4 Easy Steps To Achieve a Smart Bid Decision

4 Easy Steps To Achieve a Smart Bid Decision

Ensuring that you’re bidding for the right tenders and making an appropriate bid decision for your business can be difficult, particularly when you’re new to bidding.

There’s plenty of advice swirling around if you want to start streamlining your processes and getting on top of the procedures necessary to make great bid decisions to win more work successfully for your business.

But is it all smart advice? Here, we aim to guide you through the acres of advice on making informed bid decisions, and the key information you need to engage with the bidding process in an experienced and consistent way.

Ultimately, navigating the world of bids is something that develops with time. However, it’s true to say that implementing a few key strategies can make a whole world of difference and support you in winning the right bids for your business.

1.   Know Your Business Plan

Your business plan is the beating heart of your business and should be the core piece of how you decide which bids to go after. It’s at the core of everything you do and should help define which types of contracts and frameworks you choose to pursue

We appreciate that your business plan is likely a work-in-progress document – meaning that it can be ever-changing. However, it should always be a point of reference so that you don’t go after new work through doing bids that aren’t relevant to your business. Naturally, over time, you will find that what you originally wanted the company to do, and how you wanted it to grow, has changed, which may even be influenced by the types of bids you win. That’s fine! Having a business plan doesn’t mean everything you will choose to bid on through the bid decision-making process is set in stone.

Ideally, a good bid decision should align what you’re doing day-to-day with your plan, and targets, in order to achieve your business goals within the timeframe you set. You need to have an idea of what you’d like to do, how you want to get there, and how you want that growth period to work. All of those are elements which play into making a good bid decision; hence why we have focused on this from the outset!

If you’re not sure about a business plan or what a good one looks like, as a quick FYI, it should explain your business strategy and main goals within a set timeframe. These can be changed and moved around if required, but it’s good to have as much written down as possible. Here’s a great link from the Federation of Small Business if you would like to learn more.

2.   Analyse Client Requirements

The next step in making a good bid decision is to understand client requirements, does it align with your business plan, and what you can (or could) do to meet their needs. If you can’t, or there are obstacles that cannot be overcome through clarifications or offering an out-of-the-box solution, then you should make a no-bid decision (not every bid is going to be right for you, even if you can deliver it as well!)

There’s no getting away from the fact that doing the relevant research around your potential client’s needs and thoroughly reading through the bid documentation that has been released, are all integral to good decision-making. Doing that upfront diligence saves you time and money as well.  It will also give you a sense of the client through reading the documentation and whether you might like to work with them. You can then back this up with research on the client via the internet to help you build up a further picture of whether the opportunity is right for you.

Bid Decision

Failure to take these steps, and just bidding on something because you can, e.g., you’re a cleaning company and bid on every cleaning contract, will result in a low ratio of success. We also refer to this as the pray & hope method, which means using vague search criteria and applying for too many bids, some of which are probably not suitable. You then waste time, money, and effort, whilst diluting the quality of the bids you are going after. This approach is also unlikely to bring you consistent success with bids that align with your goals.

If you’re aware of your company’s main strengths, i.e. window replacement, refurbishments etc…, then searching for contract notices that are specific to them areas will increase your chance of winning the bid – especially if you have the evidence to back up your words!

If you’re aware of your company’s main strengths, i.e. window replacement, refurbishments etc…, then searching for contract notices that are specific to them areas will increase your chance of winning the bid – especially if you have the evidence to back up your words!

3. Compliance And Timing

The third component of a good bid decision is compliance and timing. Once you’ve looked through the client documentation, you can assess whether you meet all the compliance requirements (e.g., certifications) and also if you have enough time to do the bid well (including pricing!). If someone wants a bid back in four days, it might not be the one to go after, unless it’s too good an opportunity to be passed up.

When reviewing client documentation, it’s important to note that it differs from industry to industry, so look at the documentation provided in detail to ensure you submit a compliant bid.  Make sure you:

As an example, clients often want evidence that your business can financially be strong enough to deliver the contract. This can mean submitting evidence of a financial turnover worth 2 times the annual contract value. So, if the contract is worth £500,000, then clients may need proof of £1 million in your business in the last 12 months to show you’re a realistic contender and that your business will not become financially dependent on the contract.

4.   The Beauty Of The Bid Decision Tree

So how do you bring all of this together in an easy way to make a great bid decision?

The answer is the bid decision tree!

A bid decision tree is a quick and easy strategic tool you can make yourself and customise to your specific requirements that you want to use when making a good bid decision. It essentially functions as a scoring matrix to help you map out bids (tenders, supplier questionnaires, etc) against your business goals to ensure potential contracts or projects are workable and a good fit.

Bid Decision

It’s a scientific, structured approach to support alignment with priorities and help grow your business the right way.

You can make your own bid decision tree at any time; take 5-10 criteria to help you decide which bids to go for and why. We have included a sample bid decision tree matrix to show you

Here are some examples of what you can include in your bid decision tree:

Being informed thoroughly in the decision-making process will improve the rate at which your business succeeds with bids. Spending time at the beginning and completing due diligence can help you avoid wasting time and money. The wrong bid can damage your business if you aren’t able to make it work.

That’s why putting all these strategies in place can help you succeed at bidding. Taking the time to align potential bids with your business targets will progress and grow your business so you can gain more experience and expertise in your industry.

So Where Do I Find Opportunities? Tender Service Portals!

If you’ve found this helpful, but aren’t sure where to search for opportunities, the Find a Tender service portal is the UK Government’s free website where you can search for opportunities over £10,000 in aggregate contract value. The ProContract portal is a good place to start as well if you want to look at a specific software system that several clients use (there are dozens of these, and some are specific to geographic regions like SE Shared Services in the Southeast).

Alternatively, there are paid-for services which make this easier; we recommend B2B Quote as it’s user-friendly and one of the least expensive in the marketplace. (All of the software systems provide the same root data, it’s how it’s captured, shared, and the cost thereof, that’s the difference).

It’s helpful to search for contract notices regularly as you will be more up-to-date with the latest opportunities and are less likely to miss out on perfect tenders that match your business targets. Hence why we recommend that if you’re going to bid regularly that you get familiar with looking at opportunities and making great bid decisions!

Lastly, if anything in this article has sparked your curiosity, or you’d like to talk through the top tips we’ve shared, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 020 8012 8606, contact us via email or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram

We support our clients with regular bid decisions and can help you weigh up if an opportunity is correct for you!

Back to Blog