Gigi Starr reports:
"A successful small business requires a basic building block to operate: clientele...To attract a base of lucrative jobs, it's necessary to woo and create fruitful opportunities through contract bids. Oftentimes, potential customers such as the government, private and public institutions, and some larger companies will open bidding for a project or product, outlining exactly what's desired from the winning candidate in its published 'announcement for bids,' 'call for bids' or 'request for bids.' Start on the right track by composing a contract bid that wins business. Believe it or not, you don't have to focus on the cost. Make no mistake, the numbers are important, but your winning bid is about ideas and experience...Write down, in as few words as possible, how your business will be the best choice to serve the client. Focus on the attributes of your company in a way that clarifies value to the customer while casting a favorable light on the company's best assets. Don't be shy. As they say, 'put your best foot forward.'...Tackle the problem of the target organization with ideas and answers. For instance, if the client seeks a textile printer to quickly produce hand-printed cotton yardage for purses, point out that your studio's close proximity to the client's factory will expedite the process, and note that the family of fabric artists you employ are fine-tuned for high-quality quick-turnaround work. Then, offer to establish a work schedule that cranks out high volume in as short a time as possible. Impress the client with openness to input and a promise of a creative problem-solving management team who will work with the client on any matter...Write a section that details the team's qualifications. The section serves an important function by showing the possible client the company's strengths, as well as its efficacy in the face of potential problems. Business Link, a British business information website, states that 'tailored biographies should highlight successes with similar projects, as well as qualifications and experience.' Keep things short and sweet by focusing on topical points of experience only...Give the group of people who will review the bids confidence that your experience will ensure a smooth operation...Show numbers to provide obvious, easy-to-prove value over competitors. Research how much comparable businesses charge for the same service, and determine ways to undercut their costs add value. Be creative if nothing obvious comes to mind...Address legal concerns, if necessary, such as information disclosure and conflict resolution. For instance, government contractors may need to consider that some public bids will be available for anyone to see through FOIA, the Federal Open Information Act. If some of your data needs confidential status, such as proprietary information you don't want your competitors to know, include a notation in the bid regarding those paragraphs or sentences you want redacted...Your bid should include language that outlines legal redress for serious problems, including options for mediation or civil legal action. Verify all legalese with legal counsel before including it in your official final document...Write with groups of three in mind. Beverley A. Browning, author of 'Grant Writing for Dummies,' writes, 'Research shows that groups of three are effective in getting your audience to remember an important point. The words that stick in our minds forever usually come in groups of three: blood, sweat and tears; reading, writing and arithmetic; and red, white and blue.' Offer effective, targeted and cost-effective solutions, not just great solutions."
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