Hosts Process Guide

Hosts Process Guide
In essence this is the User Guide for the Market Dojo software, except it is more related to the process rather than the software. We are so confident that the software itself with the efficient structure, clear process flow and thorough information help buttons will be so easy to use that you won’t need a page-by-page screenshot guide. Therefore we haven’t provided one. Instead, this guide outlines the process flow and key hints and tips to ensure the event is a great success for you.

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Hosts Process Guide

1. Getting Started 1.1 Register as a Host 1.2 Read our guides 1.3 Buy some credits Tip! Feel free to use this contents page as a Checklist of what to do when you host your own Event.

2. Create an Event
2.1 Define the Event Settings 2.2 Create your Lots 2.3 Upload your documents 2.4 Invite your participants

3. Manage the Event

3.1 Make edits to your event
3.2 Use the Message Board 3.3 Encourage initial bids 3.4 Check the liquidity

4. The Online Negotiation 4.1 Monitor the participants 4.2 Monitor the Lots 4.3 Continue to use the Message Board

5. Post Negotiation 5.1 Give the participants some feedback 5.2 Request signed bids 5.3 Complete the deal

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Hosts Process Guide

1. Getting Started

1.1 Register as a Host The first step is to register as a Host on our website. If you are currently reading this guide then the chances are you have already registered, in which case skip to Section 1.3. However if you haven't registered, please go to www.market-dojo.com and and on the top right corner, click on the 'Sign Up' link. Fill in all your details and agree to the Terms and Conditions and you are done. Please note that registration does not cost a penny, and we do not ask for any payment details - not until you wish to purchase credits that is! We will never sell your details and we will only send you relevant and interesting information if you allow us to contact you by e-mail.

1.2 Read our guides

Once the registration has been successfully carried out you will be taken to the Market Dojo Hosts Dashboard the centrepiece for carrying out your activities within Market Dojo. One of the first areas to go to is the 'Guides' section. Within here you will find a host of useful, and free, documents, such as how to pick a suitable category for Online Negotiation, how to structure a Request for Participation document and many others. We update these all the time, so be sure to check from time to time.

1.3 Buy some credits Once you have read the guides that appeal, you may be wanting to get straight into running an Online Negotiation Event. In order to create an Event, you will need sufficient credits. The current rate is 100 credits to create a one-off Event, or 500 credits to give yourself unlimited access to the Market Dojo software for 1 year. We recommend trying out our software for one event and seeing how well it fits with your business and the benefits it brings. That way you can make an informed decision to press ahead with the full annual licence. To buy some credits, go to your Hosts Dashboard and click on Purchase Credits. Pick the number of credits you wish to purchase and follow the steps through to completion. You will receive confirmation of the purchase once all details have been accepted. Once accepted with the sufficient number of credits, you're all set to create your own event. Please note that, for free, the site will let you create an event and go so far as to picking your participants, but you can not invite them and go live until we have received payment.

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Hosts Process Guide

2. Create an Event

2.1 Define the Event Settings

The first step on setting up your own event is to pick your settings. Use the Info icons to help you with tips and explanations of each setting. Is it a forward or reverse auction you wish to use? Do you wish for your participants to bid in an open arena, in the same way that you bid in a real world auction house like Sotherby's, or do you wish for them to only be able to see their ranking? The info icons are there to help you decide your strategy to get the most out of the event.

