Tips for writing a tender proposal



Writing an effective tender proposal is one of the most difficult feats you’ll face. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed, so check out a few of our tips we’ve compiled from years of experience in the field.

Today we’re tossing up some strategies for you to utilise and write a better tender response. We’ll start with the process before you’ve even put pen to paper – or fingers to a keyboard – for your tender proposal. It’s important to firstly consider whether or not the project on offer is feasible, within the scope of your operations, can be completed in the time specified, on the budget outline. Should you respond in the first place?

Make sure it’s the right fit for your business, will prove a good opportunity to grow, rather than apply for it purely for monetary gain. You’ll want to consider things like: whether or not the project matches your strategy for evolving the business, if you’ll be able to match the criteria they require, how successful you think you’ll be in completing the job and whether you have the adequate resources at your disposal right now to continue the process of putting together a comprehensive tender proposal.

If and/or when you’ve ticked this box, it’s time to move forward and start developing your tender proposal. Some important things to consider when putting this together are asking yourself questions like: where is your client now, and what do you know about them? In order to make your tender proposal as effective as possible, you’ll need to do your due diligence – research the client – so you’ll have a better idea of their goals. SWOT analysis’ are always useful, particularly in this context as it will give you an opportunity to consolidate their strengths, as well as strengthen their weaknesses and threats. Consider, for example, the client hasn’t taken environmental considerations seriously in previous projects. If you have a backing in ISO14001 and environmental concerns are a key part of a unique selling point, or point of difference over competitors, this could be something you could leverage in your proposal. This is a simplistic, but effective example of how researching the organization can prove extremely effective in terms of getting an idea of where they’re currently sitting; and what you can help them with.

Another key consideration is: What do they want to get out from this project – looking past physical bricks and mortar – what are the key objectives? What does the project represent for them? And just as important: How can your organization play a pivotal role in facilitating the achievement of their goals? Again, research is a necessary evil here in terms of putting together an effective proposal, but it is something that will pay dividends when it comes to either submitting of presenting your tender proposal; and will almost certainly impress the tender coordinators. The more you know about them, the better you can tailor your tender proposal, outlining specific outcomes you want to achieve. Moving on to how you can help that goal, this can be done in a variety of ways. Again, the more you know about them, the more effectively you can address their needs. Could it be that time is one of their biggest priorities? It this a strength, or a weakness for your organization? Do they want to do it with a greater attention to budget concerns, or is the quality of the project something that is prioritised ahead of cost? How about environmental concerns, how do these fit in with your business’ working ethos?


These are considerations that should help to shape the appeal you’re making in your proposal to that organization; how you can act to either remedy or improve upon their needs and capabilities. You’ll be able to demonstrate how you can benefit them through the use of examples of the work you’ve completed in the past, previous experiences with clients – offer them referees that can attest to the quality of your products and/or services – as well as providing examples of when you’ve gone above and beyond in terms of addressing a client’s needs. If someone has pulled a last-minute change in a previous job, did you accommodate for that? If so, make a note of this can express this ability in your tender proposal submitted to the tender coordinator. In essence, what you’re leveraging with that proposal is your organization’s superiority over competitors when it comes to an output, or an outcome. More specifically, an output or an outcome that is tailor-made to the organization putting that tender out, so take the time out to consider how you can personalise your tenders in the future, applying some of the lessons above. The more research you can apply in your proposal, as well as the amount of work you put in explaining clearly and concisely exactly how your business can help with the outlined goals, the more attractive your tender proposal will ultimately look.

Regardless of the outcome, this - if you want it to - will prove a learning experience. If you win, congratulations. If you lost, use this in the spirit of the plan-do-check-act cycle, as an exercise for improvement. Arguably the most important factor here is that you get feedback, and you use that feedback- find out where your submission fell short, determine if you skipped important sections of the proposal, or if you failed to meet specific outcomes they were looking for.

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