General Advice

Business advice on everything from fire safety regulations to basic copyright matters.

The Top 8 Tendering Mistakes

Around 70% of procurement exercises begin with a Pre Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). Because of the ‘triple dip’ recession, buying authorities have seen significant increases – up to four-fold – in the amount of potential suppliers bidding for contracts. Consequently, putting together the perfect PQQ response is the only way to win a contract. With the aim of procurement teams being to find reasons to exclude you, in this article we cover the most common mistakes so you don’t fall over at the first hurdle. The scatter-gun approach With the above in mind, bidding for every tender which vaguely fits under your portfolio could prove a huge waste of time. If you’re bidding against 20 other competitors it’s important to meet all of the criteria, not just some of it! Remember, the procu... »

The New ISO 9001: All You Need to Know

What is ISO 9001? ISO 9001 is an internationally renowned standard used in 175 countries and over one million organisations. It enables your business to implement a Quality Management System (QMS). A QMS relates to any procedures that manage or create the products and services you offer. It ensures that you are performing these actions in the most efficient way possible. When becoming ISO 9001 certified you are required to have procedures in place that make sure you regularly assess the protocols of your QMS. This will mean that you are consistently reviewing your practices and finding ways to optimise them – assisting continual improvement. What are the benefits of ISO 9001? It can help give you a competitive advantage over other businesses, as Michelle Murdoch, Marketing Manager at qmsuk... »

Buying Back the Assets – Not Always the Simplest Solution!

Buying Back the Assets – Not Always the Simplest Solution!

In February I was introduced to a company which manufactured sandwiches and distributed them via a van sales operation to retail outlets on a sale or return basis. The company was losing money, had breached its overdraft limit and was running out of cash. The company had assets worth £20,000 on liquidation and liabilities of £180,000 (£92,000 owed to the bank). On the face of it liquidating and buying back the assets would seem the obvious solution. However, doing so would have serious consequences for the directors who had given personal guarantees to the bank. The directors, who were in their mid to late 50’s, had no funds to either settle their guarantees or buy back the assets and so faced losing their house and well as their income were the company to fail. Having discussed the option... »

Winning Tender: Top 10 Tips

With tenders becoming an increasingly competitive area for small businesses, Rob Fenn at the British Assessment Bureau shares his top ten tips to help you win that next vital contract. Choose carefully Newcomers can be tempted into bidding for a contract that doesn’t really suit them, lured in by a pertinent keyword or high contract value. However, when you consider the amount of time and resource needed to prepare and deliver, it’s important to choose opportunities that fit your business like a glove. Not only will it result in a better win ratio, you’ll have wasted less time too. Be Prepared The preparation of your bid can rely on valuable time from multiple people, so it’s important that the planning goes into it. Not only can this avoid forgetting anything, but an effective plan can be... »

Using Red Tape as an Excuse? The Reality of Public Sector Tenders

There’s much talk of ‘red tape’ being the reason behind businesses, especially smaller ones, losing out on valuable tenders. But whilst bureaucracy can certainly slow things down, is it really stopping you from winning business altogether? For anyone new to tendering for contracts, it can be a daunting process. Once you’ve found something that looks suited to what your business does, there is then the inevitable Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) which increasingly requires registration on an online system. However, the reality is, these questionnaires do not go beyond asking the fundamentals. Rob Fenn at the British Assessment Bureau delves further into the subject below… The argument It’s government’s duty to spend taxpayer’s money wisely. Rightly so, we would complain if contracts we... »

Business Insurance

Essentials The essential information about business insurance Your Responsibilities With small business insurance you have a number of responsibilities… Glossary A list of business insurance terms FAQs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about business insurance Rules & Regulations The rules and regulations governing business insurance Essentials When you are considering what types of insurance cover your business will need, bear in mind that this will depend to a certain extent on the specific sector or industry in which the business operates. For this reason it’s always best to consult a broker with specialist knowledge before making your decision. The types of insurance covered in this topic which you will need to give some thought to are: legal liability insurance –... »

Engaging with a Quality Management Consultant – the Dos and Don’ts

Many organisations aiming to achieve ISO 9001 certification seek a consultant to assist them. Whilst Certification Bodies must meet certain requirements, there is no overseeing body for quality management consultants. Therefore, for any business seeking assistance in implementing a Quality Management System (QMS), due diligence should be carried out before agreeing to work with a specialist consultant. What Do You Really Want? There is a misconception that without a dedicated Quality Manager, a consultant is a necessity to implement a QMS, or to achieve ISO 9001 certification.  In fact, many organisations have successfully achieved both without external assistance. However, there are clear benefits in using a consultant to help, such as; Greater value derived from the standard Can speed up... »

Quality Management in Tenders

If your business relies on public sector work, you’ll be well used to spending a lot of time filling out Pre Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) or Request for Proposals (RFQs) as part of tenders. Despite local and central Government endeavouring to achieve greater continuity with their documentation, they can still be frustrating to fill out. ISO 9001 certification is popular because it is often cited as an example of demonstrating Quality Management. Achieving certification can save considerable effort, as follow up questions within PQQs can often be left if these standards are in place. If you’re filling out a 100 tenders a year, it makes a difference! Why is evidence of Quality Management required? Ignoring the obvious merits of using a company which has established quality processes, ... »

The Positive Effects Clean Environments can have on Businesses

On average we spend 160-200 hours a month in the office. In this time we want our employees to work to the best of their abilities, achieve set goals and enjoy working in the office environment. Providing your employees with a clean office can have a variety of positive effects. It can motivate your workforce allowing them to focus on their goals, sends of a ‘we care’ message that can also prevent the spread of germs and reduce annual sick leave, and can reflect positively on your company’s image. This is true for all businesses, whether you’re a start-up or an established company. Well-maintained offices can have positive effects on the well being of every person. It can have a domino effect on the working environment, the work produced and the company’s future. Improved Motivation Ask yo... »

Heat Stress in the Workplace

A brief guide for Employers This article describes what you, as an employer, may need to do to protect your employees from heat stress in the workplace. It will also be useful to employees and their safety representatives. It tells you about the risks to the body from overheating when working in hot conditions (such as bakeries, compressed air tunnels, foundries and smelting operations) and gives practical guidance on how to avoid it. It does not address issues of thermal comfort in the workplace. If you need more information on workplace temperature management than is provided here then visit the HSE’s web pages on heat stress risk assessment and heat stress measurement. In many jobs heat stress is an issue all year round but this information also applies during the hot summer month... »

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