For many entrepreneurs it is their passion or ability to provide a unique solution that inspires them to start their own business. At the beginning of this exciting journey, entrepreneurs often take on multiple roles to get their business off the ground. This can include product development, marketing, finance and a vital aspect which can be daunting to some - reaching out to potential customers and winning business!
Ahead of Global Entrepreneurship Week we caught up with Richard Tobias, Managing Director of Impart Ltd, who specialises in helping organisations win business and develop a more proactive and strategic approach to their business development activity.
An entrepreneur himself, Richard founded Impart Ltd in 2013. After a successful career in sales, Richard realised he could help other businesses to have the best possible chance of winning contracts and delivering sustainable, profitable growth, using his own experience of leading commercially complex opportunities.
Richard shared “A key aspect of any entrepreneur’s success is their, and their company’s, ability to win business. If they operate in a business to business environment, as the value of the contracts they pursue grows, they are increasingly likely to have to participate in formal procurement processes and tenders. This can discourage new business owners from taking the next step and going for those bigger opportunities, but it can be a hugely rewarding experience,”
Based at Platform in Leeds, Impart Ltd.’s passion is to help their customers win more business and better business. Here are their top tips to help anyone achieve just that:
Build relationships: people buy from people, therefore the closer you are to the decision-makers in an organisation, the more likely they will consider you for future opportunities.
Understand your competitors: if you understand what they offer, it will help you to understand how to position your product or service, it is essential to differentiate yourself to influence customers to choose you.
To bid or not to bid: always try to make an objective decision about whether to go for an opportunity - don’t be blinded by the size of it. Always ask yourself: can we do it, can we win it and is it worth winning. If the answer isn’t “yes” to all three, then you probably shouldn’t bid.
Realise the potential of framework contracts: if you want to sell to the public sector try to get onto a regional or national framework contract, which is similar to a preferred supplier list. Many procurements go through frameworks and are not openly advertised.
Produce quality content: first and foremost, answer the question. It can be easy to glance over a pertinent part of a potential client’s question, which could lose you the opportunity. Also, use simple language in a structure that mirrors the question, and ensure you highlight the benefits of your products or services. Finally, always evidence where you have achieved something similar in the past and why you were successful.
Understand the rules of the game: just like a school project, procurements often have defined timescales, question weightings, word limits, attachment rules and specific criteria the answers will be evaluated against. Make sure you understand these and consider them when producing your response.
Continuous improvement: take all client and tender feedback on board – if something isn’t as good as it could be, change it.