This Checklist will Help
Tenders take time, and effort. If you have to put a lot of both into your response, you will put yourself under pressure. And you know what happens then; mistakes, typos, forgetting to add final details, not enough time to review and edit.
A poorly thought-through and presented response can do you damage and tarnish your reputation in the marketplace. Your response gives the client an impression of the overall professionalism and capability of your business; lack of attention to detail, or signs of being rushed, will not fill the prospect with confidence.
First impressions matter and a bid often provides your client with the first insight into the professionalism and commitment of your business.
One of the reasons for lack of success is the poor quality of tender submissions. In fact, I often suggest to clients, that if they can’t prepare a professional response, they shouldn’t respond at all. A low price will not overcome a poor response.
Why submit Tenders & Proposals
If it takes so much time and effort, and can damage your reputation, why step into this minefield?
Whatever is happening in the economy, there’s never a shortage of Requests for Tenders or Proposals being issued.
Governments are usually the biggest buyers of goods and services in most markets, a major source of business as mentioned in How to Overcome the Bureaucratic Burden of Compliance. Winning on-going government contracts is provides an important additional line of business, although I would suggest not making it your only source of business.
Some businesses are dangerously dependent on one or two customers, and the most dangerous number in business is one (A Dangerous Business Number).
Tendering and winning ongoing contracts is an important way of providing your business with long term stability, and allows you to build your reputation through providing services to high profile Government and corporate clients. Anyone who is serious about building their business must respond to tenders, but needs to respond professionally in order to have any chance of being successful.
If you haven't done it as yet, you need to assess your current capability to submit persuasive tenders, and where the gaps are in that capability; what do you need to put in place to do so, with minimum effort and maximum effectiveness.
How to Assess if You are Tender Ready
When it comes to the competitive bid response process, business doesn't reward runners-up. You either win or lose. If you are not prepared when the RFT is released, the chances of winning are not high. To avoid the problems of rushed tenders, make sure you are tender ready!
Here’s a checklist that might help.
Score yourself on a scale of 1 – 10, where 1 demonstrates complete lack of readiness, and 10 complete readiness.
1. Have you identified and documented the types of projects on which you are best suited to tender?
2. Do you have a documented “bid - no - bid” decision procedure, assessing the competition, the likelihood of winning, the likely profits, and impact on your other areas of operation?
3. Do you have documented project plans, and contract management plans for each of your main area of activity to demonstrate how you will deliver the solution?
4. Do you have a database of past tenders or samples of tenders in your principal areas of interest that you have analysed and developed draft responses?
5. Can you demonstrate experience in meeting requirements of a similar nature, scope and size? Is this experience documented in a form which can inform a tender response? Do you have a list of referees for these projects?
6. Rick Management Plan – do you have a documented Risk Management Plan that will demonstrate your ability to prevent or mitigate risks likely to arise in the types of projects in which you are interested? Have you sample Contingency Plans for such projects?
7. Community benefits – Governments frequently look for community benefits from their projects such as employment, training, procurement, etc. Can you demonstrate the community benefits you would bring to your identified target projects?
8. Capacity and capability – can you demonstrate your capacity and capability to meet typical project requirements? This will include equipment, personnel and finance.
a) Have you documented evidence of the plant and equipment you will allocate to a typical project?
b) Can you demonstrate the Project team/management structure which would be deployed for a typical project, including their roles and experience in such projects? Are their CVs to support this readily available?
c) Can you demonstrate your ability to fund a typical project?
d) Can you demonstrate your documented processes and procedures to ensure payment of employees, sub- contractors and creditors?
9. Quality Management – do you have documented Quality Management System? Are you ISO9000 accredited?
10. Insurance – can you demonstrate current Public Liability, and Professional Indemnity (if required) Insurance, and appropriate Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
11. Do you have a documented Project Control System in place?
a) Operational Plan
b) Work Health & Safety Plan
c) Environmental Management Plan
12. Do you have documented tender submission methodology, including how you analyse the RFT, understand the challenges leading to the requirement, identify the “hot buttons”, develop a Unique Value Proposition, develop a winning strategy, develop a project plan, and put in place a project team with assigned roles?
If you are not tender ready, and seek success in government tendering, now is the time to start preparation. Put together your tendering library, and be ready for to respond.
A tender is a business transaction, so be TenderWins ready, and give yourself the time to be professional.
Would you like to tell me about your tendering experience?
It will come as no surprise to you that I’m working on a new online course to help people win more tenders. My course will help you learn how to submit well presented, persuasive responses so that you win more tenders, without stress or feeling under pressure.
You will discover responding to tenders is no longer a complex, unclear burden, nor costly and demanding. You will learn how to prepare for, analyse and persuasively respond to tender requirements. Winning more tenders will take the stress out of your life.
The course will be around 8 weeks, with a new module each week delivered on-line, followed by a face-to-face webinar towards the end of each week to discuss participants’ questions and learnings from each module. Participants will build their skills step by step, reinforcing their learning.
We’ll be doing practical exercises based on your real-life experience with tender responses, identifying and working on the opportunities for improvement. Activities will be based on a Case Study. Where possible, participants will be asked to utilise an unsuccessful tender they have submitted. For those who have not yet submitted a tender, I will supply a real RFT, with some appropriate alterations.