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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Write a quality statement

When tendering for a contract, you will have to show the buyer that you can be relied upon to deliver the project to the required standard and on time. But how? This is where a quality statement comes in - it's a document that explains the skills, experience and expertise that you can bring to the job. Here's how to write one

When a buyer puts a project out to tender, the buyer looks at a whole range of different factors to help choose the right supplier. Key factors might include:

  • Cost - the initial costs (ie the price paid to the supplier) and the lifetime costs. For example, initially more expensive but energy-efficient equipment might work out cheaper in the long run.
  • Technical performance - for example, the materials used, how suitable the finished product is for its purpose, durability.
  • Project management - including delivering the completed project on time and minimising any risks.
  • Sustainability - the broader impact of the project on the environment, local community, and so on.

When you submit your bid, some of these elements can be included in a direct way: for example, you can quote a price and provide a specification of what you plan to deliver. But others are less straightforward: how do you show that you will finish the project on time, to the required standard?

What is a quality statement?

The quality statement deals with this problem. You may already have a quality statement for general use in your business or you can create one as part of your response to a tender. It should help to convince the buyer that you are the right supplier for their needs.

A quality statement lays out your firm's working practices and commitment to providing a good service. It should explain how effective and efficient your methods for carrying out the project will be.

Quality statements and tenders

When creating your quality statement, bear in mind that you will need to customise it extensively for every tender. There are no hard and fast rules about what type of quality statement might be asked for; it depends on the type of procurement, the requirements, the importance of quality standards and the evaluation criteria.

What does a quality statement include?

Typically, a quality statement covers issues such as:

  • how you would approach and manage the project;
  • your quality management system, and whether you are accredited to any standards (eg ISO 9001);
  • compliance with legal requirements, and your policies in areas such as health and safety, equality and sustainability;
  • the qualifications and experience of key personnel;
  • previous experience on similar projects, including references.

Often, the buyer will tell you what information you need to include in your quality statement - for example, asking you to include a copy of your health and safety policy - and explain how your quality statement will be assessed.

Bear in mind that quality management systems are not the same as quality statements. A quality management system is a way of measuring your firm's internal processes, often with external accreditation from bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). If you have systems or standards like this in place, you should include details as part of your quality statement, but you must also provide the other information you are asked for.

Supplying complete information is essential: if you do not, your bid will probably be ruled out, no matter how good it is in other areas.

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