How to do business with government

Written by Editor


By Koketso Mamabolo


The South African government spends almost R2-trillion per annum, billions of which are spent on procuring products and services from businesses in the private sector. Are you looking to broaden your client base? Is it worth doing business with government? 

The short answer is yes, absolutely. 

The government tends to award three-year tends to assist with the long-term planning required when having to deliver services to millions – this sort of commitment will offer your business a level of stability that working with other businesses in the private sector won’t always give you. Your business will have more certainty, which will assist with your own long-term planning. 

Doing business with government will also build trust with customers as it lets them know you are a credible, established business

But how do you go about it and what does the process look like?


You need to stand out

It varies, but what is the main thing that will be considered when looking at your bid? 



What can you bring to the table? What makes your product different from the rest? How will you provide the service differently? What value are you bringing? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself.


5 tips for winning a tender


Make an impression

Do something that can demonstrate how good you are, sometimes this means doing something for free. Offer suggestions. Compliment the department. Nowadays it’s quite easy to connect on social media, and to send private messages. 

Everyone bidding does a similar thing – what makes you different? Make sure you stand out and they have a reason to remember you.


Get on the road

Doing business with someone you have never met face to face nor experienced their service or product can be quite daunting – it’s a risk. 

When you see the person you can get a gauge for what their real concerns are. They can’t hide behind the phone or screen. 

It is a great way to understand their pain points, and explain first hand how you can solve them. 


Get referrals

To gain trust you need to be able to show a good track record – getting referrals from other departments shows what you can bring to the public sector.


Do your research

Understand how the department works and adapt accordingly. Get to know the preferred communication method, so that you are able to ensure they understand you in a way that makes sense to them.


Be persistent

Don’t give up! People are always busy but, if you keep trying, chances are you’ll get through at some point. Persistence is key. It’s the law of large numbers – the more you try, the more likely you are to get through.



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