If you’re writing a proposal for a government or corporate contract that’s been put out to tender, it’s essential that you make sure you tick all the right boxes. Here are some pointers to get you started.
1. Check you’re actually eligible
The bid paperwork will almost certainly lay out certain minimum requirements for the company that will be selected. It sounds obvious, but double check that you meet these before you waste time applying.
2. Don’t mess up on silly things
There may be a word count or a particular way that you have to format the document. You may have to submit more than one copy. There will certainly be a deadline for submission. Make sure you don’t fall over yourself on the easy bits – and don’t leave it to the last minute!
3. Give as much information as possible
While you don’t want to write a thesis, don’t give one word or single-sentence answers unless you are clearly supposed to, and make sure you back up any statements you make about your company with examples and evidence. Include links, photos and graphs where appropriate. If you can’t provide a particular piece of information, say why or mark it “n/a” if it’s not relevant to you. Avoid leaving blanks.
4. Explain who you are and what you do
The person reading your application may have no idea who you are or why you’re right for the project. Even if the company is already a client, make sure you explain what you do in terms that are relevant to the application. Include details of major achievements.
5. Proofread your application
This is so important and so often neglected. You must review what you have written before you pop it in an envelope or attach it to an email! Spelling mistakes will make you look sloppy and unprofessional, and you might realise when you read it back that you’ve left out an essential piece of information or accidentally missed out a question. Don’t be lazy!