They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but former military man Mike McGaun has disproved that claim by securing millions of pounds in contracts for Peterlee’s Steadfast Group thanks to newly-found tender writing skills.

The 53-year-old – 30 years a soldier and officer in the British Army – joined Peterlee security company Steadfast less than two years ago as business development manager.

But after a course teaching him the art of writing a successful tender bid, he has secured contracts worth more than £2m for Steadfast.

Mike told Wear Business: “I hope I can be an example for every person north of 50 – armed forces or civilian, who chooses or is forced to switch career, that you can be successful at more than just one thing in life.”

The key moment for Mike, was networking, putting himself out in the business community and taking up every opportunity to learn new skills that might be of benefit.

Attending a Peterlee and Seaham Business Group workshop, he found himself intrigued by a talk from Gary Stone, an expert on tender writing in order to win business contracts.

Mike said: “I’d written a couple of tenders for new contracts but come nowhere.

“After attending the bid writing workshops, I came fourth and, instead of being disappointed, I was heartened by that.

“I worked harder on the next one and now I haven’t been out of the top three when I’ve submitted a tender in the last 12 months.

“The workshops have been an invaluable resource that helped me understand the requirements of successful bid writing.

“The training helped to get the foundations right, to pay attention to detail, do the small things and I discovered that when I followed the advice, success quickly followed.”

That learning curve has resulted in more than £2m in new business for The Steadfast Group, which as well as supplying manned and unmanned security, also offers a haulage and storage arm from its base on Peterlee’s North West Industrial Estate.

Mike continues to attend the Seaham and Peterlee networking events, helping to bring the East Durham business community together facilitating collaboration and helping businesses make new connections.

He added: “It’s not just about the workshops, it’s about attending the right events and speaking to the right people to understand the wider business support landscape and learning about the help available to support growth.

“The Durham Business Opportunities Programme team, (DBOP) do this so well, they are an impartial sounding board so always have the best interests of your business at the core of what they do.”

DBOP business development manager Guy Bashford said: “As part of our ERDF funding one of the market failures identified as a barrier to business growth for County Durham was the low uptake and awareness of the business support available.

“DBOP is here to facilitate access to and raise awareness of the support for companies like Steadfast Security.”



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