October 22, 2008

Time to Remember 2008

This is a little off my usual topics, but I felt compelled to write something about a very simple but deeply moving ceremony I attended this week end. It was one of many events across the country and the world to give parents an opportunity to mark the loss of a baby or infant.

You can imagine the anxiety, even thinking about attending such an event. But it worked. It worked on many levels, and I was surprised to see so many parents there. Had so many people lost a baby? This other world I had entered, was much bigger than I expected.

The ceremony involved lighting of candles, reflective music, poems, thoughts and prayers, and finally a balloon release. This doesn't seem much when you write it down, but believe me, when 100 or so people gather in the same room to reflect on their tragic loss, something happens.

If you are religious, I guess this was a spiritual experience. If you are not religious, or undecided, then the symbols used in the ceremony can still have meaning for each individual. For example, the release of the balloon could be the release of a spirit to another place; or it could just represent a children's toy; or it could even transport you back to your own childhood, when you got upset because you released the balloon before you were ready to let go.

During the ceremony, as if by some higher command, the room was suddenly flooded with beams of winter sunshine, streaming through the church glass. I swear there must have been a beam for each and everyone of us there.

We lost our little sunbeam, James, back in June of this year.

If you want to know about this other world, stray for a moment into http://www.uk-sands.org/

I'll leave you with this poem - Footprints in the Sand

Grant Melrose 2008 

March 17, 2008

Businesses can Save £1000's with Free Tender Feeds and Alerts

Writing about web page http://www.ready-for-business.co.uk


Thanks to everyone you came to the Prepare for 2012 Presentation. If you would like to remind yourself about how to get free access to tenders, how to find potential partners to submit more compelling bids, how to find supply chain opportunities, or even how to build your own business radar using newsfeeds, then here is the link to the presentation.


One local business women suddenly realised there was another strategy to winning 2012 related business, or indeed any large public sector opportunity.

Rather than bid for work directly, I am now going to search for companies who have already won business, and then approach them to ask for sub-contract opportunities. This will save the huge amount of effort required to submit responses to pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQ's), and invitation to tenders (ITT's).

Neat trick!

See how to use news feeds as a source of tenders, or contract awards - have a look at my earlier article.

Grant's  Rant | Twenti Twelve Tenders 2008

February 05, 2008

2012 Tender News | Business Radar

Writing about web page http://www.ready-for-business.co.uk


Firstly thanks to everyone who attended the Prepare for 2012 Workshops. If you would like to look over the presentation again, you can download it from http://preparefor2012.googlepages.com/

With the launch of CompeteFor, we do hear the complaint:

Oh no - not another *%$+!!! website ....

Of course http://www.wmccm.co.uk/ and http://www.ready-for-business.co.uk/ have been around for a while providing a fully funded (free) tender alerts service to companies registered there. However, I think it is inevitable that there will be yet more sites springing up all over the place. But I guess that is the reality of prospecting for gold.

Here's one way to help organise and keep control of all those sources of tender opportunities, without overwhelming yourself with email alerts .... Newsfeeds!

rss.jpgNewsfeeds and News Readers !

If you are not familiar with newsfeeds and news readers, then a very good place to start is the BBC. Have a look at http://news.bbc.co.uk/

They have a very good introduction to the subject at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/3223484.stm#whatisrss

Any websites which publish newsfeeds, like the BBC, SKY, CNN will have a graphic logo like this, only smaller! 

Alternatively you might see a label like RSS or XML. These also indicate a newsfeed. Simply click on the logo or the link next to it, and this will take you to the newsfeed content for that site.

Most Web Browsers have a built in News Reader capability - Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, Safari (for Apple) and Opera. 

So, from the news page of the BBC, select the newsfeed you're interested in and click the link.

Select the Newsfeed of interest

So this is me viewing the BBC News front page in the Firefox Web browser. Firefox now gives me the option to subscribe, in this case using the Live Bookmarks in the browser.

Subscribe to BBC Newsfeed using Firefox

There are many different News Readers available, and News sites may offer convenient subscription buttons to simply add your chosen Newsfeed to your favourite News Reader.  The other way is to simply copy the URL from your browsers address bar to your news reader.

For example, the above BBC newsfeed url is:


If I copied this into Google Reader (using 'Add subscription') for example, I would get my news presented like this:

BBC Newsfeeds on Google Reader

Sources of Tender News

So that's enough about Newfeeds and News Readers. Where can you find sources of tender news?

