Seven common mistakes to avoid when competing for tenders

Tenders present a valuable opportunity to win new business for your organisation whether you are a small supplier or a large corporation. In particular, open tenders (like you find on etendering NSW) level the playing field for organisations of all sizes. But winning a tender isn’t an easy process. If you are competing for a tender for the first time here are some common tender mistakes you should avoid to improve your odds of winning.

Jumping straight into writing

Putting together a persuasive tender proposal requires preparation. Instead of jumping straight into writing a proposal, you should first research the buyer, understand the requirements, create a strategy and prepare a writing plan. Planning will ensure that your proposal includes all the relevant details and follows a clear structure.

Rushing the process

Writing tenders takes time. A proposal written overnight is unlikely to be in enough detail to satisfy the assessors. Therefore, set aside time for the tendering process. Ideally, you should have a dedicated team that is able to complete each aspect of the tender proposal, such as pricing and methodologies. Managing the process efficiently will help you save time and meet deadlines.

Ignoring the template

If the buyer has specified a template or format, you need to follow it quite rigidly. It’s important to follow the template to make the evaluation easier for the tender assessors.

Taking on too much

There are often several tenders available in the market, but that doesn’t mean you should compete for all of them. You may think that more tenders will improve your chances of winning. However, this tender mistake means you’ll likely end up spreading your resources too thinly. You need to objectively look at the open tenders and focus on the ones that you genuinely have a chance of winning.

Misunderstanding requirements

Despite having the necessary resources, your proposal may fail to win simply because you misunderstood the requirements. Instead of making assumptions, make sure you properly assess the requirements before proceeding with the tendering process.

Not seeking help

There’s no doubt that every entrepreneur or CEO has to wear several hats as a business leader. However, a good business leader recognises that sometimes it’s necessary to involve professionals in their team who can provide specific expertise. And that’s very true for tender writing. If you lack writing skills, involve technical writers to make the most of the valuable opportunity.

Not asking for feedback

If you failed to win a contract, don’t feel defeated. There will be many more opportunities. However, you should always ask the evaluation panel for feedback. This will help you understand where your approach went wrong, what tender mistakes you made, and learn ways to improve your future attempts.