Been off the radar recharging, life can become abit overwhelming at times… now….
Young business…heck even old business glean at paid up adverts by large corporations that call for Request for Proposal. This flavor of contracts usually make any CEO and his CFO grin wider than the joker as they see the bottom line get bumped up and the promise of that end year bonus seem more attainable.
Thing is at the end of the day, everyone thinks that they can offer the best value for money and as such most firms win the said tenders…at least in their heads. And while the opportunities offered by that request for proposal seem like a blessing, there are a couple of things that any entrepreneur gunning for these jobs needs to be aware of…and not just aware of but understand… as it will prevent that mild depression that comes “Bid not successful ” letter.
Here’s the intel 🙂
1. Those big clients already have existing suppliers
Most big companies and government agencies have already worked with a particular company or consulting firm and already have an established relationship.
Of course, their policies may require them, when starting on a new project whose budget goes beyond a certain number of zeros, to put the process out on a tender, bid or request for proposal basis. That does not mean they do not already have a preferred provider in mind.
An example is EABL, who may put out a RFP for the supply of barley. To even make the cut, you must already be in their system as a potential supplier who has been vetted etc. So if you do submit your tender docs and are not in their system…what do you expect? This sort of knowledge comes with doing research on your industry vertical to establish processes and procedures that one needs to have nailed in order to get your foot in the door.
2. Okello has known and worked with Mbugua for a good 10 years…assessments are not always unbiased
Because of the existing relationship between a company or department and a particular supplier, the process involved in assessing proposals before engaging is not always as transparent as intended.
There may even be clues in the document, along the lines of previous experience with the department or company, which could exclude all but a select few.
3. What the heck do they mean by RFP should be submitted in 2 weeks? Time-frames can be a dead giveaway
If an RFP comes out with a ridiculously short timeframe between the advertisement date and the closing date, it’s a dead giveaway that the company or department involved is attempting to reduce the numbers of proposals it gets in.
They may have provided preferred partners with details before the project was advertised, or the consultant who helped them with setting up the RFP may have slipped it by them.
4. Sometimes, consultants set up RFP’s … with or without their knowledge
As a favor to a client or without their knowledge, a consultant may even set up an RFP on their client’s behalf. Client’s like this because they have had experience working with the consultant in question, and the consultant loves it, because they can make it difficult, if not impossible, for other bidders to win the contract!
These consultants set up the RFP with the view to making the client’s choice when hiring a consultant an easy one – their company. They may also include a proprietary product, service or process, so that on the slim chance that someone else is awarded the project, they still get a piece of the action. Essentially only I have the key that opens that lock, and I can put a premium on it.
5. Is it still worth it?
While there may be behind the scenes activities going on between the client and a handful of preferred partners they are hoping to engage, there is still hope. If you happen upon an RFP, it is still worth considering submitting a proposal.
Consider that because of the process, if you submit a compliant proposal, at the right price, on time, you will have to be considered. If your proposal blows everyone else’s out of the water, chances are you will win the project.
So while it’s very worthwhile to be cautious about RFP’s, if you’re looking to get into the big league or at least improve cash flow significantly, it is definitely an option to consider.