Writing a tender response takes a LOT of time. That is fine, if the only thing you are doing that week is writing the tender but how many companies can let a week go past without getting any actual work done? Not many!
You have options of course. You can,
A) Do a rush job and put together an average tender response (Not recommended. You’re unlikely to get the contract and the reputational damage could be bad!)
B) Delegate it to a staff member who does not have all the business knowledge that you do so they fail to mention all your awesomeness or need you to hold their hand anyway (also not recommended as you reduce your chances of success and you will end up spending a lot of your time on the response anyway.)
All these options have their plusses and minuses and an ideal situation would be upskilling a staff member to be able to do a great job…assuming you can afford to take them offline for a week to write the response. Otherwise, outsourcing is the way to go.
But aside from outsourcing, which costs money, how do you manage to write a quality tender response, that could result in a huge amount of work and money for your company, while you are still working on all the other company business? The key, as always, is being prepared.
Being prepared for tenders means:
Knowing your pricing. If you know what it costs you to complete all the services you provide and what your profit margin is, then pricing up a tender is very simple. If not, it is very difficult, takes a lot of time and is stressful worrying whether you are charging too much or too little. You need to have an understanding of what it costs you to deliver the work your business does – this means staffing, administration, equipment, materials and all your costs. Then you need to know what a reasonable profit margin is to place on top of your costs. This will vary depending on your industry and the quality of service you provide and it require trial and error, but after a while in business and applying for tenders, you should get a fair idea of what a reasonable margin is. With this information prepared, pricing a tender becomes more systematic and a lot quicker and easier.
Having your organisational capability information ready to go. Prepare a capability statement and collate information ahead of time about:
- the past experience of your organisation and its key staff,
- the processes, procedures and policies in place within your organisation (including for risk management, OSH and quality assurance which are often asked about),
- your compliance with any legislation, standards, accreditations or registrations, and
- the organisational structure and governance in place within the organisation
This information can be kept in a folder on your system and will save you some precious hours when those tight timeframe tenders are released. And every time you win a new piece of work, add it to your Organisational Capability folder so it can be used as an example of previous experience in the next tender.
Being prepared will save you time and help you to deliver a better-quality response. Even though tenders do take a lot of time and are a distraction when you have ‘real’ work to do, they are worth it. They can result in long-term workload security, consistency of cashflow and increase the amount of work you are able to secure. Submitting a quality tender response will not only increase your chances of success in that tender but will also enable you to demonstrate your professionalism and capabilities to the client for future work and/or referrals. They should not be rushed or considered something that you just have to do the bare minimum and get it off your hands.
If you need help with your next tender, contact Whitney Consulting!