Herald Entrepreneur: Procurement expert bids to create opportunity and growth
ASK Andrew Morrison what keeps him motivated and the entrepreneur talks of the satisfaction he gets in seeing his clients progress and grow.
The 51-year-old was heading up the bid team at British Gas when he spotted a gap in the market and set up Am Bid to help organisations win bids, tenders and funding opportunities, following changes in Scottish Governmentprocurement legislation.
His extensive and expert knowledge of bidding and procurement has proved invaluable to clients across the UK over the last four years, and the company’s 80 per cent bid win rate has resulted in an enviable reputation across multiple business sectors, with revenues growing exponentially year on year, from under £100,000 in 2014 to an expected £600,000 this year.
“What we do for organisations is transformational in assisting them win bids,” explains Mr Morrison. “Indeed, what we’re actually helping them do is sustain and create jobs.
“I never set out to be an entrepreneur but I now realise that the word really just applies to someone who sets up a business that is successful and employs other people.”
The managing director from North Berwick has done that and more. After originally setting out on his own, he now employs five other bid specialists across Scotland and England. And what helps keep him motivated is the chance to enable growth, in both business and people.
“I really enjoy being able to give people opportunities,” he says. “My deputy got his first director role coming to work for me and I gave two graduates their first jobs, both of whom have gone on to great things. Now people are leaving behind really good jobs elsewhere to join Am Bid – it’s fantastic.
“Another big buzz for me is doing pro bono work, helping charities with bidding. We work closely with Social Bite and its founder Josh Littlejohn. We also work with Tartan Explorer Josh Quigley, who raises awareness of suicide prevention.”
In October 2019, Mr Morrison intends to hand over the MD role to his deputy, while he will move to be the director of business development.
“I always intended to set up and build something that could eventually work without me,” he explains. “It’s an exciting and busy time.”
In the meantime, there is work to be done if Am Bid is to succeed in its goal of becoming the UK’s leading bid and tender specialist. As part of this Mr Morrison intends to launch a fundraising drive to help with recruitment and keeping pace with the expanding portfolio of work coming their way.
And when it comes to advice, the Glasgow-born businessman has a plethora of hints and tips for those with specialist knowledge who are considering taking the plunge and becoming their own boss.
“Speak to potential clients first, do your market research and go to events,” he explains. “Find out the conferences and exhibitions your potential clients will be going to and start talking to them. Obviously this might not be easy if you are still working for somebody else. But your employer might even consider bringing you in as a consultant.
“Get in touch with Business Gateway and join your local chamber of commerce – you can learn so much from other people’s stories of running a business.”
Mr Morrison, who is married to music teacher Emma, is also a big believer in using social media to full advantage when running a business.
“There are so many interest groups you can join and follow. I’m very well social networked, with thousands of LinkedIn connections and followers.
“I pass on lots of expertise on social media and people often see this and decide to bring us in.
“I find that people are more interested in what you know than what you do. Giving away some knowledge can be a good and lucrative thing to do.”
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