So, we are almost half way through 2017 and everybody, especially small to medium business owners, are struggling to keep up with government decisions and how politics has destabilised their playing field with Brexit, General Elections and certain decisions leading to uncertainty in the marketplace.
Such uncertainty is highlighted in the mixed bag of results thrown up by the numerous surveys published since the turn of the year. For example one survey, Close Brothers Business Barometer, shows that 64% of companies surveyed with a turnover of less that £500k said they were not confident about the UK’s economic outlook for 2017 whereas Yahoo Finance highlighted research carried out by the American Express Global SME Pulse, which showed that 50% of UK SME’s surveyed expect to see growth of at least 4% over the year.
Such is the uncertainty for SME’s that, in a poll by funding-provider Liberis, 58% of all SME bosses listed reducing costs as their priority while a mere 39% said that their priority was to expand their business.
What most businesses seem unaware of is that we are fast approaching 2020, the deadline for the government achieving its pledge to spend £1 in every £3 with SME’s. Whilst most government pledges are met with a shrug of suspicion and disinterest, it would be worth noting that this particular pledge could add up to £15bn worth of business opportunities.
It seems like a scam?
While you may be of the opinion that the halls of Westminster don’t always echo with the sounds of MPs championing the ‘little guy’, in this case there actually is something in it for you. In 2015, the Cabinet Office announced an ambitious new target to get more small businesses working on central government contracts.
In 2013 to 2014, central government spent £11.4bn with small and medium-sized businesses, by 2020, the government wants to increase this by an extra £3bn per year directly or through the supply chain. As part of these targets, the government has improved the way it buys goods and services to help more small businesses bid for public sector contracts, by streamlining the process and making winning business that much easier.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said, “This is such an amazing opportunity for the country’s diverse and innovative small businesses, and today I urge them to get stuck in. From computers to uniforms – there are so many opportunities for small businesses to work with us, and I want to see more of them providing value for money for the taxpayer and benefiting from our spending.”
John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service said, “Further opening up our marketplace to small businesses is good economic sense all round – making it easier for them to access and win government business opportunities, whilst encouraging increased competition and market innovation to deliver best value for the taxpayer.”
But aren’t government contracts notoriously difficult to apply for?
Historically, the process was lengthy and complicated but as Emma Jones, the government’s Crown Representative for SME’s recently blogged, things are a now a whole lot easier and she urges businesses to seize this opportunity to bid for and win government contracts.
She goes on to inform that the Prime Minister announced a review of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which will look at how they can increase the initiative’s impact and give more innovators their first break and that they realise that working with small businesses with new ideas generates innovation in government.
So, they do want your goods and services and with the government currently looking for everything from toiletries to tax advice, marketing services to interior design, and with the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing that the government pays suppliers within 30 days, it is time to take advantage.
I’m interested, but I’ve never tendered before, what is my next step?
Now that you know all of these great opportunities are out there but are new to the tendering process, please don’t be put off. Help is at hand in the form of Hudson Procurement Group who will put in place a bespoke solution to help guide you through the process and also steer you to success in landing contracts.
Through Tender Connect, businesses are able to purchase services from our suppliers on ten sector specific platforms. It also acts as an inter-trading platform allowing buyers and suppliers to trade with one another creating a sense of community and business collaboration.
Our tender consultancy service, Tender Consultants Ltd, allows you to access the best tender writers in the UK, led by Jill Hudson, a focused and energetic Growth Coach. With over a decade of tender writing experience, and growing both UK and international businesses across a range of sectors, Jill has developed bespoke Tender Ready exercises which allows businesses to either take the first steps into tendering, or improve success rates where they may currently be lacking
We offer Tender Training for companies looking for support with Tendering and one to one coaching that is specific to your business and, due to common requests we’ve had from customers, we’ve launched a Tender Writing service for those businesses who wanted tenders writing on their behalf.
Take the first step, click below or call us on 0203 051 2217 today.