Particularly when you start out consulting on your own, there is a tendency to grab at any work that you can. Quite understandable; as you do need to put food on the table. But the hardest lesson to learn I think; is that not all business is good business.
Where possible I avoid responding to tenders. Why? Well the short hand version is this.
Tendering is very much a ‘procurement’ approach used by customers. It tries to be very objective, and generally has a strong focus on price. The tenderer is also being ‘evaluated’ against a number of other potential suppliers and will often be formally ‘ranked’ against them.
OK so far so good.
But. And it’s a very big ‘but’.
A successful customer/consultant outcome is also highly dependent on the ‘relationship’ between the two parties. How well they can work together, the cultural fit, knowledge and experience synergies and the like.
When I look back over hundreds of consulting assignments that I’ve been involved in, the assignments that delivered the best outcomes were clear stand outs, because of the strength of the working relationship.
Those where the outcomes were not as good as we expected, but still OK, were due to the ‘master / slave’ relationship that can emerge from a ‘hands off’ tendering approach. By that, I mean that the organisation gave too much selection power to the procurement area of the organisation, rather than to those who would work with the consultants on a day to day basis.
Just my experiences and thoughts……….
I’ll expand on this topic in more detail later.