Frustration is probably the most common problem you will encounter when preparing a bid: vital information arriving that you should have received a week ago, IT glitches and formatting errors are just some of the things that could (and most likely will!) go wrong at the last minute.
Last Minute Deadlines
As anyone who has ever prepared a PQQ or tender knows, the deadline is often earlier than you may have anticipated, and tends to approach far too fast, leaving a lot to complete in a short space of time. We are often asked to help with last minute submissions, in which a bid team can’t possibly dedicate the staffing resources to meet the deadline. In our experience, most clients struggle when they fail to have a plan in place, and we recommend our tried and tested in-house procedures when it comes to planning and preparation – even for last minute projects.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
You can’t foresee everything that might go wrong, but forward thinking and preparation can help alleviate a lot of the pain, stress and frustration as the submission deadline looms ahead of you. Some useful tools in your armoury include:
- A structured bid programme that shows you and everyone involved where you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. This will include such items as key deadlines (including the submission date and time).
- A list of all the key deliverables and who is responsible for them. Make sure everyone is aware of what is expected of them and when they have to deliver.
- A bid meeting schedule (make sure all the stakeholders are available to attend).
- If you do need to submit hard copy, check to make sure the printer has all the required consumables and reserve it for the sole use of the bid team.
- Make friends with your IT support team and make sure they are aware of the submission deadline so they monitor the systems to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
- If your submission is hard copy, book the courier well in advance.
Break the bid document down into smaller sections and delegate the responsibility of each part to someone who knows the subject.
- As each section of the bid is prepared, get it reviewed by at least two people – using a fresh pair of eyes will significantly increase the chances of spotting the spelling mistake that you missed.
- Never take the approach of ‘just sit down and write it’. It is more than likely the resulting document will be unstructured, clumsy and amateurish. The chances of winning will be greatly reduced and the frustration resulting from being unsuccessful could seriously impinge on your approach to the next bid.
Planning is the Key
There are many other problems that can potentially arise in the whole bid process and it might seem that the ones mentioned above are stating the obvious, but a robust, well prepared and executed plan can go a long way to making life much easier for your bid team. The process needs to be structured from start to finish, from cutting through the specification to reviewing all of your work.
Executive Compass has a team of expert bid writers who have a wealth of experience in tender preparation. We can provide as much or as little support as you need to get you through the whole bid process. We will work alongside you and give you new perspectives on how to ‘read’ the bid requirements and even more importantly, how to answer them in a way that can significantly increase your chances of success.
For further information, see Preparing for a Must-Win Bid, or to talk to one our team. Call us free on 0800 6125563.