Here at http://www.ready-for-business.co.uk/ we provide a Newsfeed for live 2012 tenders published in our database.

Here is the news url to subscribe to : www.wmccm.co.uk/wmccm/rss/PrepareFor2012WestMidlands.xml

So instead of receiving tender alerts via email, you can now view the tenders in your News Reader - as and when you want to. Then if you see a tender which looks interesting for your company, just click on the link. This will give a summary of the tender if you are viewing our database as a guest, or you can see the full details if you are registered and log in.

You can subscribe to see all our tenders, not just 2012 related tenders, using the following url: http://www.wmccm.co.uk/wmccm/rss/livetenders.xml

With Google Reader in List view, you can now see all our live tenders like this:

WMCCM Live Tenders Newsfeed on Google Reader List View

Please note this may take some time to load as there are often hundreds, potentially thousands of tenders. 

Next, you can grab the news from London 2012, or get tenders from the Official Journal of the European Union so you can identify business opportunities from all across Europe.

Here is a list of useful Newsfeed URL's you may wish to subscribe to for business news and tenders.

Agriculture & Food Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_AGFO_UK.xml
Computer and Related Services Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_COMP_UK.xml
Construction and Real Estate Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_CORE_UK.xml
Education Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_EDUC_UK.xml
Energy and Related Services Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_ENER_UK.xml
Environment and Sanitation Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_ENSA_UK.xml
Finance and Related Services Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_FINA_UK.xml
Materials and Products Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_MAPR_UK.xml
Mining and Ores Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_MIOR_UK.xml
Printing and Publishing Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_PRPU_UK.xml
Research and Development Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_RECO_UK.xml
Other Services Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_SERV_UK.xml
Technology and Equipment Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_TEEQ_UK.xml
Transport and Related Services Tenders http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_TRAN_UK.xml
If you wanted all tenders across Europe for any given category above, simply substitute 'UK' with 'ALL' - this must be upper case. For example, Technology and Equipment Tenders would have this url. http://ted.europa.eu/RSS/EN/RSS_TEEQ_ALL.xml
London 2012 News http://www.london2012.com/news/archive/index.rss
Ready for Business 2012 Tenders http://www.wmccm.co.uk/wmccm/rss/PrepareFor2012WestMidlands.xml
WMCCM Live Tenders http://www.wmccm.co.uk/wmccm/rss/livetenders.xml

Please let me know if you found these resources useful, and feel free to ask questions or comment.

Good luck with your quest for business opportunities. 

Grant's Rant Twenti Twelve Tenders 2008

January 09, 2008

Free Business Support for 5000 Companies – WMCCM Celebrate!

Writing about web page http://www.wmccm.co.uk

Champaigne all round - or a few pints of Celebration Ale !
WMCCM have just blasted through the 5000 Company Milestone ....

WMCCM is the regions best provider of free e-Business support services and assistance to eligible small medium enterprises in the West Midlands, UK. Actually I didn't really mean free - it is really hard to "give away" free assistance. The assistance is actually worth at least £500 pounds per day of anybody's money. But it's fully funded assistance, which means you pay nothing for our services - instead the Government pay for our time. 

Anyone can register on WMCCM for free - but actually we always try for quality not quantity - we encourage companies to provide a detailed company profile when they register. Most companies do, but some don't - so we regrettably have to decline some applications .... which makes the 5000 registrations all the more impressive.

So why do we insist on a company profile? So that you publish rich, search engine friendly content to illuminate your products and services on the Internet. This means that you can be more easily found on the Internet by potential customers and generate more enquiries and sales.

These profiles are much better than the typical entries made in some business directories I could mention. Primarily designed to help regional companies, we also attract national and international interest. Buyers, including some big name Tier 1 contractors also register, hopefully to seak out potential suppliers to fulfil their supply chain requirements.

Once registered you can track tenders, including London 2012 Tenders, and have email alerts sent directly to you for relevant business opportunities - again fully funded - no registration fees - no subscription fees.

And for the lucky few companies who match the post code lottery numbers, we can provide fully funded e-Business assistance packages. But time is running out fast. At our latest check we only have 32 full assistance packages left.