2.2 Create your Lots Once you have picked the settings that you feel would maximise the potential for success, the next step is to create your Lots. A Lot is a way to cluster items, products or services of a similar nature that would be of interest to a specific participant market. By creating multiple Lots, you can run an efficient event of higher overall value, attracting the interest of a wide range of participants. It is important to put a degree of thought into the structuring of Lots so that you maximise the value per event but not at the sake of reducing the potential number of participants to just a handful that can actually place a bid. For example, it would not be wise to lump together your IT Hardware requirement with that of your stationery into a single Lot, because you are not going to find many bidders who can provide both. However, split stationery into one Lot and IT Hardware into another Lot and invite participants of both markets to bid. That way they can bid on whatever Lot is of interest to them. As part of the Lot ceation, you will be asked to assign a Qualification Price for the Lot. This is the price that a participant must meet in order for their bid to be accepted. The Qualification Bid is a useful method to prevent participants from wasting their time, and yours, if they simply cannot make a bid that competes with others in the market. It is also a reassurance for you as the Host that you have a number of participants that have already committed to your required price levels. When deciding the Qualification Price , there are several crucial factors that must be considered. Firstly, the temptation is to set a Qualification Price that would instantly mean the Event is a success if just one participant submits a qualifying bid. Whilst this certainly feels like a great way to mitigate risk of failure, there is in fact a greater risk that you vastly reduce the number of participants in the Online Negotiation Event, participants who otherwise might have greatly bettered the Qualification Price but only once they were pushed by the competition. Therefore a price level should be set that enables a majority of participants to take part. Obviously it can be very hard to accurately set this price level prior to having any bids, so our advice would be to use the current valuation of the product or service, or, failing that, to seek a quote from a reliable source on the product or service prior to the Event and to use that as the Qualfication Price. The second important factor is that you don't want to set too generous a Qualification Price. Whilst it typically presents less of a problem than setting too harsh a price as mentioned in the previous paragraph, it can mean that the Online Negotiation goes on for a long time as you have many qualifying participants, many of whom have a large number of bid iterations to carry out before catching up with the leading bidders. This can be frustrating for other participants in the Event. However, a solution to this can be to send a message to any participants that are a long way behind the leading bidders, to request they alter their bid by the maximum margin permitted or face being declined from the Event. It would only be fair to all involved to do this, as no one wants to waste their time if their chances of success are slim.

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Hosts Process Guide

2. Create an Event (continued)

2.3 Upload your documents The crux of a successful Online Negotiation Event is defining exactly what it is you wish to tender, be it an item, a service, a product or even a place. Your participants are conforming to your tender process by submitting a legally binding bid for you, so it is important you give them as much detail as possible. If there is too little detail, then they may not even bid at all. The target is to provide the same amount of detail that the current provider or owner has about the item, service, product etc. If you can capture this detail in writing, then that is a good start. Refer to the Request for Participation template for what kind of information you should capture as part of this. Furthermore it can be supported by engineering drawings, technical specifications, photos, brochures, service records, current contracts, even physical samples. Something we have encountered before is that the participants could be invited to your premises to inspect the event item or items in person. We have even seen cases where participants actively work with our Hosts for a number of months and only be invited to the Online Negotiation Event if that trial was successful. Whilst such thorough approaches are not necessary in many instances, participants are greatly appeciative of the additional information. And the more appreciative they are, the less risk they have to take and so the better the offering to you.

2.4 Invite your participants
By now you would have defined the event settings, created the Lots for the event and uploaded the documentation that will enable your participants to know what they are bidding for. The only thing missing is your participants. The initial wave of participants should come from your own market knowledge and contacts. Pre-qualifying your participants prior to the Event is a great approach to take to ensure you have the right candidates bidding for you. Questionnaires or even a quick phone call can satisfy this well. Once your participant list has been refined, enter their e-mail address into the Market Dojo platform and they will be pinged an invite. Don't forget to keep in touch with them through this process and all the steps that follow. Again, the more you hand-hold them through the process, the better the result will be. If you would like to invite prospective participants to your Event by not using the software, then we have the Market Dojo Request for Participantion Brief which can be edited to cater for your Event. Once edited, you can distribute this to a wealth of prospects through whatever approach you choose, be it by e-mail, in person, by fax etc. This request will give them the instructions and premise for registering for your Event. Any registrants will show up in your Event where you can then grant them access if you judge them to be of sufficient capability. Use well-known sources to bolster up your participant list. Google is a start. Applegate, Kompass, Kellysearch, Hot Frog, Thompson Global and many others can also be used. Cast the net wide and by the end of the process you can be confident that you have found the diamond in the rough.

