When I was preparing for my podcast with Pritesh Patel this week, I thought about the top 5 things which are essential for successful bid writing, or to be a successful bid writer.

Here is the list as it currently stands…

Have an excellent approach to writing winning bid responses.
Critical to the success of any submission is an excellent approach to writing bid responses. Interrogate the question to define what the key words are and understand what the question is asking.

Don’t be tempted to shoe-horn a previous response into the gap. Certainly use this information as a basis, but refine it and create bespoke information for this project and client.

I will talk more about my approach in a later blog post.

Develop a broad range of skills, including writing, DTP and project management.
The three are generally expected and will enable you to be super-flexible, as well as a good prospective employee when applying for roles.

Bids tend to be put together in either MS Office, using Word or in Adobe CreativeSuite, using InDesign. If possible, be proficient at both approaches.

It is likely you will have one skill which you are less strong at. Be mindful of this and work to develop it.

Have an excellent library of standard information at your finger-tips.
Standard information can be a challenge and a bind to collate and curate, however it will create a firm foundation from which to produce excellent bid documents. There is a lot of standard information which is requested time after time, including financial, sustainability and environmental, quality management, health and safety and approach to design/construction.

Ensure the contents are regularly reviewed and when a bid is submitted, go through the document and save key content for use at a later date. This practice will save you so much time in the future. In particular, save bespoke technical responses which focus on added value or lessons learnt. Different iterations of these questions come up time and again.

Information management is something I am particularly interested in and I would love to hear how other people approach this.

Client knowledge and market intelligence.
Bidder, know your client and understand what is required for each project being bid for. What are the drivers of the project? What are the client’s concerns? Which key experience will support your claims? Who are the key people you should put forward as part of your team?

From a market intelligence perspective, understand the space you are operating in, key themes, risks, concerns and mitigations. It also doesn’t hurt to wonder who the competition is likely to be and how you can best neutralise their strengths.

Be passionate about the industry you work in.
I work in construction and the built environment and I have spent most of my working life in it. I love buildings and structures and am fascinated by the process undertaken to design and construct them. It’s an industry I find inspiring and I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. I really enjoy working with my technical colleagues to communicate their expertise and ingenuity to a wider audience.

For those of you wondering why I’m not an engineer or builder myself, it’s because my skills are entirely language and arts-based. I can’t count for toffee, so my buildings would never be straight.