15 October 2020

To make your first tender application a positive experience, approach it as a learning experience. Below are three ways to maximize the experience of that first tender. Follow our advice to make your first tender application go as smoothly as possible.

Pick a government tender you’d have no problem fulfilling

To get started with your first tender application, you don’t need to exceed your reach with an overly-ambitious government contract. It’s tempting to imagine that one large contract breaking through your sales goals for the year. But in reality, the larger the contract the more complex the tender requirements which puts even more pressure on you and your team.

Use your first application to create workflows and practices that will allow you to apply for more tenders without laying down the groundwork all over again

Your first tender will require you to produce new template documents and supporting evidence. Case studies and policy documents, graphic illustrations such as graphs and pie charts. There will be tables and other evidence of your suitability for a tender. And sometimes completing a tender application will uncover the lack of certain working practices within your own company. It’s the creation of these supporting materials and the writing of answers to the formal questions, the creation of a supporting statement, that means your first tender will take you longer than you expect and possibly longer than any other tender you apply for afterwards.

Having said that, the advantage of pushing through this unfamiliar territory is that you will have created the basis of a reference library for your next – and all subsequent – public sector tenders. The next tender and the next will become more familiar and quicker to produce.

Don’t agonize too long when applying for your first tender

Your inexperience may make you doubt yourself during the tendering process and slow down the process of completing the tendering process. Try to see this first tender as an experiment and a learning experience.

Use this first tender opportunity to begin to practice the skills you’ll need to successfully apply for tenders in the future. These skills include working with a team, scheduling, writing to a deadline, and reviewing your own business.

Win or lose, make the most of this valuable first time

After your first tender application is over, you should take time to review your approach. Did you win the contract? How far down the process did you go? Did you review any feedback that was given to you by the tender panel? What can you do to make the next application go better, take less time or even be more enjoyable?