Complete Tenders: The Blog

Helping a Micro-Business to Win it's First Major Public Sector Contract

Monday 23 August, 2021

Take a read to see how we helped a micro-business to outcompete the big architecture firms and win their first major public sector contract with a local council.

1. Critical Information

  • Client - Location

Milligan Knight Architects (MKA) – St Albans

  • Date

Since May 2017

  • Service(s) provided

Personal Tender Tracker & subsequent Tender Projects

  • Achievements/notable contract wins

Contract wins include Architectural Design Services – East Herts Council; Architecture Services – Welwyn-Hatfield Council

  • ROI, tenders submitted v won
  • Time to return ROI, spend in same period​​​​
  • Total spend with CT to date
  • 4 tenders submitted; 2 contracts won – value £150k+
  • Time to ROI: 3 months from 1st submission to 1st contract win, spend <£2.5k;
  • Total spend with CT to date: <£10k

2. The Problem/Reason for Engaging with Complete Tenders

We met Simon Knight at a Welwyn-Hatfield Chamber of Commerce meeting and Simon outlined that he had spent significant amounts of time and energy in preparing tenders but was not coming close to winning. Simon was frustrated that he was working hard to put tenders together alongside his day job running the business, but seemed local authorities were always preferring to award to the larger, well-known firms.

3. The Discovery Process (Assessing the Customer's Requirements)

Complete Tenders analysed MKAs previous responses and could see that although they had all the credentials, they were struggling to show how they were better than the bigger architecture and multi-disciplinary companies with more experience.  We also found that in some instances the buyer was really looking for cost-efficiencies that only a cut-price multi-disciplinary firm could bring, and so some informed decision-making on which contracts to tender for was needed.

4. The Solution (Service Delivered)

Complete Tenders started to help MKA find the right tenders to go for; those that had the potential for some competitive advantage.  This involved the tailored Personal Tender Tracker service, alongside close follow-up discussions on each opportunity to make a well-informed yes/no bid decision.  Once a good tender opportunity was selected, MKA engaged Complete Tenders to help craft the tender response.   

5. Challenges and How They Were Overcome

Complete Tenders focused on MKAs value proposition, what it was that made them different, particularly that they were small, local and innovative and aligned this exactly to what the Local Authority was looking for. Complete Tenders used evidence to emphasise how these attributes were a positive, having exceptional care and understanding of the local context would leave the Authority in no doubt who would deliver the best programme for their residents and service users.  With Complete Tenders writing the bid, MKA could focus their time on using their outstanding skills as architects to develop concept plans to support and strengthen the tender. 

6. The Outcome

MKA won the contract with East Herts Council and has now undertaken the Architectural Services project from RIBA Stage 1 Concept through to RIBA Stage 4 Technical Design, on time and on budget. As a key heritage building project in a flagship park, it has had a positive impact on raising MKA’s prestige and awareness of them as a valuable public sector supplier.  

Using the experience as a key reference, MKA has since developed relationships with other Local Authorities and with Compete Tenders’ support recently won their second public sector contract with Welwyn-Hatfield Council.   

To find out more about how we can help you prepare a winning bid, call 01707 244713 or email

For more information on current open contract opportunities visit Open Tenders Search | Live Tender Search | Complete Tenders.


"We approached Complete Tenders to help us with a bid for a local public sector project, having previously failed to win similar work.  It was interesting to witness how our bid was moulded to suit the brief requirements and utilise our specific experience and skillsets.  Putting the tender submission together was a collaborative process and Matthew and his team guided us through the whole process.  Our final submission was well polished and ultimately Complete Tenders helped us win our first public sector job.  We are now using their tracker service to find the next appropriate tender for us to bid for."

Simon Knight, Principal Architect/Director, MKA



AUTHOR: Matthew Smith - Managing Director - Complete Tenders

Matthew is a Bid Management Expert, Experienced Tender Writer and Tendering Process Professional.

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