Are you ‘tender ready’? 5 things to consider before you start writing your bid

You’ve found a tender that looks like it’s a good fit for your business. You’ve created and followed your own ‘bid/no bid’ guidelines and decided to take the plunge.

But do you have everything you need to complete the tender questionnaire and score well? Here’s five things to consider:

1. Policies

Do you have all the right policies in place and up to date? Tenders can ask for all sorts of policies including health & safety, equality & diversity, environmental management, business continuity, information security, data protection, recruitment, safeguarding, quality assurance, employee codes of conduct, to name but a few.

Read through the tender questionnaire and make a note of:

  • Policies you do have – make sure these are up to date and reflect both your own company’s working practices and any recent changes in legislation. You should also update them to include any requirements specifically noted within the tender.
  • Policies you don’t yet have – these will need creating, reviewing and approving, so don’t leave these to the last minute!

2. Process & procedure documents

Does the tender ask for details of your internal processes, such as quality management, complaints procedures, line management structures or staff supervision? What about example copies of paperwork, such as risk assessments, invoices, staff timesheets or training plans?

Make a note of everything the tender asks for and then start gathering them together. Wherever you can, use examples that relate closely to the bid you’re working on, e.g. using example risk assessments from similar projects.

3. Evidence

As well as internal paperwork, most tenders will require evidence of your financial stability and many will also ask for copies of certificates or other documents relevant to your industry.

Do you have copies of your audited accounts or other forms of proof of your financial stability? The tender will specify what’s acceptable and your accountant can help you gather it all together.

Other documents that might be required include (but are not limited to):

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Membership certificates for industry associations
  • Individual staff qualifications or DBS certificates
  • Case studies, references and testimonials

4. Feedback & scoring

Have you considered any feedback from previous tenders? Whether you won or not, feedback and scoring information from past bids can help you improve your responses this time.

If you scored lower than you expected in any areas, compare the questions in those sections to similar questions in your current bid and consider where you could add detail to your answers and value to the contract.

Along with past feedback, look at what the current bid’s scoring criteria are. This will give you an insight into the tendering organisation’s priorities and help you respond accordingly.

5. Previous answers

Did you score well in a particular area last time you tendered? What information can you re-use from past bids to maintain your scores in this one? Again, compare your responses to similar questions in your current bid and figure out where you can slot in those little gems of info that have earned you good scores before.

However, while there’s no sense in reinventing the wheel, a word of warning: If you do re-use information, don’t just copy and paste – make sure every answer is adapted to the requirements of the bid you’re working on.

 

That’s five elements to consider before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). If you’d like more help to get you ‘tender-ready’ or for anything bid related, get in touch!

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