This is a question many business owners ask themselves at some point – and I am no different. As a professional tender writer, I know the amount of work that goes into preparing a tender submission. I also know how much winning a tender bid can help a business – guaranteed work for a year or sometimes 3+ years – yes please!
There have been many times I have looked at a Request for Tender (RFT) for business case writing services or grant writing services and thought – should I? Is it worth the time and effort? It might be helpful if I share what my thought processes have been at these times.
Is this exactly the kind of work I want to do, for the kind of client I want to work with? Firstly I need to confirm that I REALLY want this work. If I bid for it and get it, I will probably have to say no to other work. Am I ok with that? If the tender is for work that is kinda sorta what we want to do or for a client that I have not enjoyed working with before, then I don’t want to a) say no to better work/clients and b) put in all the work of preparing a bid.
Is my business the right size/stage for this tender? When I first started Whitney Consulting I was a sole trader with no staff. I had my experience in government as an assessor but very few runs on the board in terms of successful grant applications/business cases. I did not have a Quality Assurance process I could discuss because I was doing everything in the business – there was no one to review my work! Thinking from the assessors point of view – what would have happened if I got sick or was hit by a bus partway through completing their work? I was not the right size or stage of business to be winning tenders. Any tender I had submitted would have been a waste of time – unless I partnered with a larger company that had extra staff, processes and demonstrated experience.
Am I in with a chance? Taking a look at the work they want completed, do I honestly believe that Whitney Consulting would be THE best business to do that work? Have we got the experience, the successes, the staff and the time to absolutely nail the work? Tenders usually only go to one company (unless it is a panel tender) so you will be compared to others in your industry. If you don’t believe you are the best (either the best quality or the best value for money) then how can you convince the assessor that you would be the best choice? We only put in bids for tenders if we believe we would be the best organisation for the job.
Do we have the time? This isn’t referring to the time to write the tender, it is about – do we have the time to complete the work if we win it? There is no point winning a tender and then letting down the client because you can’t produce the goods – bad look for you and a waste of everyone’s time. One thing we don’t really consider is whether we have the time to write the tender. Because if we have said YES to all the other questions then, we will make time to write a quality tender application – because it is worth it!
I hope that helps you the next time you see an RFT and you’re not sure whether or not you should apply. If you have any tender-related questions, contact us at Whitney Consulting by hitting the button below!