Company Name: Onto the Page Ltd
We are a Leeds-based bid consultancy, offering a tailored and comprehensive service to businesses of all shapes and sizes. We’re on a mission to inspire businesses to find the right bidding opportunities, and to win them!
1. Tell us a little bit about your background?
I started my career in retail, but switched quite early on to a B2B environment, where I’ve worked ever since. From being an Account Director, I fell into bid management by accident (as most people in this profession do), when I realised I had a knack for identifying a winning proposition and being able to succinctly capture it in words. Whilst working as a Bid Manager in a large business process outsourcing firm, I studied for a professional accreditation in bid management (via the Association of Proposal Management Professionals). After a while, realised that I could step out of corporate life and use my experience to help others in their bidding activities.
2. Tell us how you started your business?
I started out on my own, working from home as consultant to the firm I’d just left. That felt strange, but very satisfying. I already had a network of people with whom I’d worked on bids in the past, so naturally I contacted them to tell them I was now available for hire as a consultant! In the first year, pretty much all my work came this way, and I was really busy. But juggling delivery of contracted work with marketing myself was quite an effort, and after 18 months I invited a trusted friend to join me, to share the load. By the end of my second year, we needed more help. So we took on an office and an Office Manager and are now established in Chapel Allerton, Leeds. In that time, we’ve also built up a network of trusted associates to provide additional capacity or specialist skills as and when we need them.
3. How long have you been in business?
Since June 2008 – right through the recession. Phew!
4. Did you know how you were going to make money with it? How did you do it?
I knew that I needed a really flexible model that could adapt to each client’s precise needs. This would include being flexible about the rates we charge clients; we are keen to work with SMEs as well as bigger businesses, so our rate card needs to accommodate their very different budgets! Even today, our model is based mainly on working with a large number of clients who need bid support from time to time. This can be a bit scary when it comes to workload planning – but is the very nature of our business.
5. What was your inspiration?
Getting my APMP Practitioner accreditation. I’m one of fewer than 200 people in the world who have this accolade, and I’m really proud of it. I knew then, that I could show clients the benefits of my experience, and translate that into tangible and valuable benefits for them. I just felt ready to take the leap at that moment.
6. What was your highest moment?
When I got the call to say that I’d got a book deal from Kogan Page to write a title for their forthcoming Business Success series. It was a great feeling, and one of my best wins to date! (The book is now available via Amazon and other book retailers: it’s called Bid Management, and is aimed at those who aren’t experienced in bidding, but want to know how to win!)
7. Were you ever scared? How did you overcome it?
I often feel scared about what I’m doing, but I reckon that’s no bad thing. You’ll never succeed if you always opt for safety. When it feels like I’m about to embark into the unknown, I take a couple of days to think things through, talk them through with people I trust – then act decisively. Once I’ve decided to ‘go for it’, I’ll give it everything. 9 times out of 10, this is a successful strategy!
8. What’s the best part of your job?
Hearing from happy clients that their bid has won.
9. What is the most important lesson you learned along the way?
That if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
10. What piece of advice do you have for business owners out there?
Trust yourself; stick by your own principles; provide the service you’d like to receive yourself.