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Hosts Process Guide

3. Manage the Event

3.1 Make edits to your event During the course of the event you may realise that for whatever reason amendments need to be made to any of the previous four event creation items: Settings, Lots, Documents, or Participants. The Market Dojo software allows you to make edits at any time. The edits, once saved, can be e-mailed on to participants so that they are made aware in order to amend their bids if you permit this. It is always best to keep the edits to a minimum if possible to avoid fatigue amongst your participants as they try to keep up with the changes.

3.2 Use the Message Board
The Market Dojo software has a fully functional message board feature which allows you to efficiently post messages, reminders, additional information etc. to your participants. In turn your participants may be keen to post a question or a message back to you. It is wise to check the message board every so often and you will be notified by e-mail and on your Market Dojo homepage each time a message is placed. This way you can continue to offer support to your participants with minimal admin work.

3.3 Encourage initial bids

From our extensive experience of running Online Negotiation Events, we have learnt the hard way that you cannot leave the participants out on their own until the deadline of the bid submissions. You will ruefully find out that they have a myriad of reasons why they cannot bid in time. To mitigate this, even from the very first day that you invite them to your event, put in a phone call. The personal touch goes a long way. The next time the participant has several jobs on the go, your call will be remembered and you will be prioritised.
E-mails are good but not as effective - it's far too easy to file away the e-mail as something that needs to be looked at later (and is promptly forgotten!).

A couple of phone calls during the course of the event really does help highlight any areas for concern and gives you plenty of time to act. Not only that but it stimulates the level of response and therefore increases the chances of the event being an overwhelming success. Leaving it all to the last minute is a risky decision.
Initial bids provide several key pieces of feedback. Firstly you can check whether any participant has misunderstood the specifications by looking for inconsistent bids. Secondly you can check whether the Lot structure is correct by assessing which Lots participants bid for. Initial bids also give you the reassurance that the Event will be successful. Alternatively the bids may tell you to cease the Event and seek another option, if you actually receive no or very few bids at all. Therefore it can be very important to ensure you have all the bids in time!

3.4 Check the liquidity In a very similar vein to above, use the Market Dojo software to keep you abrest of which participants are involved, what stage they are at, what is holding them back from progressing further and so on. If the time comes, don't hesitate to bolster the number of participants by scouring the market for additional candidates. Whilst Online Negotiation Events can be successful with just two participants, the evidence stacks up that the more participants you have bidding for you, the better the overall success rate. Needless to say, that does not mean invite absolutely every participant you can think of. It is still important to filter out participants that you cannot honestly see yourself working with. Morally it is unjust to invite participants who never stood a genuine chance of being chosen, only for the sake of promoting a more competitive event.

On a few rare occasions, the time may come that you cannot progress with the Event any further as there simply is not the interest or capability in the participant market. If this happens to you, do not hesitate to contact the Market Dojo team and we shall be happy to consider your circumstances for either a full credit refund (in the case of a one off event), assistance in finding participants or whatever it takes to make this a success for you. We recognise that an Online Negotiation is only one of many ways to negotiate a price. Traditional face-to-face approaches can in some situations be the better option to take, and we fully support you if this ends up being the decision.

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Hosts Process Guide

4. The Online Negotiation

4.1 Monitor the participants Once the qualification bids are in, you will have a great idea as to the liquidity and the potential for boosting the success of your Event through the live bidding. Just prior to the Online Negotiation Event going live, say 5 minutes beforehand, check on the status of your participants. Make sure they are all logged in and waiting. If you notice absentees, a quick phone call ia recommended. The golden rule of acting early applies just as much here as it did in the previous section. Once the Online Negotiation is underway, continue to check on the participant status. Make sure that no one has logged out and disappeared, and if they have but haven't let you know via the Message Board, it's time for another quick call. That said, towards the end of the Event, once the majority of participants have had their say and you've acheived your goals, then there's no harm in letting it reach a natural conclusion.

