Tendering Top Tips

Why not grab a cup of tea and browse this library containing hundreds of snippets, collated over many years' working with companies experiencing bidding challenges. These three-sentence knowledge bites are presented in an easy-to-read format, distilled from a lifetime of experience.

Corporate and Social Responsibility

/ Customers, Tendering Top Tips

It is no longer enough to say you will recycle paper in your offices or recruit three trainees. Clients want to leverage added value from their projects.

They will look for innovative ideas and want to see evidence of “how” initiatives will be implemented as well as tangible measures of “what” will be delivered.

Extra points will be awarded if you can also commit to “when” and “who”.

3 Questions You Should Ask Before You Tender

/ Bid Process, Tendering Top Tips

1. Money – will the contract make us money?

2. Resources – do we have the resources (internally, by subcontract or through partnership) to deliver the tender and the project?

3. Strategic fit – does the work fit with the strategic direction of the company?
Answering these simple questions often helps shortcut a more complex bid / no-bid process.

Competitive Advantage

/ Competitors, Tendering Top Tips

“I don’t have to,” answered the second, “I only need to run faster than you!”
Your bid does not need to be perfect, but it does have to beat the competition.

Motivation is Essential to Proposal Writing

/ Bid Process, Tendering Top Tips

This task is best addressed by using a rigorous proposal system to project manage the work. By breaking the job down into smaller manageable elements, the task can be more easily achieved.

Bid Teams

/ Bid Team, Tendering Top Tips

This pro-forma should include all the essential data: the proposal’s win theme, the context within which their section appears, the submission deadlines, the quantity of text required, the checking process and all standardised references such as company names, abbreviations etc.


1. Commas can be used to break a long sentence into its natural parts.

A sentence containing three or more commas is likely to be too complicated, and should be restructured into two shorter sentences.

2. Commas can be used in place of brackets to enclose a phrase within a sentence.

The tender, which was worth £50,000, was submitted on time.

3. A comma can be used after an introductory clause.

If you are writing a report, check your punctuation and spelling carefully.

4. Commas can be used between the items in a list.

The bid team comprised John, Clare, Susan and Paul.

Bid and No Bid Decisions

/ Bid Process, Tendering Top Tips

As soon as a biddable opportunity is recognised, you should follow a structured process to decide the degree of involvement wanted. At this stage, you can consider the likelihood of success, the competitive position, anticipated returns and possible opportunities for partnership. Once a decision is taken, your bid writer(s) can deliver content, confident that it will be used.

Re-Use of Tender Material

/ Bid Process, Tendering Top Tips

A good filing system will help you access material quickly. This is best set up as soon as a tender has been completed. All draft material should be discarded and only good copies retained. These should be filed under meaningful names in relevant folders. It is important to ensure that other people in your company are aware of the filing system and use it effectively.


/ Graphics, Tendering Top Tips

Your graphics should be reproduced in the highest quality possible, but keep file sizes manageable particularly if the document is to be transmitted electronically. Ensure all graphics look consistent by standardising the title bars, using the same outline methods and keeping text-wrapping rules the same. Your document will appear piecemeal if some tables use shading, some pictures have borders and some diagrams use vivid colours.

Planning your Bid Proposal

If your reader is a financial director interested in cost savings then you must give him evidence that will lead him to be confident that your project will make the necessary savings. When he feels confident he will score your tender highly.
If your reader is a technical manager who needs to know your solution will work better than his existing supplier, you need to outline your track record or measured results. This will allow him to make the comparison and decide your product fits his requirements, and thus give it his approval.

Think reader, response, result.


Apostrophes are used in two different ways. The first is to show possession.
Susan’s dog (the dog belonging to Susan)
The organisation’s code of conduct (the code belonging to the organisation)
The boys’ toys (the toys belonging to the boys)
The apostrophe is placed after the whole word that describes the owner or owners. The exception comes when describing something belonging to “it”.

The dog is over there, its feet are dirty. (“its” does not have an apostrophe)
The second use of an apostrophe is to show where letters have been missed out. Shortened words such as these should rarely appear in formal business writing.

isn’t (is not)
can’t (can not)
should’ve (should have)
it’s (it is)
Simple plurals do not have apostrophes

Apples and oranges; in the 1990s; mind your Ps and Qs