Writing a Successful Bid for your Online Tender
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The process of finding a tender online and then bidding for it, is all very well but if your bid documents are not up to scratch you will put yourself at a huge disadvantage to those whose bids are well presented. In this article Ian Evans outlines some of the key aspects of writing for a successful bid. While CBN's focus is for online tenders these rules hold true for any aspect of the tender bidding process. To see Tenders on CBN go to the Western Cape Tenders page.
Bid Writing and Winning Tenders - 10 Golden Rules For Bid Writing Success
By Ian Evans
Bid Writing is a skill in itself. If you are in the position of fighting to sustain and grow your organization, keeping your competition at arms length while also making in roads into new territory, is it enough to bid low and hope high? Anyone who has recently expressed an interest in a tender will know that the required response documents are invariably intricate and detailed. The key is to be able to navigate through the minutiae while never losing sight of the overall thrust and unique selling point of your bid. Easier said than done? Well bid writing is not an exact science but the expertise required to respond well to a tender cannot be underestimated. To get you started, here are the 10 Golden Rules of Bid Writing in 2009:
1. The early Bird Catches the Worm. The biggest advantage you can give yourself is time. Get notified of tenders as soon as they are published through online tender portals or specialist websites. For example register free with OJEU or pay to be with a notification site such as Tenders Direct and get tender opportunities delivered to your email.
2. Plan, Plan and Plan Again. Most people who have been involved in bid writing will recognise burning the midnight oil as the tender deadline approaches. The solution? Good planning. The day-to-day priorities will always be there as the tender clock ticks on and it can be very easy to delay the writing of a bid until it cannot be put off anymore. Time management and resource planning is critical. If consultant bid writers are required, identify the need at an early stage.
3. Don't Fall at the First Fence Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) are designed to check that an organisation is fit for purpose to deliver this size and type of contract. The level of detail required is frequently of similar length to some full tender response documents. Ensure that time is allocated to properly complete the PQQ and that all questions are answered. Many PQQ questions are designed to obtain an eligible or ineligible response and any ineligible responses may lead to an organization being immediately rejected at the PQQ stage. Answer carefully and ensure your hat gets thrown in the ring.
4. Do What You Are Told. Human nature often makes us want to jump straight in and get the job done. In tendering, this is a recipe for disaster. Once you have your tender documents take a step back, breath and read the instructions, the contract specification and the evaluation criteria. Then read them again. As you write, reflect what you have written back to the instructions, to ensure you are on track. The level of detail required and the number of instructions can often mean that in-house bid writers become consumed by the tender to such an extent that they cannot see the wood for the trees. It is useful to ask colleagues or a bid writing consultant to proof read your tender and score it against the published evaluation criteria well in advance of the submission deadline.
5. Can't Write = Can't Do. Your bid needs to answer the questions set and promote your unique selling points to commissioners. Write professional, formal and succinct sentences that provide all of the required information supported by evidence. The response document is your opportunity to demonstrate to commissioners that you are the best organisation to deliver the contract. You cannot demonstrate this if tender questions remain unanswered, incomplete or inaccurate. The implication is that you would be incapable of delivering the contract accurately to completion.
6. You already know me.... If you know the commissioning body, members within it or if the tender is related to a contract that you are currently delivering, promote your organization the same as you would if you were an unknown entity. Not providing enough information is a common mistake to make, never assume commissioners know about your organization.
7. Price Wise. You are best placed to determine what your price will be. You should be experienced in your field and know what your bottom line is or that you will achieve full cost recovery. Interpretation of tender documentation can leave some scope for variations in prices however. These invariably revolve around the level of quality or intensity of delivery of a service or product. As a rule of thumb, it is most advantageous to pitch your price in the mid range of what you believe the competition will be. Low priced bids may be rejected because it is unclear how quality can be delivered at that price or there is apprehension that an increase in the price of the contract will be negotiated following the award of tender. High priced bids may be rejected on value for money grounds. The key is to know your business.
8. Shout before you're Out Bid writing is a skill that many organizations directly employ. Other smaller organizations or those new to tendering may not have that skill in-house. Whatever your position, the priorities of the organization need to be properly assessed and if extra resource is required then shout before you're out. Bid writing consultants are experienced and skilled at winning tenders. They are familiar with the types of questions asked and have the ability to write quality tenders on behalf of organizations. You only pay for this resource when you need it rather than employing staff directly or increasing the size your tendering team. Consultants will also proof read your tenders, score them against evaluation criteria and produce presentations for you. If you need support, buy it.
9. Do What You're Told...Again. Legal processes apply to many tenders, particularly public sector tenders. Follow the submission instructions and submit your tender by the deadline. If the deadline is 10.00am tenders arriving at 10.01am will often get rejected. Don't take the risk. Keep your tender packaging free from identification unless otherwise instructed. If your tender is to be delivered by courier, ensure the courier company does not mark the packaging with a delivery sticker including your details.
10. Do Your Presentations Stimulate or Sedate? Once your bid has been short-listed you need a presentation to sell your organization, sell your bid and convince commissioners that you are best placed to deliver the contract. PowerPoint is another skill that many organizations don't have in-house. Presentations need to be clear, concise, punchy and easy to follow. If you need support to create presentations that will stimulate your audience rather than sedate them then don't be afraid to buy that support from a bid writing consultancy.
© BFT Consultancy 2009
Ian Evans has over 10 years bid writing experience of securing multi-million pound contracts through Public Sector competitive tendering and bid writing. He is Director of Bids, Funding & Tenders (BFT) Consultancy http://sites.google.com/site/bidsfundingtenders/ which provides bid writing support to businesses who wish to grow their income through competitive tendering.
More information on how BFT Consultancy can assist your business to secure Public Sector contracts, attract additional funding or win a bid with a powerful presentation can be found on their website.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ian_Evans
To see Online Tenders on CBN go to the Western Cape Tenders page.
Date Posted: 2009-06-08
Posted By: Online Tenders
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