Lessons Learnt: Smell the coffee, tender-preneurs.

There’s a growing pattern in the nature of clients we are currently getting at KM – Consulting and Development Services – businesses that were previously engaged in tenderpreneurship( that is only focusing on getting tenders) now changing direction to get into “real business” (as they told me after I asked why they’re switching) where they go out there sell their products and services, have a clear business model, and goals for growth.

Putting away my view regarding tenderpreneurship, which is something I will never encourage someone to venture into, I must say I’m glad that some entrepreneurs are finally smelling the coffee, and realizing that tenders don’t build sustainable businesses.

Here are the reasons I got from my varied clients on why they’re no longer engaging in (government) tenders:

  • No tender, no money – In the tendering game, your business gets money if and if you get awarded a tender.
  • No sustainability – You cannot plan your business growth based on money from tenders because besides the huge crowd up for bidding, there’s also corruption. Meaning even if you are the right person for the job, the contract can be given to someone because of corrupt dealings.
  • Ethics – You are constantly caught between betraying yourself and choosing hunger because to really excel in tenders you must somehow blindfold yourself when it comes to corruption. We end up paying people money just so we can be considered for tenders. You end up sucking up to people just so you can get a tender.
  • No Business : Tenders turn you into a survivalist (entrepreneur) and not a business person. You find a R2million tender, then you go chow it (at that time you don’t care about your business) and then when you’re now broke, you go back again. There’s no real business, it is about you surviving. For a person who wants to build a sustainable business empire, tenderpreneurship ends up killing your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

I hope sharing these learning’s will help some out there.It’s a jungle out there by the tenders.

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