And our 42 remaining "Start-up" packages for eligible companies who are less than 18 months old are fast running out too. You will need to act now and check out http://www.wmccm.co.uk/to secure your place. 

Grant's Rant | Twenti Twelve Tenders 2008

January 03, 2008

Ready for Business Twenti Twelve Site in the Birmingham Post

Writing about web page http://www.ready-for-business.co.uk

See WMCCM in the Birminham Post Business SectionWMCCM's Ready for Business site will shortly be joined by a national CompeteFor Portal
WMCCM make the news again. While we have helped West Midlands Companies over the last year to find and win London 2012 Olympic related business, we shall shortly be joined by CompeteFor, a National 2012 Business Opportunity Network. Read the full story  |  Sneak preview of CompeteFor

Grant's Rant | Twenti Twelve Tenders 2008

November 09, 2007

London 2012, Glasgow 2014 – Just need 2018 World Cup for the set

Writing about web page http://www.ready-for-business.co.uk

Just when we are getting used to all the excitement of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, Glasgow only goes and wins the bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games. We just need the World Cup in 2018 for the hatrick. What a decade ahead!

From a business point of view, it shows the tremendous amount of opportunity which can arise from sporting venues and events in general, not just the 2012 Games that everyone is focussing on now. 

As an aside, doesn't 2014 and 2018 sound scary? When I was young(er) these sounded like dates from science fiction stories, but now it seems just round the corner.

Grant's Rant | Twenti Twelve Tenders 2007

November 07, 2007

London 2012 Announce £496 million Olympic Stadium Design

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/olympics_2012/7081346.stm

Wow, here it is, the new design of the Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games.


Sir Robert McAlpine is expected to begin building work on the venue as early as next April - several months earlier than planned.

And its cheaper than Wembley - although Wembley did include redevelopment and transport links. The Olympic Park, Stratford Village, Lea Valley redevelopment, and transport infrastructure will of course will be additional high ticket items, for example, an estimated £17billion on transport alone.

Its great to see some of the top tier contracts are now in place, that means the rest of the supply chain opportunities for lower tier contractors and sub-contractors will start to appear.

And 80,000 seats during the games, presents a big supply chain opportunity.

After the games, the upper tier of 55,000 seats can be demounted and reused for other projects, leaving a legacy 25,000 seater venue for the community. 

Great animation on the BBC and the London 2012 site.

Grant's Rant | Twenti Twelve Tenders 2007

November 01, 2007

Sameday Courier : Wet Fish Need Transport Too

Writing about web page http://www.wmccm.co.uk/WMCCM/WMCCM/Companies/ViewCompany.aspx?itemid=4654

Wet fish is just one of the strange things people ask to be delivered around the country - You would be suprised : a tonne of bricks, coffins, dead monkeys, or even four brolleys to a golf tournament to make the TV Breakfast News.

These are just a few of the items delivered by N10 Logistics, a Midlands based sameday courrier company, which I recently profiled and featured on our WMCCM marketplace.

Of course transport is a very important part of the supply chain, but it is often the last thing we think about, so we need a friendly, helpful courier company to get us out of trouble when we are up against the wire. Many big contracts have been lost because important tender documents have arrived just 10 minutes too late.

So make sure your important time sensitive deliveries, or your wet fish, get there on time - have a look at the N10 profile.

As you can see, we are getting pretty good at making our featured companies visible to potential customers - and we do this for free for eligible companies!


Grant's Rant | Twenti Twelve Tenders | Marvellous Marketing 2007

October 31, 2007

Grandad's Cafe v Warwick Catering

I have just about recovered from a weekend of walking in Betws-y-Coed. Fantastic views, and a great way to reset the clock back to GMT!


Always on the look out for marvellous marketing, Grandad's Cafe caught my eye, just before we departed from Englandshire, with the following road-side advertising:

Grandad's Cafe - Ugly Staff, Beautiful Food!

Its a shame the same cannot be said about Rootes at Warwick this term!

Grant's Rant | Marvellous Marketing 2007

September 28, 2007

London 2012 Tender | 4 Year Bus Services Contract

Writing about web page http://www.ready-for-business.co.uk


The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) wishes to contract an operator to deliver bus transport services for a four year period - drivers, buses, maintenance, route planning, time-tabling, related services, and eventual vehicle decommissioning.

Grant's Rant | Twenti Twelve Tenders 2007

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