I read a very interesting article by Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation recently where she was encouraging small businesses to get ready to apply for government contracts in 2015. Forward planning is always something that we at the BIC encourage and so her message certainly rings home.
Here is an excerpt from her article:
The government spends £230bn every year on products and services including central government, local government, the police, NHS, emergency services etc
If you thought that spend only goes on big ticket items like roads and rail, think again. Across the annual spend of £230bn, the government buys:
IT services; Facilities management like plumbing, cleaning, landscape gardening; Catering; Uniforms; Pens and stationery; Taxi services etc etc
Maybe you also thought the process of selling to government would be beyond your time and financial budget; it will take too long and costs too much to go through the process and form-filling. Think again!
There is a government target to ensure 25% of all spend is spent on small business by May 2015. That’s not long to go and the government has a way to go to reach this target.
To smooth the process, a new version of Contractsfinder will go live in January 2015 with over £190 million in live projects for you to review. There will be links to LinkedIn so you can form groups to bid and you will also be able to see how previous contracts were awarded, and at what price. You can search by postcode to view opportunities in your area and, on securing a contract, government commits to paying within 30 days – and will do its best to ensure large suppliers do too if that’s the way you’ve chosen to secure a contract.
Think of it like this: the government is now firmly motivated to give as much business as possible to small business – and they’re making it a lot easier for you to play your part.
The best approach is to first of all determine your strategy ie do you want to sell to central or local government and do you want to sell direct or via a large supplier? Based on this, decide on the top 6 relationships you need to cultivate ie with large suppliers or direct with the buyers listed on Contractsfinder and then, talk to the buyers! They want to talk to you to explain what they’re after with the contract to ensure everyone gets the best result.
On 8 December Enterprise Nation will be hosting The Government Exchange in London. Perhaps you could attend to meet the buyers and see the version of ContractsFinder before it goes live in January?