Winning at the Proposal Game

Bids, Tenders and Proposals Submitting bids and tenders is a great way to grow and expand your business and is a great way for a small company to become a much larger company. It can be frustrating and costly to bid, this work taking you away from other business activities. However, winning a bid gives […]

Winning at the Proposal Game

Bids, Tenders and Proposals

Submitting bids and tenders is a great way to grow and expand your business and is a great way for a small company to become a much larger company. It can be frustrating and costly to bid, this work taking you away from other business activities. However, winning a bid gives you access to a new customer and other project opportunities. You also have to consider as to whether you have the financial standing and moral fortitude to undertake large projects so choose your opportunities with great care. Smaller projects can help your company grow efficiently and profitably with less drama and anguish. Here are a few pointers to remember when producing tenders.

1. Work in partnership on larger tenders, spreading the risk, costs and work required with a similar company, but also the profit.
2. Make sure that what you bid on you can actually provide at the price that you bid on.
3. Be on time with your submission – if you miss the cut off date and time you will not be evaluated.
4. Ask and review the questions if you are unsure. Questions asked are a great way to understand what other bidders are struggling with as well.
5. Similarly attend the briefings.
6. Read the RFP and PQQ numerous times, particularly the guidance notes, the must haves and the evaluation criteria. This gives you a wealth of knowledge about what is required and what will score you good points.
7. Keep to the word count and guidance on what to produce. If it says no attachments for example they will not evaluate these so keep this information in the main body of the tender. This includes CVs/Resumes.
8. Research: Look at sample tenders on the internet and try and find out who your target company deal with currently.
9. Understand your target company and what kind of objectives and visions you have. Prove in your tender that you understand the company.
10. Understand who you may be competing against and try and find your USP that will put you above them.
11. Do not use jargon without explaining it first.
12. Do not lie on your proposal in order to win – it will come back to haunt you if they find out or you win a bid you cannot produce.
13. Many companies are risk adverse so ensure they understand how you are mitigating risk.
14. Mention your company name at least once in each question- just to remind the weary evaluator who you are. Be positive about what you CAN provide. No modesty allowed in proposals.
15. Make your target company excited about working with your company whilst also giving them confidence that you can provide a winning solution.
16. Do not mention competitor names or make any reference to them, but make sure that you appear better than them in your proposal.
17. Use consistent branding and great presentation throughout your proposal, particularly if it is written by more than one person.
18. Ensure all the attachments have your company name, copyrights and bidding reference on them and obviously if you refer to an attachment, make sure they are actually submitted.
19. Ensure that your costing model is accurate and makes you a profit. Winning because you have a low priced bid is no good if you are tied to a non profit making proposal for the next few years.
20. Lastly quality check to ensure you have answered all the questions correctly, spelt and grammar checked and have not missed out any requirements.
21. Always ask for feedback on your proposal, even if you lose.
22. If you are asked to a presentation, do not assume you have won, they often ask several. Prepare to give the best presentation of your solution that you can.
23. Keep bidding, it’s a numbers game, the more you tender the more chance you have of winning, particularly as you get better and quicker and bidding.

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