12 Tips That Can Help You To Win Business Contracts Without Hassles
Whether you own a construction company, a small firm, or whatever business you run, you will agree with me that there is no greater feeling than winning that major contract that is bound to take your company to the next level.
However, the only usual hurdle is a bugging question that keeps tugging your mind – “How do I win this contract? “.
If your business is still at its startup stage, you might find it hard to win major contracts amongst bigger firms because of their experience in that particular field and their relatively larger resources.
However, I would like to tell you that it doesn’t matter how big your firm is or how small your capital is. It doesn’t even matter if you have a physical office or not, as long as you can deliver a better service than your competitors, consider yourself suitable for the job.
That is why my sole mission in this piece, is to give you working steps on how to win a contract no matter how small your business is or numerous your competitors are.
So, your business is going well and it’s time to look at some strategies for expansion. Have you considered all the different options available to you?
I want to focus on bidding for contracts, how to approach that as a company – and other factors you need to consider.
1. Understand The Task At Hand
Before you begin to chase a contract, you must take some time to meditate on a plan to secure the contract.
It is important that you understand the financial commitments if there is any, figure out a plan to provide adequate funds to pursue the contract and stick to a budget.
The last thing you want to do is to keep spending money trying to secure a contract that you’re not qualified for. Therefore, I will strongly suggest that you make a budget for all the resources you plan to utilize while you pursue this contract.
This should not only include money but manpower, time and other resources you are willing to forego in the course of securing the contract.
Make sure your employees know what is involved and the task at hand, this way you can prepare everybody for a common objective.
2. Compile Quality Testimonials
If you have done similar jobs for other firms or companies in the past & you are sure that you delivered quality service, then everyone must have left the bargaining table happy.
You can approach these firms and ask for a review or testimonial. This would go a long way in helping to win other contracts, plus it proves that your company is obviously capable of handling such a project.
Therefore, gather reviews and testimonials from companies you have worked for and add it to your CV or pitch.
Remember to add the contact details of such companies or firms, so that the company you are pitching too can call to confirm if you have actually done something similar for them and if you are capable of pulling it off successfully.
3. Avoid Mediocrity
Without change, there’s no incentive improvement or creativity. You will agree with me that before one goes to war, he or she must be prepared both mentally and physically.
I want you to think of that presentation room or conference room as a war front because that is what it is. Most of these bigger firms or companies chase more than one contract, so they distribute the workload around and leave the presentations to a member of their staff.
But since this contract is more important to you, you will definitely want to work on it yourself even though you might have some staff of your own.
I would also advise that you work on one contract at a time and involve one or two members of your staff as well, as the saying goes “Two heads are better than one”.
This would not only give you the time to plan a good presentation, but it also gives you an edge over your bigger competitors, because most of them chase 5-10 contracts at a time.
So, how do you avoid mediocrity?
In order to set yourself apart, you have to think outside the box and separate yourself from the norms. Think from another perspective. For instance, you are trying to win a government contract to construct a building for the Ministry Of Education.
First and foremost, your goal should be to construct a standard building with quality materials, a unique architecture but with a small budget.
Your ability to pull this off sets you apart from your competitors, and under normal circumstances, a wise option would be to grant your company the contract.
4. Pay Attention To Branding
In order to stand the slightest chance of securing a catch-22 contract, you must strive to ensure you are professional enough.
To do this, you have to pay attention to the little things like your company’s logo, mission statement and website. These little things leave a good first impression on the individuals awarding the contract.
It gives them the impression that your company will indeed be able to handle such a task due to your professional branding and structure.
You can look at it this way – Let’s assume you want to choose a person to go out on a date your daughter, it is typical that you would go for the boy who wears a suit and dresses formally to a boy that wears rough clothes and some weird tattoos.
Even though the boy with a suit might be a poor decision-maker and the rough boy may end up successful, first impression instinct will instantly block out the rough-looking boy.
This metaphor applies in the corporate world as well, people will only invest in individuals who put in an extra effort to look professional. I will recommend that you build a website if your company doesn’t have one.
If your company already has a website but most information on it is outdated, you can hire a professional content developer to update your website with professional writeups and a graphic designer can do well with a company logo for you.
5. Do Not Substitute Quality For Quantity
The primary objective of every business enterprise is to make a profit.
All other objectives are secondary.
Maximizing profit could also mean cutting the cost of production, unfortunately, this could translate to a lower quality product or incentive being produced. It is wise to build your firms reputation with quality service.
For instance, the popular construction company Julius Berger known to build with quality materials that last longer and are quite durable. This makes them a favourite choice for federal government roads, as they do not have to worry about maintenance for the next 10-15 years.
While you are developing your pitch, emphasize on quality service and it’s benefits to their brand. Trust me, everybody likes quality and many are willing to sacrifice anything to get it.
6. Prepare A Creative Presentation
Creativity is nothing but a mind that is set free. In order to win a contract, you must win over the heart of the client.
Speaking from experience, most people that award contracts have seen the same type of presentations and many of them are used to the conventional method of presentation.
The only way to tweak their interests in your pitch is to present it in a way they haven’t experienced before. Try to make your presentation more of an interactive session, add in a few funny jokes that are related to the pitch and throw in some graphics.
This is a tip from me – conduct a public opinion poll on your pitch if possible, and if it is positive enough, add it to your presentation. There is nothing the corporate world values more than a positive public opinion which often translates as evidence of a good market for sales.
This will also give you an edge over your competitors, as they might be too busy planning the presentation of more than one contract to actually pay attention to the creative aspect.
