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Article Details

Published Date: 21-03-2010
Author: Executive Compass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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You may have a PQQ or a bid to write and you need a writer. How do you choose? How do you differentiate one bid writer from another and what makes a good bid writer or possibly more importantly what makes a bad bid writer?

Like most things in life bid writers come in all shapes and sizes but I believe that the best bid writers are those that are generalists and have worked in industry before becoming a writer.

Writing a Bid

Apart from the usual information and financials about your company there are a number of commonalities.

Health and Safety, Quality, Management of People, Sustainability and so it goes on. Now some PQQ and bid writers will copy and paste and stitch you something together. The problems arise when the bid writer does not understand context, only a practitioner can understand context, a bid writer can write a model answer but a practitioner can write a model answer and apply context to it. That can make the difference between going through or not. So they should have worked as other things before becoming a bid writer.

Why a generalist? Because a generalist bid writer, as long as they have also been a practitioner, will understand the complex linkages between organisational function and know how each one compliments the other and builds up to create your core competence. Too many bid writers can write model answers but are unable to link them together into a coherent story.

A generalist bid writer will also understand organisational strategy, if they have worked at a high level they will also understand the need for tradeoffs, be comfortable with ambiguity and realise that the world is not perfect. Too many bid writers think that because they have provided model answers they should win the bid. They forget about innovation, about creativity and about being different. They play it safe because they do not understand business, yes they understand bid writing but business is different.

Sometimes David does beat Goliath! How? By doing things differently by expressing yourself and by having passion and belief when writing the bid.
Far too many bid writers write bids without soul. Their bids lack any imagination or innovation and are full of management speak. Then they wonder why they have not won the bid!!

A good bid writer speaks to the reader; they do not baffle or bore them with fancy words or pictures. Good bid writing is like SEO, content is King. A good bid writer will know this; will speak to the reader with passion, with enthusiasm and with belief. Only a generalist who has been at the sharp end and understands business can do that.

By the way, did I tell you I was a generalist practitioner who was also a bid writer?

For some general tender writing tips, watch the video below:

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