Competing for tenders is a fantastic opportunity for your company to take on new projects that can lead to significant growth and expansion. The tendering process is designed to encourage a competitive marketplace that provides equal opportunity to all contenders, regardless of their size and network connections.
Tendering is not an easy process however. It can be time-consuming and with no guarantee that your application will be accepted, submitting tender applications en masse can prove to be a costly undertaking.
With that in mind, consider following this five-step method to writing a tender proposal. Streamlining your tender writing process will significantly reduce the time and financial commitment, and will ensure that your application reflects the capabilities and experience of your company in the best light possible.
The first step (and arguably the most important) to writing a tender proposal is identifying potential opportunities.
Often a tender application will be unsuccessful simply because the company and the project are not a good match — perhaps the client is looking for a team with more resources at hand or one who is familiar with a specific project methodology.
Establishing your market and identifying opportunities that are perfectly suited to your company’s size, experience and areas of expertise will provide solid grounding to your application. Consider signing up to tender notification services, which are generally available via the websites of professional bid and tender management companies. Customise alerts to your industry and location and instantly receive alerts should an opportunity become available that fits your business.
In Australia, Federal Government tenders valued at or above $80,000 are also typically advertised on the AusTender website whilst each state has their own dedicated tender website. Tenders specific to ICT and digital projects can be found on a website known as Digital Marketplace.
Upon having located an opportunity and downloaded the tender documents, take your time to carefully read through the entire application. Depending on the size of the project, this could take quite a while but it is important that you are aware of the requirements for submission so that you can begin to plan what resources you will need to put together your proposal.
Take note of the following details:
- What hard information is required. This could include your ABN, company profile, price for the product/service you will be providing (including GST and other taxes), a proposed schedule, applicable insurances and intellectual property rights (if required).
- What selection criteria you need to address. This will usually take up the bulk of the application and will contain a range of questions designed to showcase your knowledge, skills and experience.
- How you will format your application. The client may have provided a template (which you must follow!) or you may be able to utilise your own. If the latter, ensure you structure your response in a clear, logical and organised manner. Consider branding the application using a specific colour scheme, font and image choice that reflects the professionalism of your company.
Consider also planning the personnel in your team who will be working on the proposal and a timeline for submission. Most tender application submission dates are non-flexible and so it is very important that you dedicate enough labour and time to avoid sleepless nights as the deadline draws near.
Create a checklist based upon the key points you identified in your planning stage and get to work! Give yourself plenty of time to draft and redraft your application and consult with staff members across your company to ensure you are accurately capturing the capabilities and experience of your team.
If you have multiple staff members working on the proposal, consider appointing a team leader who is in charge of maintaining the most up-to-date document and keeping everyone on schedule.
Ensure you leave enough time before submission to review, edit and proofread your work. It may be a good idea to hire the services of a professional proofreader who can bring fresh eyes to the project. The last thing that you want is small spelling and grammar mistakes slipping through which can indicate a lack of professionalism and poor time management.
The last step! Submit your application in the required format well before the deadline date and look forward to hearing a (hopefully positive) response from the client.
Alternatively, if you are new to the world of writing a tender proposal or feel that your application process could do with a little refresh, consider engaging the services of a professional bid and tender management team. Experience and a new perspective can do wonders in elevating your response and providing confidence in the capabilities and expertise of your company.