4.2 Monitor the Lots Another interesting perspective before and during the Online Negotiation Event is to check the bid coverage across all the Lots. If you find that one Lot has captured not a single participant's interest, then you can either remove the Lot, leave it in there as a harmless entity, or try a different tactic of motivating participants to have a go at bidding for it. Checking up on each Lot in turn during the Event is always a useful and proactive measure to take.

4.3 Continue to use the Message Board The same principle applies during the actual live bidding as it does during the qualification bid period. Your role as a Host is to generate a successful Event. To do so, you should focus on getting the most out of your participants. This wil only come from a good level of support plus a keen approach to motivating the participants through the process. By now you will have used the Message Board before and would recognise the power of it. This should be harnessed again during the live Online Negotiation to help inform your participants of your feedback during the bidding itself. If you wish to bolster the bids in a certain Lot, send out a message. If you wish for participants to stop bidding at the last minute and continuously triggering the dynamic close, send out a message. If you wish to thank all participants for taking part, send out a message, and so on. The Message Board is a great way to effciently communicate to a number of participants, plus it is fully auditable.

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Hosts Process Guide

5. Post Negotiation

5.1 Give the participants some feedback

Upon completion of the Online Negotiation Event, we recommend that you continue the courtesy shown towards your particpants by either a quick phone call or a short message to thank them for their bids. It is important to do this, as you may call upon their support and involvement at a later date.
Also at this stage you may have an indication as to which participants you will want to continue further with, and which you may want to decline. It is also hugely important to close out all such communication with each of your participants over the coming weeks. Your participants are your very own private market; a market you will want to keep keen for the future.

5.2 Request signed bids Although the Online Negotation Event bids are legally binding, there can still be a need to request signed bids. Firstl of all it gives you lasting evidence of the bids, evidence that you may wish to attach to a contractual agreement. Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to have a breakdown of the bid, if necessary. For example, if you negotiated the price of a machined parts contract on Market Dojo, the participants would be bidding on the annual value of the machined parts. Once the price is settled via the Online Negotiation Event, you can request the signed bids to provide a cost breakdown to include aspects such as raw material costs, delivery costs, tooling costs, labour costs and so forth. This can be particularly useful if you wish to enter a contract with a participant where the material costs shall be linked to a market index, such as Metal Bulletin, in which case you will need to know the material cost. You may also request the Exchange Rate used by a participant if their local currency is not GBP. This way you have a marker of their base price for future negotiations. A point of note is that we do not use the signed bid as an opportunity to ask the participant to make one final price change. The negotiation aspect is handled in the Online Negotiation Event and only in the Event. If you ask for price changes outside of the Event, then you are at risk next time of the participants not taking your Event as seriously as they should.

5.3 Complete the deal The final action, once your participants have been given the feedback and have sent you signed bids, is to choose your winning participant(s). The Online Negotiation Event is run on a 'Host's Choice' basis, meaning that you have the final say as to who is successful or not. For some events, it does not mean that you only have to pick one participant. It could be that certain participants are best for certain Lots, in which case you may require several participants. Alternatively, there may be one clear winning participant, but you may also wish to speak further with another participant with a view to working together further into the future. The entire selection process is up to you, and you are free to go about it however suits you or your company best. The process you use should be the one laid out in the Request for Participation or communicated to your participants at the beginning. If it is Host's choice, then you may want to say that you will meet with the top participants after the price negotiation to discuss other factors. This normally puts participants at ease as they know they will be able to highlight their other selling points. Alternatively, if you know you have an easily defined commodity or service, and there is good liquidity, then it may just be lowest price wins. Stay true to your process to keep their respect. We hope that this brings you the best of success and look forward to you hosting other opportunities with us again.

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