Planning a tender response

Always take the time to carefully evaluate tender opportunities. A well-researched tender, followed by a planned response, increases your chances of success and reduces time-wastage and costs to your business.

The following is a suggested step-by-step method for organising your tender response.

Step 1: Examine the tender request

The first step in planning a tender response is to analyse the tender request.

All government tender requests - often referred to as invitations to offer (ITOs), requests for tender (RFTs) or requests for proposal (RFPs) - will have the following common elements:

  1. outline of the job's requirements
  2. list of criteria that providers/suppliers must meet
  3. instructions about the tender process.

Read the tender specifications, contract terms and conditions carefully, and familiarise yourself with policies, guidelines and laws for tendering (e.g. Queensland Procurement Policy). Information on terms and conditions can be found on the Queensland Government’s procurement web pages.

Once you understand the tender request, you will then need to find out if the opportunity is a good fit for your business.

Step 2: Confirm your business's capability for the job

After you have examined the tender request, you then need to confirm your business's capability for the job:

  1. List all of the components of the job.
  2. Identify the tasks and requirements you can confidently meet, and any factors you're concerned about. Review any recent similar work you may have done.
  3. Confirm you have the necessary licences, registrations or accreditations.
  4. Make sure you can deliver all of the specified goods or services within the required timeframe. If you can't, consider partnering with another business.
  5. Analyse and scope your costs to ensure a good return on your investment in the project. Stay focused on what the tender specification is asking for.
  6. Carefully consider the risks you may encounter if you win the contract and how you will manage or minimise risks.

Use our fit to supply tool to help determine your business's ability to meet the tender requirements.

Once you've found a tender you want to bid for, the next step is to do some research about your potential customer.

Step 3: Research the buyer

The next stage of planning is to research your buyer. This involves gathering as much information as you can about the government agency requesting the tender and the work they require.

For example, does the agency have a strong environmental concern? Is this tender particularly time-sensitive? What issues are driving the request for tender? Having detailed information about your potential customer will help you tailor a bid to their specific needs.

Attend any briefing sessions on the tender process if you can. If you have questions, contact the tender coordinator. This can also help you establish a rapport with key contacts.

Step 4: Develop a marketing pitch

Refer to your marketing strategy and prepare a short marketing plan tailored to your tender.

Your marketing plan will help define how you will market your business for this particular tender. Use it to identify any key messages you will use in your tender response and the products, information resources and reference material you will attach to the tender.

Step 5: Plan your tender proposal

Set up a meeting or work-in-progress schedule with your staff to support the tender development process.

Take a systematic approach to developing a competitive tender response. Identify one person who can coordinate the process and maintain the latest version of your tender document.

Plan to submit your tender response before the deadline. Make sure you schedule completion dates for all components of the tender document, particularly if other people - such as employees or your business partner - are writing parts of the tender response.

Step 6: Consult all project contributors

In your planning, consult and involve all the people who will work on the project (i.e. if your bid is successful).

Arrange a meeting at the outset of your planning process to plan the pitch and main thrust of your tender response. You may also like to use this session to consider:

  • the resources and budget you will allocate to preparing the tender
  • the resources and budget you'll require should you win the contract
  • factors influencing your prospects such as your competitors, your track record and the CVs of project contributors.

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