Tag Archives: planning

Tender Process – The Frequent Errors and how to Overcome them – By Craig Millhouse.


The tender process is known to be notoriously lengthy, complex and bureaucratic. For many companies – and small businesses in particular – the lengthy process is somewhat daunting and represents a significant drain on resources.  The substantial time and resources directed towards bids is often considered a waste if the bid is unsuccessful. One way to drastically transform the quality of your bids is to address the universal errors made by many businesses. Below we go through some of the more frequent errors and provide solutions for each one

Error #1 – The first and perhaps most grievous error made by many businesses is using old tender trackers that only provide contracts which are 3-4 weeks from their end date.  This restricted deadline severely impacts a business’s ability to engage in pre-bid discussions, carry out detailed research, influence the bid specification, ask questions, seek clarifications and generally formulate a well planned, meticulous bid.

Solution – The solution to this serious issue is to invest in an advanced tender notification system that provides contracts that are at least 6 months from end date. These lengthy deadlines provide businesses with a solid base and allow them to create well structured, detailed and relevant bids.

Error #2 –One recurrent error made by countless companies is to assume they understand the requirements without engaging with the buyer. Second guessing certain aspects of the contract – no matter how small or irrelevant they seem – often causes otherwise well structured bids to fail. It is important for businesses to have a complete grasp of all stipulations in the contract and an understanding of how each condition is to be fulfilled.

Solution – Tender forms come with contact details, – make sure they are utilised. Engage with the buyer, discuss the contract and offer value and insight where required to stand out from the competition.

Error #3 – Some of the most common tender errors are usually seen within the PQQ form.The lengthy PQQ documents are designed to assess your capability as a business and simple grammatical and numerical errors will have a negative impact on the perceived aptitude of your business.

Solution – One way to overcome PQQ errors is to have THREE different people re-read the forms once they have been completed. Taking a slow, methodical approach to the PQQ stage will enhance the bid substantially.

Error #4 – Using a generic tender template is a major mistake that many businesses make. Whilst a tender template may work well for one particular submission, it may be totally unsuitable for another. Every submission should be tailored to tie in with the requirements of the buyer.

Solution – Rather than using tender templates, personalise each bid. Buyers don’t want to hear generic information that is irrelevant to their needs. It is important to concentrate on the aspects of your business from which the buyer can derive benefit and profit and ignore the things which are not relevant to that particular contract. Buyers will be reading numerous bids so it is vital that each submission is clear, concise and, most importantly, relevant.

Author Bio

Craig Millhouse is the founding member and managing director of 7House, a specialist business development firm that offers clients an array of services to aid in their growth. As part of the service, 7House also offers an advanced tender notification system called Contracts Advance.

With over a decade of experience within professional and service based industries, Craig uses his expertise to develop new businesses and kick-start existing ones through a consultative role.

Connect with him on Google Plus to stay in touch with his latest activities, events and articles


Saving Yahoo. CEO Marissa Mayer doing what has to be done.

Marissa Mayer the CEO of Yahoo gets my vote. She is doing it all by the numbers.

When faced with a business like Yahoo with a substantial amount of dead weight dragging it down and a lot of legacy that needs to be cleaned up she has done an awesome job. The first steps in any rescue is to stop the bleed. Only after the patient is stabilised can you get to work in repairing the damage.


First she organises the redesign of the Yahoo interface to bring it up to date (this may even be an interim design).

Second she does something very unpopular that has employees and the media in an uproar. Even Sir  Richard Branson just had to have a dig and criticise calling the move ‘perplexing’ and ‘backwards’ in today’s mobile work environment.

She improves productivity by making it difficult to use the system and slack off.. you can’t tell me that home and telecommuting workers are all 100% committed to the business and working to their maximum productivity. We all know it’s a big perk. If you want to disagree, please do, but I have seen it many times first hand. Yahoo has specific legacy here and many of the employees agree with the CEO.

Third she is removing the unprofitable or unsustainable products and services. A couple of days ago there was an announcement about Yahoo Shutting Down 7 Products. From my perspective this is all by the book or if you like “Rescue 101“. So what is Marissa’s next move? Anyone willing to take a punt at a guess?

In my opinion it will be another strategic move that may not be popular but will be designed to reduce the current cost base or possibly introduce a new product/service offering that will improve revenue figures.

Who ever said being a CEO is a popularity contest?

Why is it so hard for business to get the simplest things right?


Having a busy schedule, last night I decided that after football training I would treat my young men (11 and 8) to one of their favourite local restaurants.  And it’s not a multinational fast food joint… hard to believe right.

Having arrived at our destination, I realised that it was busier than normal… It had slipped my mind that it was Valentine’s day and most restaurants would be full of young couples in various phases of amorousness. We managed to get a table without a booking, but there was something amiss.

It took about 3 seconds to realise that the restaurant was understaffed and service was going to be painfully slow… let’s see you explain this to a couple of ravished and impatient young men after a soccer training session.

It took a long time to get any attention from the stretched staff. Eventually we ordered and after a long delay had our meals. I can say that the food… when it arrived, was great as always. The issue was with staffing levels.

If you run a small local restaurant business you must be aware of this. Events like Valentine’s day, Mothers day and Fathers day just to name a few, are always times of increased traffic. It’s important to plan for the additional load and add staff accordingly.

This is not Rocket Science. It is a simple formula, yet so many get it wrong. A little forethought and a little planning can go a long way towards managing workloads. In this instance a simple calendar with events marked on it would have been adequate to inform the owner a few days in advance to schedule additional staff.

Are you getting the simple things right?

Now that 2012 is over, what are your plans for your small business in 2013?

QuestionsWhat are you going to do to BOOST the performance of your business in 2013? What plans do you have in place? Do you know where you stand financially? Do you know your current breakeven figure? How is your marketing strategy going to change to reflect the change in trading conditions? Have you addressed any of these issues or were you just too busy running the business rather than working on it?

So many questions. Enough you say.

Questions like these are what is going to give you the edge. If you want your small business to beat the odds and succeed, you need to ask these type of questions all the time. Not only do you need to ask them, you need to work on coming up with the right answers.

Let me know what types of questions you are asking.