Tender Writing Tips for New Businesses

Tender writing can be complex and time consuming, but the reward can mean years of steady business and secure income.  If you’re a new business though, how do you demonstrate your experience?  How do you indicate in your response that you have the right skills to deliver to the exacting requirements of the tender?  How do you include written testimonials that you don’t have yet because you’re just starting out?

The answer is simple – rather than focus on a history that doesn’t exist yet, focus on what you as an individual have done in the past.  The jobs you’ve worked on, the skills you’ve developed, the contacts you’ve made and the people who know how good your work is.

I recently helped a new start-up create a Government tender response for security services in regional Australia.  The tender had some very specific requirements for services to be delivered in the mental health sector and it was important that we could demonstrate an ability to deal with conflict and aggression, stay calm under pressure, and remain polite and welcoming to all staff and visitors.

Here’s how I wrote the response to several key areas that had a significant impact on the selection criteria:

Demonstrated Experience

The new business did have a few clients but since it had only been in operation for a few months there was no real history and the services being delivered weren’t particularly relevant to the tender.

This meant the focus needed to be on the principal behind the business.  What he’d done in the past, how he had personally handled difficult situations and his attitude to providing security services.

Using his past experiences as examples, we demonstrated, point by point, how he personally met every criterion in the demonstrated experience section and we backed this up with references from his past employers.

Standard Operating Procedures

The tender response required the company’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) to be provided, along with a description of the specific practices used to deal with aggressive people and situations of conflict or where force may be required.

Although the new business was operating professionally, it didn’t have any specific written SOP’s.   As part of the tender response, these were written and attached so we could fully meet the criteria for this section.

Risks & Vulnerabilities

The tender called for a detailed description of any vulnerability to the provision of the required services.  What a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the potential risks involved in reliable and consistent service delivery!  And more importantly, the contingency plans that would be used to minimise them.

We developed complete plans for 12 key risk areas and were able to show the impact that each of these could have, and what would happen if a risk event occurred.

Personnel

As a new start-up, personnel were pretty thin on the ground for this business, but the tender response needed to include details of the key people who would be delivering the security services.

The business did have access to people with the right training, but none of them were yet on the books, so we couldn’t mention how long they had been working for the business.  Instead the focus was on their experience and attitude, and how these were the right fit for the tender requirements.

The resumes of these key people were redeveloped specifically for the tender response so they met the relevant criteria.  I don’t mean that I created skills that didn’t exist – I simply updated the existing resumes to highlight and provide more details about relevant experience, and to present the resume in a more professional format.

Covering Letter

I always include a covering letter with any tender response.  In this one, we highlighted from the outset that the business was a start-up, and then went on to reinforce all of the positive aspects that they bought to the table.  Things like local employment, community support, regional knowledge and the depth of the principal’s experience.

Stay Focussed

So there you have it – it’s not rocket science but writing a security business tender response can be tricky and very time consuming.  Keep focussing on exactly what the questions are being asked and provide as much detail as you can in your response.  Stay fixed on your personal experience and relate it back to the requirements of the tender.

If you’re not sure where to start, or if you simply don’t have the time to pull a professional response together then give me (Pauline) a call on 0400 514579 and let’s chat.