Preparing a tender is a tough job and if you are not careful they can get out of control. I wrote down these tips after a traumatic experience; a few simple things to set yourself up for success instead of heartbreak.
1. Focus on Requirements
It’s worth investing the time in really getting to grips with this. Have a clear idea of what is required and if in doubt go back for clarification. Then measure everything you do against this. Remember those school essays and ‘answer the question’!
2. Brainstorm the Answers
Bring an open and empty mind to the opportunity. Avoid reaching for stock answers and solutions and instead see what fresh thinking the team can come up with. Engage with the challenge and enjoy (and record) the process!
3 Storyboard the Response
Once you have your answers, work together to storyboard your response. Create a document with a natural flow; one that sets up the challenge and then shows how to engage with it and bring things to a successful resolution.
4 Planning the Document
Set a word count for each section and then allocate writing responsibilities. The rule for contributors is that you deliver on time, the exact number of words (or less) for your section. Be strict or you may receive a ‘cut and paste’ approximation that takes you ages to pull into shape.
5 Setting the Format
Make sure that everyone is using the same word-processing package. For example, different versions of Microsoft Word are incompatible and lead to formatting problems. Consider providing a pre-formatted document (fonts, typefaces etc) for contributors to work with.
6 Standardise on Formulas
To make your document easy to produce and understand, standardise the way you present information. For example: Tactics (What it is, How it works, Benefits); Profiles (Skills, Successes, Qualifications); Case Studies (Challenge, Solution, Benefits).
7 When in Doubt
Cut it out! If parts of the document seem dull and don’t do the job delete them. Make it easy and interesting to read. And avoid squeezing information in at the expense of good spacing. A bullet’ed list condensed into a paragraph is a brick wall to the reader.
8 Read it Out Loud
When all is done, get the team back together and have everyone read out their section. Does it have pace, and does it engage? Use this opportunity to further refine and polish the document so that it has vitality and momentum to it.
9 Executive Summary
Now translate this ‘film script’ into an elevator pitch. Your Executive Summary should inspire and delight the prospect. It should give a clear idea of what you are proposing and the benefits of you solution, while leaving the readers hungry to tuck into the document and find out more.
10 Dotting and Crossing It
Now make sure that spelling and grammar is good, sections are properly headlined and numbered; and the index and page numbers are correct. Hard copie,s and soft copies on a disk, will need to be produced and the courier booked to deliver the document to client in good time.
So that’s my top ten tips! Did I miss something? What else should we be watching out for? I love to hear your tender tips!