Tender strategy: why you need it and what to consider

Published: September 17, 2020
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You’ve got your tactics sorted when it comes to project tenders. You know how to present your bid in the best light to win. It’s how you’ve made it this far. But what about your tender strategy? If tactics are the ‘how’, strategy is the ‘why’. Why bid for some projects over others?

Tender tactics only get your business so far, keeping you afloat in the short-term, so long as nothing unexpected happens to the market. Tender strategy is what takes your business to the next level, helps it grow and sustain itself in the long-term, no matter what happens to the market. It’s about the bigger picture. So what do you need to consider when developing your tender strategy?

Strategising for success as a construction contractor

Your long-term business goals should dictate your tender strategy. Not just where you see your business in 12 months but in 2 years and 5 years. Each of the projects you bid for needs to push you closer towards those goals. This means you need to consider the types of contracts that will bring value to your business and how well they match with your current capabilities.

Once you’ve identified the types of projects that will help you achieve your business goals, you’ll find your entire approach to the tender process changes. You won’t be able to just sit back and wait for any and all projects to come your way, you’ll need to go out and find them — your tender process will become proactive instead of reactive. This will help you plan ahead.

Knowing what types of projects you want allows you to plan a more considered approach to bids in advance, ready for when those opportunities arise. While the current climate has seen a significant slow down in new projects, there are still plenty of opportunities out there for committed businesses.

Bidding for targeted projects, rather than taking whatever comes your way, gives you a competitive edge. Your business capabilities will already be well-aligned with what the project demands. For the many businesses out there without a tender strategy, your competitors, this will not be the case.

In these unexpected times being smart about the growth of your business is what will ensure you come out on top while others go under. When the market takes a hit, as it has done now, the strongest survive. Businesses without a robust tender strategy will stall but those that persevere with a long-term approach will thrive.

Opportunities to thrive

Identifying which opportunities to pursue isn’t always an easy task. You have to fight the urge to pursue anything and everything. The scattergun approach can make you feel like you’re covering all your bases, but in reality, you’ll be covering none as you won’t have the resources needed to win. So how do you know which opportunities to pursue? Every project needs to be assessed in terms of how valuable they are to you. Ask yourself:

  • Is winning this project essential to my long-term success or is it just ‘nice to have’?
  • Is this project going to help me scale up my business?
  • Is this project a stepping stone to success or a diversion of my time and resources?

If it is essential, if it will drive your growth, then you can go all-in and concentrate your resources to make it a success. Even if you do manage to win a spread of bids with a scattergun approach, stretching your resources so thinly will ultimately result in costly delays to all of your projects, eating into your profit margins and stalling the growth of your business.

While you need to be in the game to win it, playing every match will only deplete your resources. Bidding is resource-intensive, so make sure you place your efforts in the right place.

3 steps to success 

Now you know how the right tender strategy is essential for the growth of your business, make sure you follow these 3 steps:

Step 1
Stop getting blinkered in the rush for ‘the next project’. Take the time to consider what you want your business to look like in 5 years time.

Step 2
Identify the types of projects which will help you achieve your goals. Looking back at the successes and challenges past projects can help narrow down the types of projects that play to your strengths and fit your future plans.

Step 3
Actively go after the right kinds of projects. Don’t be afraid to decline work which doesn’t align with your long-term strategy.

Keep these 3 steps at the forefront of your mind and they’ll soon become second nature and bring success to your business come rain or shine.