Love Me Tender: What’s bid writing all about?

If you went into business for the excitement, taking part in a competitive tendering process probably wasn’t quite what you had in mind.

Elvis sang ‘Love Me Tender‘, and he was right on the money.  Tendering is a brilliant way to connect with new business opportunities, and since contracts are often several years long, they can bring stability to your business.  It’s not an activity just for large organisations.  The government is keen to make potentially lucrative public sector contract work more accessible to SME organisations.

Win a free place on our next Bid Writing Workshop

Paul Sharville, McCrudden Training’s bid-writer extraordinaire gives you some insight into how to get involved in tendering below. If you want to know more we’re offering the chance to win a free place on our next Pitch Perfect: how to tender and win course.  All you have to do, is tell us how many Elvis songs are hidden in this “Love Me Tender” article.  Make sure you email us before 1 December 2012 to be in with your chance of winning.

More about bid writing & tendering…

“Bid writing” might sound rather tedious.  You’ve probably heard it involves late nights writing the equivalent of a small novel, and answering questions to which you don’t have answers, while continuing to run your business.  The good news is, it doesn’t have to be boring or frustrating. So don’t get all shook up about it, let’s take a look at Paul’s advice for building confidence in bid writing:

  • Understand the process: Competitive tendering is the formal process by which a group of businesses (providers) submit a proposal bid to a prospective client in order to secure a contract.  To be invited to tender, you must first complete a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ).  This where commissioners want to know your business isn’t blowin’ in the wind.  They’ll want to know about your turnover, level of insurance cover, health & safety policies, any accreditation’s your business holds and what qualifies you to meet their needs.  If you meet all the PQQ criteria, you could be invited to tender.  Here, bidders are expected to submit a very specific proposal, which covers their intended approach to the task, as well as their suitability for it. Polished websites and company brochures mean little.  It all comes down to the quality of your bid, and how well you respond to the questions posed. It’s a case of a little less conversation, a little more information!
  • Find opportunities: Opportunities are published across a number of websites (portals). Visit our resources page for a list of great portal websites where lucrative tendering opportunities are published.
  • Be selective:  Winning a contract can be a real windfall for your business, but, it’s no quick-fix.  Tendering is a lengthy process.  If you’re going for a lot of bids and getting few results, it’s tempting to give up and go back to telesales.  Successful tendering is about choosing the right opportunity to bid for, and sometimes that can be about realistic contract values.  There is something of an unwritten guideline in public sector tendering that the value of contract should be around a third of the successful bidders annual turnover.  There are other factors to consider when looking at potential opportunities, but the key is directing your bid writing efforts into tenders that you have the best chance of winning.

“I was approached by one company who had tendered for fifty contracts and not won a single one.  Morale was at rock bottom. One of the first things we identified when we undertook a win-rate analysis for them was that they were simply bidding for the wrong contracts. When they began to evaluate opportunities more critically, they started getting their first wins.”

  • Build a bid team: Bid writing involves collating information from a number of sources, so involving others really makes a difference.  Even if you’re a sole trader, there will be people you can pull in to help with bid writing.  You just need to look around!  Find out who you need on your bid writing team.
  • Recycle your material:  A successful tendering system can be a good luck charm for your business, and the more you do it, the more your library of submission content will increase, and the easier it will be to write future bids. We promise that once you’ve started, you can’t help falling in love with tendering.

Don’t think twice, it’s all right to bid….

Earning that large contract can be incredibly satisfying and it can lead to great business connections for the future. For those with suspicious minds and no prior knowledge of tendering, however, it can seem a little intimidating at first.  So if you’d like to ask a question about bid writing, or to find out more about Paul’s bid writing services, why not call us on 0845 257 5871 or read more about being ‘Pitch-Perfect’ here.

Win free bid writing training.

And don’t forget to email Nicky or Ray on info@mccrudden-training.co.uk to go in the draw to win a free place on our next workshop.  Just tell us how many Elvis song titles are hidden in this blog.