Often used as a method of procurement, tendering for projects is a great way to take the first step into working for many industries like defence, government, construction and manufacturing. Allowing newer, smaller businesses to compete at the same level with more established organisations, the tendering process can also help businesses win future contracts. However, when new to the whole process, it’s very easy to say the wrong thing on your tender proposal which ends up costing the project. This is why most first-time tenderers prefer to enlist the help of a tender writer to ensure they put their best foot forward.
Although it is always a good idea to use the services of a tender writer when you are first starting out, many C-suite executives prefer going the DIY route. With the right knowledge and skills of persuasion, it is possible to win a contract, even if the process will end up taking you away from your management duties for quite some time. If you are determined to try your hand at tender writing yourself, the following tips may help:
Be Realistic About Timelines
As a C-suite executive, chances are that your organisation relies heavily on the decisions you make and the tasks you delegate during your workday in order to proceed and prosper. You may find that your own work responsibilities take up most, if not all of your workday, sometimes also bleeding into the time you’re supposed to be away from work. Be real with yourself, how much time do you really have to spare to put into the tendering process?
Because the truth is, writing a tender proposal is time, resource and money consuming, often taking weeks or even months to write a single proposal. You may find it more helpful to delegate the task to trusted employees and have them run every section by you before finalising. This will take the tasks of research, preparation, writing and proofreading away from you, leaving you more time to focus on your core responsibilities.
You can help your designated employee(s) by ensuring the following:
Identify The Right Tender Request
Not every tender request will be right for your business. You may find that preparing tender proposals for every project you find is not only a waste of time and resources, but also doesn’t raise your chances of winning a tender. Doing so will only leave you and your employees frantically struggling to meet deadlines, resulting in sloppy, rushed tender proposals.
It is important to identify the right tender for your business, one which you have the highest chance of winning and dedicating all your time and energy into preparing the best proposal for it. This will require an in-depth understanding of not only your own business, but that of the tendering client. Understand the challenges your client is facing and ask yourself if you have the solution they need. Do you have the manpower to complete the project? Do you meet the mandatory requirements and have all the necessary licenses to get the job done?
Once you have created your tender management team and found the right tender request for your business, it is time to build a strategy for the tender writing process. Look over the tender documents carefully, and take note of the following requirements:
- Hard information – which will include your ABN and company profile, insurances, price lists (including all taxes), intellectual property rights and proposed schedules.
- Selection criteria – which will tell you exactly what the client is looking for from a proposal. Paying attention to these and carefully thinking through your answers in a way that best sells your services without coming off as pushy or boastful is an art honed over years.
- Format – which will tell you if the client has provided a template for you to follow when preparing your proposal. Often, clients provide a ready-made template which must be followed to the letter, but in other cases, the format of the proposal is left to the seller. If there is no template provided, it is your chance to impress your clients with a clean, organised yet attractive format that incorporates visual effects to get your point across.
Writing the Proposal
Next comes the part where you or your team actually write the proposal, which can often be the most time-consuming. It is one thing to have all the right things to say in your mind and another to put it down on paper. You may find that the sentence that seemed highly professional and respectful in your mind comes across as boastful and haughty when in written form. It is highly unlikely that your first draft will be your last – it may take several tries before you get the tone right. This is why it is important to leave yourself enough time to be able to write, rewrite and edit your proposal to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.
Proofreading and Editing
Often overlooked, this may possibly be the most important part of the tender writing process! It can be heartbreaking to lose a tender opportunity merely because you let spelling errors or typos slip through. When you have looked over a document a gazillion times, it can be very easy for your eyes to gloss over mistakes. This is why, even if you have written and prepared the entire tender proposal yourself or with the help of your employees, it is imperative to get in touch with a professional tender writer to go over it once before hitting the submit button. Not only will they be able to offer a fresh, objective perspective to your proposal, any lingering errors will also be picked up and fixed.