Tenders: what not to do

Business Tender




Often, there are many things that companies fail to do when procuring new business, neglectful tender writing being just one of them. Creating a successful tender should be a well thought out and thorough process. With this in mind, Celestine Ekpenyong of Every Box Ticked Consultancy talks us through what NOT to do to ensure your tender has a fighting chance.


1.     Don’t ignore the power of having strategic tendering goals

Before you do anything else, take the time to think about, and outline in detail, your specific tendering goals. It will pay dividends in the long run, if you start out with a clear picture of the types and value of contracts you want to procure. This will help you to target the right clients for your business.


2.     Don’t fall into the trap of ‘reactive’ bidding

Resources first, opportunities second. It is hugely unproductive to seek out the opportunity before having sourced the resources you may need to bid for the opportunity. This is called reactive bidding and it won’t do you, or the company you’re bidding to, any favours, as you’ll be completely unprepared and this will show in your tender.


3.     Don’t chop and change who in your company is responsible for a tender once it’s underway

If a bid gets passed from person to person, or team to team, throughout the bidding process, you risk creating a lack of responsibility for it and therefore a lack of pride, which could result in sloppy work. Assigning responsibility to a specific person or team will help to ensure knowledgeable continuity throughout the process, and a sense of ownership, that will show in the quality of the finished bid.


4.     Don’t focus on ‘any old client’

Familiarity does not breed contempt in this instance! It breeds thorough, knowledgeable and fully realised bids. Identifying the companies you’d like to work for, and becoming familiar with their specific goals and objectives, gives you a head start when targeting them for their contracts. It’s equally as helpful to be aware of the companies you don’t want to work with too.



5.     Don’t apply for opportunities that you won’t be able to fulfil

Not only does this waste everyone’s time and hard work, but applying for opportunities you can’t honour also reflects badly on your company’s reputation, which can lead to loss of earnings or even bankruptcy. Performing a cost analysis and including income projections in all of your bids is a surefire way of avoiding this.


6.     Don’t ‘leave it to the last minute’ to express interest in suitable opportunities

The workload increases dramatically, as do the stress levels, if you express an interest in an opportunity when the deadline is only a matter of days away. This will be evident in your finished tender and could be the difference in winning it or losing it. Time is of the essence, the more you have, the better your tender will be!


7.     Don’t ‘skim’ guidelines / tender requirements

Always read all tender documents to within an inch of their lives before you commence with the bidding process. A lengthy contractual document is home to a number of important contractual clauses, clauses that you do not want to unearth midway through the bidding process, less your bid become untenable.


8.     Don’t neglect the finer details of your tender submission

Meticulous planning of your tender submission is imperative for both your peace of mind and the likelihood of it being a successful bid. A section by section plan will develop your awareness of every process associated with it, from the printing process to the courier delivery process and so on and so forth, giving you the confidence when you come to sit down and write it.


9.     Don’t overlook the importance of presentation

You’ve done all the hard work in writing your bid, so don’t fall at the last hurdle with your presentation. This is the first thing the company you are bidding to is going to see, so it’s worth spending a little extra, where both time and money are concerned, by hiring a professional to help make your bid stand out from the pile in the most unique and professional way possible.


10.  Don’t just ‘sit back and wait and see

The sending of your bid shouldn’t be the end of it (and hopefully it won’t be!) but regardless of whether or not you are successful, following up your bid and finding out where you performed well, and where you were weaker, plays an important role in shaping future bids and future successes. Constructive criticism is vital in order to help you increase your strengths, by becoming aware of where you didn’t get it quite right, for next time.