So, you know there is a bid coming up for some work you really want to win – here are five tips to help you plan for the bid writing process. If you do this preparation beforehand you have much more chance of winning the bid and making the bid writing process a lot shorter.

Tip 1 – get your finances organised

Firstly most PQQs will ask for some financial information – usually two-to-three years accounts. If you haven’t been going that long, you could provide a cash flow forecast, management accounts, a statement from your accountant, or a bank reference. Essentially, potential customers want to make sure that you are financially secure and will be around long enough to fulfil the contract.

Connected to your financial position, you should also consider what is called the 20% rule. This states that generally you shouldn’t expect to win a bid that is worth more than 20% of your turnover. There are good reasons for this – you may not have the infrastructure to cope with the new contract, it could lead to cash flow problems, or there is a risk that your current projects could suffer. One way to get around this is to bid as part of a consortium, taking care that whoever you hook up with can add value to the service you are offering.

Tip 2 – Make sure you have the right insurance

Secondly, there are a number of insurances that you must include in your tender writing. These are:
  • Public Liability
  • Employer’s Liability
  • Professional Indemnity
Don’t forget – if you are bidding as a consortium ‘Joint and Several Liability’ may be something you can offer to reduce risk for the procurement managers.

Tip 3 – Do you have the right policies written

Thirdly you will need to have some policies in place. Make sure these policies showcase your business.  For example, does your corporate responsibility document tell the story of all the good activities your business supports.  The following are usually a requirement when writing a bid:
  • Health & Safety Policy (even if you have less than five staff)
  • Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Quality Management Statement (QMS)
  • Environmental Policy
  • Confirmation that you are registered for Data Protection
Then there are other policies which may be requested depending on the type of product or service you provide:
  • Ethical Sourcing and Sustainability Policy
  • Sub-contracting Policy
  • Recruitment Policy
  • Business Continuity (or Disaster Recovery) Plan

Tip 4 – Do you have references and case studies?

Tip four is to source and have ready suitable references and case studies to prove your credentials.  Case studies used in the bid writing process will basically describe a similar service you offered to another customer and the benefits they derived from it – they do not necessarily include customer contact details. Understand the difference between references and testimonials. Basically a reference includes specific details of the work carried out and how much it was worth together with the contact details of a referee in the customer’s organisation.  A testimonial is an unsolicited written comment from a satisfied client. For example, “Write to Win provided a very successful bid writing training course and tender writing service which enabled us to win the bid – FB, Service International“.

Tip 5 – Do you have the resources?  Check before you start.

Lastly remember that a tender can be a real commitment both financially and in terms of management time.  You must be willing to allocate resource to the bid process which could potentially include a PQQ, Bid and Presentation.  The whole process could take many man-days of hard work and possibly the direct cost of preparing drawings, printing and binding your offer, delivery by courier and travelling to give a presentation. Don’t forget that a bid document is a binding contract and you will be expected to fulfil the terms of the contract regarding delivery of your product or service – whilst not forgetting your existing clients…….


What should I do now?

If you have a bid, tender or proposal or even a quote that needs writing, why not give me a call on 07778 657003 and talk to me about what might be involved? Once I’ve had a look at the documents I can give you an idea of the cost involved in having me write the document for you. You can also check out my bid writing training and download my 10 Golden Rules for Bid Writing. If it is a proposal you are writing, you can download my free proposal writing template.

Alison Reeves - Helping Small and Medium Sized Businesses to Grow

Bid Writer ★ Copywriter ★ Technical Writer ★ Trainer ★ Course Developer ★ Just Communicate Better

Your business documents are the 'voice' of your business. If you are unable to express yourself clearly and confidently your competitors will win business that should be yours, your customers will not understand the benefits of your product or service and your staff will not understand the processes and procedures that they should follow to keep your organisation running smoothly.

Don't forget - you only get one chance to make a first impression.

  • Bid Writer and Tender Writer – stand out from your competitors writing bids that get results.
  • Web Content Writer – I write web pages that grab attention and prompt action.
  • Copywriter – capture your reader’s attention with engaging promotional material.
  • Technical Writer – add value to your product/service, save money on your help desk support.
  • Better Business Writing – editing, proofreading, formatting , eye catching Word™ templates.
  • Business Writing Skills Courses – specialised and custom training that improves communication.
  • Course Development - writing courses so you can deliver top quality training.

In the past few years I have:

  • written dozens bids which have won new business.
  • written short, concise, effective copy for websites, brochures and marketing campaigns.
  • created easy to read and understand technical manuals and online help systems.
  • conducted several hundred successful business writing training courses.
  • created many high quality training courses with a full range of training materials for both products and services.

Don't forget - most business is lost through poor communication not through the products or services on offer.

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Call me on 01902 750802, or 07778 657003

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