Winning Government Contracts

Investing to Win

Why You Must Invest to Win Government Contracts

Whether or not to invest in new products, systems or processes is a recurring dilemma for all senior management teams.  Do you have the resources to hand, and when will you see a payback?

Young companies or start-ups know that they need to find the funds to invest in developing capability or else they’ll cease to exist before too long.  Mature companies tend to be more conservative.  They’ve built themselves up, are sitting on fat contracts won from previous successful tender responses and are more than happy with the status quo.

“Let’s see if we win it first, before we go investing in that system” is a sentiment I’ve come across in many companies I’ve provided consulting services to.  It appears prudent but relies on the point of view that a buyer is going to believe you’re able to deliver despite the capability not currently existing.

Buyers usually have a very good idea of what’s going on under the hood of your organisation.  The best of them are skilled at gathering intelligence.  They talk to their peers in other organisations and carry out site visits.  They’ll have built a profile in their own minds of your management team, your methods, and whether you’ll actually be able to deliver.    You may write a bid you think is worthy of a Booker or a Pulitzer, but if they don’t believe you, they’ll look on it as fiction and won’t buy it.

Whether you sell health insurance to corporates, managed services to utilities or water treatment services to the Health Services Executive, it’s important to remember that while your customer may appear to sit still at times, your competitors certainly don’t.

Everybody is fond of sports analogies to drive home points they need to make about high performance.  They’re very effective in order to highlight what’s required both from a preparation and execution point of view.  As a triathlete I’m well aware for the need to prepare thoroughly for the race season.  If I’m not hitting the pool deck at 7am twice to three times a week, and getting long bike rides in six months out from the race season the chances are I’m not going to perform to a level I’m happy with.   I fractured an ankle in July 2017.  By the time I returned to the pool last January my fitness had atrophied to the extent that I was miles behind the very people I had been beating comfortably the previous season.  It took two months for me to return to a reasonable form of swim fitness.

If you don’t proactively develop your company’s internal capabilities and maintain them, your ability to compete in the market will atrophy just like my swim fitness did.  You’ll fall behind your competitors, who’ll take far more glee in your weakened condition than my club mates did in mine.  They’ll win all the bids and, though it took me months to recover, it could be years before you win another serious contract.


Hopefully this piece has helped you get a firmer understanding on the first step regarding winning public sector tenders.


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