This is part five of the Aidpreneur.com training on finding opportunities for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs.
At this stage, you should have identified the geographic scope of your practice, the types of funding you’re interested in pursuing, and the sources of information you will use to find procurement and contracting opportunities. The next step in this process is setting up what we like to call a “self-servicing sprinkler system” that ensures you are receiving new opportunity information on a regular basis.
There are four parts to the system that are largely based on the choices you have made about where you identify procurement opportunities. These parts are: inbound information sources, registration with governments and agencies, checking physical locations, and word-of-mouth or reference information.
As you review the online locations from which you expect to receive procurement opportunities, you need to ensure that each of these sources regularly sends you information relevant to your particular procurement needs. There are numerous ways this can be done: mailing lists, social media feeds, and alerts are some examples. You should choose the way that you are notified according to the way that you are most comfortable receiving and processing information.
For most people and companies this is via email; however, you or your company may be just as comfortable receiving procurement information via social media outlets. Regardless of your preference, within your online sources you should refine your alert requests to ensure they are bound by your geographic preferences and the types of tenders you’re interested.
When looking at government, agency or large organization or NGO portals, it’s a very good idea to make sure you are registered with these organizations. Not only is this usually a requirement to gain access to the information you want, but it’s also an opportunity for you “to raise your hand” as a company or individual to let these bodies know you exist, what your expertise are, what sort of services or products you provide and what experience you can bring to the table. I encourage you to investigate some of the more specific trainings we have here at Aidpreneur regarding specific techniques for setting up alerts and registering with specific agencies, such as USAID.
A third, but often overlooked, portion of your system is setting up a regular check of physical locations where procurement opportunities might appear. This includes regularly checking the newspaper in your locality, and checking places where public notices are displayed. Set up a regular calendar reminder for yourself, or the person on your team responsible for this activity, to make sure you never miss one of these potentially less-competitive bidding opportunities.
Finally, it’s impossible to overvalue the power and value of individual references and word-of-mouth recommendations in the fundraising and business development world. As the final component of your system, it’s important to ensure that your contacts and/or friends of your practice or company are aware of the person they should contact if and when they hear of a particular procurement opportunity. In many cases, these contacts will know “inside” information about an opportunity that could make the difference for you or your firm in winning the business.
While getting these four pieces of your system in place, it’s important to remember that all four of your information funnels should end up in one inbox, at one email address or on one person’s desk – or in the case of a team in a specifically designated spot. The reason behind this is simple: by having all opportunities arrive in one place, you never have the worry that you’re missing out on a piece of information or wondering who is responsible for collecting information. All you need to do is make sure that you check and review this designated place on a consistent basis, which depending upon the size of your practice or company, could be daily, weekly or monthly.
Having set up your system for receiving information about new procurement opportunities, your final step is to collect those opportunities and pass them to the next phase in your pipeline management. This is the next and final section in this training on finding opportunities for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. If you have any questions at all, please email us at training@Aidpreneur.com.