Should you respond to a request for tender?

Tender writing takes a lot of time and effort with no guarantee of success. So when a request for tender or a request for proposal comes your way, it makes sense to think carefully first about whether to respond or not.

It’s natural as a business owner to want to maximise every opportunity for new business. The pipeline is essential, after all. But you also want to be confident that your business stands a chance of winning before you invest in writing a tender or proposal.

It’s worthwhile taking a little time – even a few minutes will do – to think carefully about whether you should be responding to the tender or proposal opportunity.

Organisations that frequently submit tenders go through a process usually called the Bid/No Bid process, also known as the Yes/No or the Go/No-Go process, to help them decide. It’s a quick and straightforward process that any business can do.

All you need to do is ask yourself the following questions to help you decide whether to tender or not:

  1. Is the organisation that’s issued the tender a good fit for your business? Very simply, is working with this organisation or their industry one of your company’s strategic goals? If not, don’t be waylaid from your strategic plan by deciding to tender.
  2. Does your company meet all the assessment criteria set out in the request for tender or request for proposal? Do you have the right experience, for example?
  3. Can your company meet all the compliance requirements in the tender? For instance, do you have the right insurances, and policies such as WHS and risk management? Are you able to prepare an Indigenous Participation Plan?
  4. Do you have an internal or external tender writer or other staff with the skills and time to write an excellent, compliant, on-time tender response?
  5. If you are successful, will you have sufficient resources to deliver the service, product or project to the client’s expectations?
  6. Will winning the tender mean greater financial outlay, such as taking on additional staff or moving to larger premises? In other words, can you afford to win?

Companies that go through the Yes/No decision making process quickly find that they stop responding to every request for tender or request for proposal that comes their way. They become choosier about which tenders and proposals to go for. And that makes them more focused on writing successful tenders, with better outcomes as a result.