Long-term profitable contracts take you half way to becoming a strong viable business. A wealth of contracts in the 3 to 5 year category (or even longer) make a company very attractive for investment or sale since they have the added advantage of providing visibility of earnings and near certain proof of future earnings potential. They also provide great security. But how does one secure them?

Like anything in life this is very much a question of if you don’t ask you don’t get. But there is more to it than that. Firstly whether the idea of a long-term contract is your suggestion or you are answering a tender then the buyer (that is the potential client) has to have trust in your operation and be sure that you are a well-run business which will be around for the long run. Secondly they would want to be sure that they are getting value. And thirdly they must have enough confidence in you that you will look after them (in terms of customer service) and stay abreast of the industry.

These are all “soft” characteristics and apparently have little to do with hard business realities but if they are not in place, then negotiating and obtaining long-term contracts becomes a hard uphill struggle. Talking of hard business realities if you then want to secure lots of long-term contracts then you need to set up a dedicated Bid Team and invest in it.

Measuring the results is easy. Measure the team by setting targets that will win you an unfair, yes unfair, market share ensuring that you can punch above your weight and start to really grow.

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