The public sector has a growing remit to buy from SMEs and perceive that there are many advantages to doing so.  SMEs tend to be more innovative, less hampered by non-value adding overhead and more agile than larger corporates.    Furthermore, public sector buyers are increasingly required to break down tenders into smaller “lots” so that SMEs can participate

If you can offer great value in an area required by the public sector and can prove that you can deliver reliably, with examples, case studies and testimonials, then you should seriously consider bidding for the work.

However, to succeed, you will need to establish an ability to bid and you can assess your organisation based on the following table:

Note that to be good, you also need to have the adequate factors in place. 

Factor Improvement necessary Adequate Good
Score 0 1 2
Bid review Untargeted or random selection of bids


No clear ownership or objective

Bid/ No Bid Process



Proactive and structured review of Bid Portals


Clear written guidance on opportunity types


Allocated resource

Understanding the bid Questions answered as they occur


Requirements missed

Compliance table produced to analyse all document components Professional buyer assigned to correlate the requirements and interpret what the buyer wants
Answering the bid Left to one or two individuals


Missing useful content which is within the organisation

Best person assigned to answer specific sections Team co-ordinated to produce first draft; then refined to ensure consistency and flow; then reviewed for quality
Language and content Use of un-proven generalisations and assertions Clear, well-structured and fact based Supported by credibility building material/ evidence
Differentiation Unclear proposition Executive summary explains why they should choose your offer, plus diagrams Consistent focus on how the offer adds unique value in easily digestible format
Bid Library Not established Established Regularly reviewed and updated
Project management Left to the last minute


Evidence of missed deadlines

Project plans exists

Manager assigned

Organisation fully supports the plan and achieves deadlines
Process No written process Written bid process exists Everyone knows what is expected of them

Add up your scores and compare your total against the table below:

Score Guidance
0 in any factor By scoring a 0 in any factor you are dramatically harming your likelihood of success and exposing your business to a risk of wasted effort
0 – 8 You are not ready to bid, so seek help to improve before you do so.
8 – 10 You would benefit from additional help and capability in specific areas and the cost of the help would be easily justified through improved performance.
10 – 16 This is a good level of capability.  You may still benefit from some improvements albeit, assuming you have a good value proposition, you should be achieving success

To find out more we have produced a white paper which you can request by emailing [email protected]