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  • Writer's pictureSteve O'Hare

BLOG: Diversification has been eye-opening and taken SCLO's business to a new level

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

One of the things I wanted to do when I started SCLO was to not just keep doing what I had always done but take that knowledge and use it elsewhere.

I have the view that every day is a learning day and it has been really interesting to diversify and go into different businesses and different sectors.

Steve O'Hare talks to a colleague

Over the last 16 or so months it has been eye-opening to see the amount of similarities that different businesses have, there are definitely more similarities than differences.

Although the main thrust of SCLO customers has been within the education sector, because that is the sector I have come from, I have embarked on several key projects outside of that sector that have taught me a lot and also, given me a lot of pleasure.

Tendering for activity and bidding for work is very transferable.

Support activities

I did a range of tender support activities with awarding bodies to bid for government licenses like the T Levels which was very interesting. It helped to give the people I worked with that ability to win those types of contracts and gain a strong markets presence within certain sectors.

It’s linked to the education sector but it is fundamentally different from delivery of contracts. It’s about delivery of a development process.

I had the opportunity to work with international businesses like Douwe Egberts, a massive Dutch coffee conglomerate.

That came about through a networking link with the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and I was asked to write a training package for Douwe Egberts’ pre-bidding engagement which was wonderful to get involved with.

It was about supporting people who were going to have to bid for work. So, if Douwe Egberts want to put their coffee machines into employers’ premises, the package enables them to understanding the difference between bidding to local government, a plc or a limited company. It was about making sure people knew the differences between those and how to approach them differently.


The third diversification project saw me supporting a bottle label manufacturer to look at grant funding.

It was at a Leicester-based company that make labels for the spirits industry. Lots of gin manufacturers and other industries with jazzy lables! It was a really different activity but fundamentally relating to bidding and all about helping them put the right foot forward.

Other sectors have included working with an organisation that supports people with disabilities and health conditions and receive money from the government to pay for their own care.

They needed to understand when they have to bid for contracts, why they have not been successful and helping them identify how they can improve.


That project involved reviewing and giving them that feedback and understanding why they had scored in certain way. We used scoring criteria from other tenders to identify where they could have been better. Most importantly, it was about giving them hints and tips in one-to-one training on how they could do it better next time.

And moving somewhat out of my comfort zone has enabled me to make a first foray into a business that deliver leaflets through people’s doors and to get the most out of utilising a tracking system to make sure the leaflets are actually delivered and not dumped in the nearest canal!

I was supporting them to see how they get into different distribution areas and contact local authorities who had money they could bid for.

I certainly intend to keep on SCLO’s diversification into other sectors and businesses to make sure that my skill set keeps growing and my knowledge base grows too.

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