic recovery post-COVID-19, it’s vital they snap up their fair share of government tenders.

With this in mind, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has called on the Federal Government to offer contracts, with a value of up to $10 million, to small businesses before they are opened to the wider market¹.

It’s a strategy that could see the sector snag billions in contracts. In the 2018-19 financial year, the Federal Government awarded 78,150 contracts, with 53 per cent going to small businesses totalling $16.7 billion² in value. This represented an 18.2 per cent increase³ in the number of Federal Government contracts awarded to small business compared to the previous year.

However,  in order to get a larger piece of the government pie, small business owners need to brush up on their tendering skills.

Having assisted hundreds of businesses with their tenders over the past 15 years, Kate Burrows, Managing Director of the Tender Training College says the tender process can often be complicated and confusing for small business owners. 

She suggests the government needs to simplify tendering if they are serious about the role of SME’s in the COVID-19 recovery.

“We have seen a 30 per cent increase in SMEs looking to improve their tendering skills in recent months so they can compete for government contracts, as they find new ways to survive during this tumultuous time. That’s because government contracts offer good tenures, clear payment terms, defined deliverables and reliable income streams for SMEs to grow their businesses securely.

“However, many small businesses simply don’t know where to start with tendering often because of the highly complex nature of the tenders themselves and the formalities of the process. Tendering is like learning a new language!

Burrows says this can put small business owners at a disadvantage.

“Tendering requires significant time, effort and resources to be successful. It’s imperative SMEs educate themselves with the fundamentals of tendering to put themselves in the best possible position to tender, but also for governments at all levels to make the process more equitable and accessible,” Burrows explains.  

Some of these strategies include:

  1. Thoroughly review the tender: Read all parts of the tender closely to get a complete picture of what you are bidding for. Failure to do so means you are tendering blindly.
  2. Conduct a go/no-go process: Do the analysis when receiving a tender to determine your chances of success and whether or not you should actually bid for the work. Otherwise, bidding could be a waste of time, cost and effort.
  3. Offer the best value for money: Develop a competitive price and identify areas of opportunity that differentiate your tender response and provide value to the client. Put your bid on a superior footing. 

If you’d like to get a better understanding of tendering, Burrows and her team have developed a free ebook for small business owners to help guide them through the process. Find out more here.


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