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Make your tenders stand out from the crowd

Dewi Hughes is founder and MD of Silverlock Tenders, one of the largest tender writing and fundraising companies in the Midlands.

Prior to setting up Silverlock in 2009, Dewi spent 21 years working for the Government which included 12 years appraising bids for funding, 4 years writing for over 50 government ministers and 4 years managing large EU funded projects. 

Below Dewi explains how to make sure your tender response makes it to the top of the pile.

"You’ve identified an opportunity to bid for some work that would suit the skills, knowledge and experience of your business. It’s practically in the bag then, right?

Well, not always. We have had many years of experience in both writing and assessing bids, and there are a number of things we have learnt from both processes.

Here are 3 key tips to help you write a tender that is easier to read, that better highlights the reasons why you are right for the job and ultimately makes it easy for the buyer to choose you.

1. Write simply

You may assume that evaluators read everything that you submit. This would be unusual, as they are often under time pressures to complete the evaluation process.

Most people take around two to three minutes to read 500 words, which is around one side of A4. Evaluators typically have around one minute to read this much text, so they are forced to skim-read the material.

We, therefore, recommend that you keep your answers concise, relevant and interesting.

2. Show the reader the way

For the same reasons as above, and to help the evaluator to connect with your bid, you must make the document easy to navigate.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to use clear headings and subheadings that relate to the questions in the tender. Headings are like signposts that give clarity to the evaluator – so they know that you are giving them exactly what they asked for.

The headings should also follow the order in which things were asked for – so the evaluator doesn’t waste time looking for an answer.

3. Make your bid attractive to read

There is nothing more intimidating than a page full of solid writing. Most tenders will include word or character counts for each question, but that doesn’t stop you using formatting to help present an attractive document that doesn’t look daunting to the evaluator.

Bullets and numbering are a great way to highlight important information. Keep them short and to the point, and they will also create some great white space on your document, breaking the information up.

When complete, don’t forget to check the spelling and grammar, too. If your writing is full of errors, the evaluator may wonder what mistakes you will make with their project, too."

Dewi will be presenting on 14 May with further guidance on how to write a winning tender along with representatives from Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council and others at the ‘How to secure public sector contracts’ event. View details here.

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