How to Find and Secure Tenders for Your Small Business – 5 Expert Tips

Posted by Bernard Schoeman on 28 January 2021.



Bernard Schoeman

CA(SA), Post Graduate Diploma Accounting, BCom

The Tax Shop Head Office

More about Bernard Schoeman

Bernard studied BCom majoring in information systems and accounting at the University of Cape Town and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 1997 after completing of his articles with Deloitte & Touche. Bernard has extensive international and local experience having worked for nearly three years with financial institutions in the UK (London) and having audited numerous companies listed on the JSE in South Africa. He is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Share this article

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure” (Colin Powell)

The obvious starting points to securing tenders would be the likes of B-BBEE certification and company registration, but from an operational perspective – there are things suppliers can do to find relevant tenders, and to put themselves in a better position to benefit from them.

SMEs with appropriate capability, capacity, experience, and will may benefit by considering tendering for business opportunities, either on their own or in partnership with other SMEs or larger entities. Where an SME has particular skills, competency, experience and so on, they may be in a position to offer a larger organisation a competitive edge in a tender. Winning and completing a tender, either alone or in partnership, benefits the entity putting it on the map and growing its confidence, experience, ability and, hopefully, profitability.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced organisations and institutions to be more proactive and creative. As a result, even the likes of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Pretoria has launched the National SMME Support Portal to help small businesses tender during this difficult period. 

For qualifying small businesses to stand a better chance of securing suitable tenders, they should consider these expert tips:

  1. Start by registering on the right database     

    SMMEs should start by registering as suppliers on the Central Supplier Database (CSD). This is a database where all the information, pertaining to all the suppliers that either do business or intend on doing business with the government is kept. Government entities consult this database when looking for suppliers. 

    Once registered, small businesses may then be invited to participate both in tenders and also receive Requests for Quotations (RFQs). Of course, it is imperative that an SME has carefully thought through what its qualifications are before tendering.    

  2. Check the E-Tender portal    

    The government places all the tenders on this electronic portal as the starting point for alerting potential suppliers. This is the first place registered suppliers should peruse for relevant tenders as all municipalities, constitutional institutions and government departments upload their tenders here. 

    Another option is to look up tenders in newspapers and government departments’ websites, which is more time consuming.

  3. Consider using tender notification services 
     
    Small businesses can subscribe to tender notification services. These service providers ease the process of searching for the right tenders. These automated services try to match qualifications listed by subscribers with the specifications of the published tenders. These agencies then send the subscribed suppliers notifications of close matches, making it easier for busy SMMEs to compete for suitable tenders.  
  4. Verify tenders to avoid scams    

    The government has repeatedly advised suppliers to verify tenders before engaging them.   

    “Companies are therefore advised to verify all the RFQs and orders by calling the respective departments using the departmental contact details listed on their respective websites to verify authenticity prior to responding to any RFQs or orders to avoid falling prey to these fraudsters”, reads the warning on various governmental websites.   

  5. Avoid experiments, avoid implosion   

    When looking for relevant tenders, suppliers are advised to look for operations for which they have appropriate experience, ability and capacity to avoid causing their “own demise”.   

    SAICA’s Senior Executive: Public Sector, Julius Mojapelo warned “any uncalculated expansion, whether it’s tendering or getting into a new market, will always have risks. The key is, SMMEs should avoid tendering on things they have never done on their own.”   

    He further explained that this was simply because government projects are usually on a larger scale.

Ask your accountant to guide you through the lucrative tendering process – don’t be left behind.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

© CA(SA)DotNews