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Commissioning and Procurement Top Tips
After several years of helping Social Enterprises & SMEs get contracts, and assisting Local Authorities let contracts, here are some top tips I think you might find helpful.
Develop a Profile. It’s important that you create a profile so that it gives you credibility and visibility with commissioners.
Use networking. Networks are important for support, reference, collaboration, knowledge, information etc. some one clever* once said “The harder I work the luckier I get”. Happy coincidences, referrals and leads increase when you have an active and engaged network.
Do what you are good at. Don’t try to take on things that you cannot deliver or cannot deliver well – there may be no second chance.
Collaborate. Create strategic partnerships to give you greater credibility. This will also increase your capacity (amount of work you can do) and capabilities (knowledge and skills) you have access to for a stronger bid.
Listen. Spend less time talking at people and more time listening, and then talking with them. Listen to the beneficiaries, listen to the stakeholders, listen to the commissioners. This is far harder than it appears!
Find a solution to the problem. Address the problem, don’t just do what you want to do regardless.
Know the value of what you do. Understand the value (social, environmental, financial, added) you create. You should be able to quantify and communicate this value to commissioners, procurement officers and service users.
Make sure your figures stack up. Avoid delivering a serivice at a loss, at worst break even (Full Cost Recovery), at best make a surplus.
Keep an eye on tender opportunities. Register with sites such Tenders Electronic Daily, Compete4 and Contracts Finder. There are many other national resources, and there are normally local tender boards, for instance on your local council website or publicized through your local CVS.
* Either Samuel Goldwyn, Thomas Jefferson, Coleman Cox among others