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Diaspora Matters

Winning Tenders and Business Location

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One of our biggest initiatives to date is the Tenders Tracker. The tracker allows our members to have one central place to access latest tender information in Zimbabwe. In future we are going to cover more countries in Southern Africa so that the tracker becomes Regional.

Your truly has a lot of experience in applying for tenders and reviewing tenders. I therefore hope to share with you a lot of tips and resources on winning tenders. The hope is to see more ZBIN members becoming experts at winning tenders.

When developing the tracker, we had 2 groups of people in mind. The first is the Diaspora Community-folks who are not likely to ever have access of this information because most tenders are advertised in local newspapers in hard copy format. So the Diaspora Community should easily have access of this information through our site and online newsletters. This information should help them to partner with locals in securing goods or services which may not be available locally. With free information about tenders being available, the Diaspora Community can be able to track what is trending in Zimbabwe and make informed decisions when it comes to investment. Our last tender tracker shows that there is an increase in the IT sector with computers, laptops and software upgrades being on top of the list. So you can read the tracker with an interest to apply for tenders or read the tracker with the purpose of checking what is trending, which areas are on high demand.

The second group we are interested in are remote areas. Someone teaching in Binga, a District Administrator in Chivi, a Policeman in Chimanimani, A teacher in Lalapanzi. This group of people maybe at a disadvantage when it comes to business information. They may not have access to newspapers resulting in a lot of opportunities bypassing them. ZBIN would like to break barriers when it comes to business and investment opportunities-this is why we consider remote areas whenever we are coming up with new initiatives or programmes.

So let us talk about Tender Reviews and the help we can give our members. The process of tenders is that you must first qualify by meeting all requirements listed on the tender advert. Most people or applicants usually miss out or fail at the first hurdle simply by ignoring instructions!

 

We will share with you a checklist for tenders so that you can download and use. This article is looking at the last hurdle to winning a tender-Physical Verification of Premises. After shortlisting prospective applicants, the Tender Committee usually visits the premises of companies that had bid for tenders. Let us assume that there are 3 companies and they have all been shortlisted for tenders. Company A has no premises, Company B is located at the residential premises of the owner and Company C has got premises, secured premises located at Harare Exhibition Park.

Who wins the tender based on physical verification is an obvious guess….Company C located at Harare Exhibition Park! So it is important to have physical location for your business and they should be presentable and you should have in mind that its should be appealing to prospective employees, customers,suppliers,partners and potential tender verification committees. There are marks allocated for business location!

Below we give you an article on tips for looking for business premises. You need to balance costs and benefits before finalising on a place to locate your business.


Tips when looking for business premises

Provided by Business Partners Ltd, South Africa’s leading investor in SMEs

One of the things you have to think about carefully when starting or buying a business is where it is or will be housed. There are many factors that will influence your decision, but let’s look at the most important issues to get you in the right frame of mind.

The location of your business can either make or break it, depending on all the circumstances involved. So it’s not a decision to be made hastily and without some experienced advice.

For those of you who have no clue about where to start, here are some points to ponder:

Location, location, location

  • When buying a home, you probably have certain criteria: safe area, easy access, not too remote, convenience, the size and condition of the actual physical structure, etc. This is a good place to start when ‘shopping’ for a business premises
  • Basing yourself in a big, fancy mall may seem like first prize, but sometimes the lease agreements, rentals and operating conditions synonymous with big shopping centres can be a strain on your business
  • What does the potential landlord look for in a tenant? This is good to know so you’re not caught off guard if he suddenly makes certain demands or leases to businesses you may not be comfortable being neighbours with
  • Speak to your potential ‘neighbours’ and hear what they have to say about the premises, the landlord, the area, etc
  • What are the other businesses? For example, are you one of ten boutiques in the centre/area? Do other businesses provide an overlapping customer base?
  • Where are you located within the broader premises; in a pokey corner somewhere or in full view of potential customers?
  • If you’re buying an existing business, will it be worth moving or does it have loyal customers who depend on its location? What are the costs of relocating?
  • What kind of security, insurance, general maintenance and other benefits does the Landlord offer?

Leases, legalities and landlords

Triple-check the conditions of your lease and then check it again three times. Better yet, get a commercial property lawyer to check that you are aware and satisfied with all the conditions of a lease before you sign it.

  • What is your rental per square meter? You may be surprised to find that you’re paying more than your larger retail neighbour
  • How is the rent charged, e.g. according to your monthly turnover or size of the premises?
  • Are recoveries of costs included in the rental or will they have to be added to the total rent payable?
  • What are the security requirements, e.g. rental deposits, personal sureties?
  • Can the landlord kick you out in favour of a higher-paying tenant?
  • Ensure that the lease period is long enough; you don’t want to be moving in a year
  • Under which circumstances can you or the landlord cancel the lease? In this regard, are you prepared to follow all the ‘rules’ and are they practical to your type of business?
  • This may sound terrible, but no matter how ‘nice’ your potential landlord seems, don’t trust anything they say. Put everything in writing, with no room for misinterpretation from either party
  • Who’s drawing up the papers – your lawyer or his?

What-ifs

  • What if you want to move premises?
  • What if you or your landlord wants to renovate/remodel your premises or the centre
  • What if you can’t pay rent for a month or the business fails?
  • What if the landlord goes bankrupt?

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