Finding the right tenders
Generally speaking, writing winning tenders begins with finding the tender opportunities that best suit your business. While it is, of course, possible to get results from an approach of “let’s try for everything”, being more selective and targeted is likely to improve your chance of success on any given tender submission and deliver a much better return on investment.
When a prospective client calls us up with an interest in tendering, but they’re not sure where to begin, we’ll ask them three questions:
- What do you sell?
- Who buys it?
- How do they buy it?
Being able to answer these questions for yourself will help you to decide:
- If tendering is the right fit for your business, and
- Which tenders you should be looking to go for.
For example, a business that exclusively sells wedding dresses is highly unlikely to ever find a relevant tender, whereas a major construction company looking to deliver projects for government clients will source almost all its work via tender.
Once you have a clear picture of who your likely client will be (i.e. federal/state/local government or private companies), and that tendering is the right fit, you can then begin searching for your tenders.
Finding Federal and State Government Tenders
If federal or state government departments are likely to be your targeted clients, the best place to begin finding government tenders is right here at Bidsmith. We have developed a couple of free tools to make it easy for you to find tenders that suit you.
The first tool is our tender search page, which provides free access to open tender notices from around Australia. Our tender search allows you to browse through a range of open tenders, or filter down to those which are most relevant by state, category or by using keywords. Clicking on a tender will show you its key details, as well as a direct link to the relevant website (e.g. to the Australian Government tender portal, AusTender) to download the tender documents.
The second tool that Bidsmith offers is our tender notification service. This free service allows you to register your contact details and specify which states and categories you’re interested in tendering to. You’ll then receive a notification email within 24 hours of a matching opportunity entering our database.
As we spoke about in our previous blog, maximising the time available is critical to writing a compelling tender response – using our free notification service helps you get up and running, including by engaging Bidsmith to assist with your tender preparation and tender writing, as soon as each relevant opportunity is released.
Finding Local Government Tenders
Given the sheer number of local councils around Australia, there are a range of different approaches to making tenders available. Some use their state government’s tendering portal (and so will be available in Bidsmith’s database mentioned above), some publish notices on their own website, while others use free or pay-to-access third-party sites.
If local government is your targeted client, you may only want to tender to council(s) near to you. If so, your best place to start will be the tendering page for the relevant council(s) – if you can’t find this, search for the council name followed by ‘tenders’. The tendering page will usually tell you if there are any open tenders, where tenders are published (on a third-party website or the council’s website) and how to register for notifications and to download tender documents.
Finding Private Sector Tenders
Just like with local councils, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding tenders issued by private companies. Some publish notices on their own website or on third-party sites, while many don’t make tender notices publicly available at all – they’re only issued to suppliers already registered with the company.
A good place to start then is by identifying a sample of companies that you might be interested in tendering to. Looking on their websites, or getting in touch with them directly will often give you an indication of how companies in your industry issue their tenders. This will help you decide if it’s worthwhile registering with a paid third-party notification service, for example.
Another important strategy, particularly if you are a small or new business, is by “wearing out shoe leather”. This means talking directly to businesses a step higher in the supply chain about becoming a subcontractor or supplier of goods or services. This gives your business opportunities to win work, even if you don’t have the previous experience that can be key to a formal tender process.