Heading into the West Kent B2B Show at the Hop Farm this morning, it was clear that business is booming in this part of the South East.
The venue was packed and there were plenty of lively discussions going on, along with some entertainingly concise speed networking!
I was particularly interested, though, in a talk by Susan Rom and Graham Clarke from Bizphit, who help local businesses prepare for the tender process. Their talk was enlightening - as they mentioned the various pitfalls that can cause small businesses in particular to fail to win national contracts, I noticed a few heads nodding around the room in painful sympathy. As they summarised some of the main mistakes or shortcomings that contribute to this problem - these included lack of preparation and research, and an underdeveloped understanding of what exactly the buyer was looking for - I started to wonder how many of those mistakes were caused by a lack of confidence.
When you’re small and you’re trying to head out onto the national stage, concerns along the lines of “are we good enough?” and “could we deliver?” must enter the heads of many local business people. But Bizphit’s message was clear - follow the right processes and have faith in your abilities, and you can stand out from the crowd.
Whether or not you’re aiming for national contracts, this is a lesson that we can all take forward in our working lives. I forget which smartypants said “fail to prepare and prepare to fail”, but it’s hard to argue with the logic.