Writing a bid for the first time can seem like a daunting task, however following a few simple rules can increase your chances of success and keep your stress levels to a minimum.

It is becoming increasingly important for SMEs to look at the tendering process when it comes to winning new work. With thousands of notices published every year in the UK, there’s a good chance that you’ll encounter the tendering process at some point.

But what do you do when the task of writing the tender submission is delegated to you for the first time? It can feel overwhelming. However, by sticking to a few crucial steps, your chances of creating a strong submission will be increased significantly.

Here are 7 top tips to remember when writing your first bid:

Create a plan – before putting pen to paper, create a writing plan setting out the key points asked in each question and how you are going to respond. This will provide you with a structure, helping break the task of writing the response into manageable chunks and ensuring you don’t miss anything out. It will also give you a clear indication of how much needs to be done so you can plan it effectively into the timeframe available – and call in extra resources if required.

Make it relevant – make sure that your response answers the question that is being asked. If you have access to previous bid submissions your company has made, there might be the temptation to cut and paste responses, especially if you have a short deadline. You are much better using this as background information and writing your response from fresh – it is rare that a generic or templated response will fully answer the question and score the most marks available. Writing from scratch will ensure you are answering the question in full.

Focus your bid on the client’s needs – your response should be tailored to the needs of the client and reflect how the service you provide will benefit them. Don’t focus on what or how you do something, but rather on the benefit that doing it this way provides to the client.

Use your company’s expertise – although you’ve been tasked with writing the bid this doesn’t mean working in isolation. Within your company there will undoubtedly be areas of expertise you can tap into, which can help strengthen what you have written.

Make your writing persuasive – keep in mind that your bid submission is a sales proposal. You need to ensure that the client understands the benefits of choosing your submission over someone else’s. Make it clear what your company will bring to the contract and how this will add value.

Use the word count – most tender documents will give you a strict word or page limit. It might seem obvious, but you should use this as an indication of the level of detail being asked for. If the word count is 1,500, providing a response of 100 words will probably not suffice. Remember, your competitors will be writing to the limit and you should too.

Proofread your bid – While a few typos won’t be a deal breaker, if your bid is full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors it does set the tone and reflect on the quality of your organisation. Proofreading and reviewing your bid is a vital step in the process. You can always look to an external source for this if it is not your forte.

Article by Amy Forshaw of Executive Compass.

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