This is why I mentioned earlier that regardless of the size of your firm or your company, it is advisable to take one contract at a time, at most two at a time.
7. Pitch Professionally
There is nothing that beats a professional pitch.
Always make your pitch and brand look professional each time you pitch a prospective client. Use all information wisely and speak the language most of these clients want to hear: profits, quality at a lower cost and longevity.
However, you don’t have to tell lies or pull out your hair trying to find quality at a smaller cost, because quality usually does come at a higher price.
You can, therefore, try to convince them of the benefits of quality, and the amount of money it can save or make them in the future ( trust me, this worked for me).
8. Consider Including Bonus Packs
Everybody likes the word “free”, no matter how little it is. The mere mention of the word free instantly makes you smile. You can add in one or two bonus packs with the word “Free” that would instantly spark the interest of the individuals awarding the contract.
“What added incentive can I offer? Well if you are a content developer like me, you can decide to write one free article for every contract you are given, and since it doesn’t cost you any money but just your time it’s a fairly reasonable deal.
9. Partner With Established Companies
Alternatively, you can turn a competitor into a partner.
This doesn’t mean you have to enter into a complicated legal partnership with larger firms, you can simply just establish a joint venture for the purpose of securing a particular contract.
This is a win-win situation for both parties. It will also make your small business look professional. In the end, because of the amount of time put in by your small business and the resources provided by the larger firm, you can secure the contract and split profit at the end of the day.
This is really advisable for startups and businesses that seek to win contracts that demand resources or finances only larger firms can provide.
10. Consider pitching an already made project
If it doesn’t cost so much or requires too much labour to create a prototype version of whatever incentive you are trying to pitch, you can create a prototype to display during pitching or presentation.
As a freelancer, I often use this method to win over contracts. Once I know what the company wants, I immediately begin to work on the project and then pitch them a half-finished version.
However, if the project is capital intensive I will advise that you do not waste any more of your scarce resources, since winning the contract is not yet guaranteed.
Instead, pitch them a powerful idea on how you intend to go about executing the project and added incentives.
11. Have A Back-Up Plan
In life, nothing is quite 100%. It is not wise to put all your eggs into one basket.
Even though I stated earlier to concentrate on one job at a time, it is still important to work on other projects whilst you are chasing a contract.
Although, these projects shouldn’t be as time-consuming as the catch-22. However, it is important to pay very close attention to your budget and finances just in case things go wrong. You can always have some money to fall back on.
12. Plan Your Finances
The mistake most contractors make is to turn a blind eye to financial management.
This is why most times, the money that was given to you finishes even before the actual work starts on the project.
In order to curb this issue, you must hire a financial adviser who will keep track of the money received and money spent. This way, you do not have to worry about touching your personal money in order to finish a project.
Tendering for contracts
So why should you consider bidding for contracts, as part of your business growth strategy?
You may want to know the benefits involved.
I think it’s an option that’s well worth for any sized company that’s looking to expand because it offers the following:
- a guaranteed income stream,
- a fairly risk-averse method of growth and
- the opportunity to create partnerships you can build on.
The key steps in the tender process
1. Find a suitable tender for your business.
2. Register your interest.
3. Complete a Pre Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ).
4. Complete an Invitation To Tender (ITT) – if shortlisted.
5. Write a compelling bid; then check and submit it.
1. Finding a suitable tender
Before you start any kind of bid process for your business contracts, you obviously need to identify the ones that are suitable for your business to tender for.
It’s essential to be able to find ones that are both relevant – and you have a good likelihood of succeeding at.
Preparing tenders can be time-consuming, expensive and resource-heavy, after all, so you need to be sure you’re focusing your attention effectively.
The best plan is to concentrate your research on contracts that are most relevant to your industry, geographical location and capabilities as a company.
There are various ways to do this, including keeping up with all relevant industry stories and news reports.
You could also work with third parties to help you source the right market intelligence and/or use the most effective online resources. This focuses your energy constructively and helps you identify the most appropriate commercial contracts and suitable government tenders.
3. Questions to ask yourself
When deciding which contract to bid for, you need to be realistic and ask yourself some key questions:
- Does my business meet the technical skills required?
- Does the contract fit our strategy?
- Can I afford to spend the time and resources required?
- Will the contract help my business grow?
If the answer to questions 1-4 above is yes, then it’s time to move forward with the next key steps of the process:
- Ensure you’re ready to bid by checking all relevant criteria.
- Register your interest.
- Fill in your pre-qualification questionnaire, and then, if successful, complete your invitation to tender.
Once these processes are complete you will be ready to complete the bid submission itself.
As I said, it is important that you have a backup plan or contract in case things go sideways. However, pay attention to your branding and try to make your business look professional.
If you follow the steps set out above, you’ll find winning lucrative contracts within your reach. Without doubts, this is a realistic way for any sized company to expand successfully.
You can as well attract the attention of serious investors. A contract is a binding agreement and should be treated as such. Build your business around quality, let your brand be known for its quality service, this way you would secure the right jobs and also maintain a decent reputation.
Once given a contract, it is expected that you immediately begin to work on it. Do not try to secure another contract when you already have one at hand except you have multiple hands on the deck.
If you haven’t considered tendering for bids before, I hope this post has provided you with some valuable insights.
I believe it’s a method of business expansion that is well worth considering as part of your business growth strategy.
I hope these tips help you to win your next contract.
Have you ever won business contracts? Kindly share your process.