News & Insights

Business Growth Hub Retrospective

Joe Ronan
Written by
Joe Ronan

Bespoke Bids have recently been working closely with the Business Growth Hub in Manchester. The Growth Hub deliver cost-free support to businesses in Greater Manchester to develop their operations. We won a tender to deliver a series of workshops on the bid process as part of their service to local businesses, social enterprises, small charities, larger organisations, and other initiatives.

The primary aim of these sessions was to de-mystify the bid process, so that attendees came away equipped with the required skills and imbued with enough confidence to bid successfully. As such, our sessions ran through our circular bid process from end to end, detailing:

  • Tender search tools and tips
  • How to understand the tender documentation
  • Qualifying for bids
  • Creating a winning strategy
  • Bid planning and some useful tools
  • How to write and review responses
  • Learning from experience and buyer feedback

We found that aligning the responses to the bid evaluation criteria was often the aspect of the process about which attendees understood the least – many were surprised to learn that a narrative arc, or story, was far less important than accurately responding to the question at hand in a manner aligned to the evaluation criteria. For us, this seems obvious, but for others, seemingly less so.

This is just one of many value-adds we were able to draw out in each of the sessions, which were – to put it frankly – an unqualified success. In the words of one attendee:

“There are workshops (the ones that at best consolidate your knowledge) and then there are workshops (the ones widen your eyes and you learn something new). This one was very much of the latter type…. A genuinely thought-provoking, valuable workshop, filled to the brim with goodness. I can’t wait now for my next tender opportunity (genuinely never thought I’d ever hear myself saying that!), where I will be putting what I’ve learned to the ultimate test.”

Part of the reason for this enthusiasm, we believe, is that we organised the sessions in an interactive way that encouraged attendees to share their experiences and to bounce ideas and learnings off one another. This meant they returned to their individual businesses having engaged with the material and confident that tender opportunities were something they could feasibly win.

It was gratifying for us as a company to utilise our expertise to help others less familiar with the bid process, and in this way provide Social Value in the local community. And it’s always nice to receive positive feedback.

Fundamentally, we also believe the initiative is emblematic of how Bespoke Bids understand bidding and our role in the bid process.

For one, bidding is a partnership. We help others to get the best results for their business, whether that is through one off paid work, long-term relationships, or free-to-attend sessions. The aim is the same: work with others to improve their chances of winning bids.

Secondly, we believe in transparency. The bid process can be murky and confusing. However, some of our competitors like to make the process deliberately complicated – they reckon that their services need to seem excessively difficult to convince customers to keep parting with their cash (in our view, they’re not wrong – but that says more about their services than it does the bid process more broadly).

Our approach is different, as demonstrated by our engagement with the Business Growth Hub. We believe that more value is to be found in making things simple for our customers; we like to leave the customer with the feeling that they understand the process better for having employed Bespoke Bids. It’s more important to develop partnerships and relationships, than make things murky and charge for access to IP.

Finally, we place continuous improvement at the heart of our process. We believe in all the bits and pieces that happen in between bids. In small nuggets of feedback, marginal gains, reviews, and wash-ups. For if you engage in long term partnership you grow together and learn about one another’s businesses and processes in ways that mutually benefits each other. This is the goal of the Business Growth Hub, and it is a goal shared by Bespoke Bids.  

Other feedback that we received on the sessions demonstrate this more fully:

Was very informative, learned more today than have in months of my own research.

Very informative, lots of valuable information delivered at a good pace.

Extremely knowledgeable presenter who related the content to those attending and referred to their sectors.

Great to mix with other businesses. Speaker was excellent and heard their examples + issues.

This feedback demonstrates the value that Bespoke Bids can deliver in a single half-day session. But what about the value Bespoke Bids found in running sessions for The Business Growth Hub? – well, it enabled us to demonstrate our method, and demonstrated to others how successful this method could be.


For more information about the Business Growth Hub, call 0161 359 3050.

For services from Bespoke Bids please give us a call on 0161 883 1836 or email us at

Click here if you would like to learn more about how our bid management and tender management services can help your business grow.

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