JGP Consultancy

The most common mistakes in Bid Writing you need to avoid

For a business looking to pick up new contracts and expand their output through tendering one of the most important skills to develop is your ability to write a bid successfully. While it may be wiser to outsource your bid-writing (find out why here), if you want to be hands-on in the process there are a few simple and common mistakes it is essential that you avoid in order to have a chance at winning a tender. It is key to remember that while these mistakes need to be avoided, there are also other aspects of writing a successful bid that come with time, experience, and the ability to decipher the jargon attached to a bid.


  1. Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar
  2. Overly Emotional
  3. Not Answering the Question
  4. Overlooking The Detail
  5. Not Understanding Key Questions
  6. No Flair
  7. Not Requesting Feedback
  1. Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar

While it may seem to be the most simple and obvious piece of advice, you under no circumstances can afford to have spelling mistakes or improper grammar in your bid. Businesses will look at every single aspect of your application as an indicator of your abilities and your acumen as a business. The very last thing you want is to petition a business for a lucrative contract with a bid that is littered with poor spelling, punctuation, and grammar. This will make a business immediately question your ability to quality assure and review work completed by your company with a fine-toothed comb. Should you produce a bid which is instead, with the same content, marked by correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar, you are far more likely to be successful in winning a tender. 

  1. Overly Emotional

You may be very proud of your business and firmly believe in the great work that it has done, and further you may be convinced nobody can meet the needs of a tender better than you. While this may be true, one of the most common mistakes in a bid writing process is an overly emotional response. You need to make sure that you are obviously writing in a way that is convincing and makes the reader understand and see you as a capable company that can meet the needs they have for the tender in question. This however needs to be done in a way that is still presented with professional language and avoids too much emotive language. Avoid statements like ‘I believe’ or ‘we are passionate’, this sort of language is not appropriate for business correspondence and will make a business see you as unprofessional. Keep your tone persuasive but professional.

  1. Not Answering the Question

Far too often when people are writing a bid they decide to just plug in the information they want to include without paying much attention to the questions and what they are actually asking. Bid application forms will provide very detailed specifications for each question including formatting requirements and the weighting of each question. It is essential that you pay close attention to this and make sure that you are actually answering the question at hand. The best way to do this is to go through the specification point by point and address each aspect of this to ensure you are answering the question in completion. Many people will skim over the specification for each question and end up writing plenty of information that is entirely irrelevant to the question at hand. Much like the first mistake we mentioned, this also shows a business you do not pay attention to detail or review your work.

  1. Overlooking the Detail

Another similar key mistake made by people writing bids is that they overlook the detail that they need to include in writing a bid. You need to make sure that you are including detailed information in your bid to back up the points that you are making. You should include data where possible and give plenty of detail in each answer. This needs to all be relevant information, of course, remember to always answer the question, but by adding lots of details you will show the business you are wanting to tender with that you are competent, prepared, and a viable company to work with.

  1. Not Understanding Key Questions

A commonly made mistake is simply not understanding what a question is asking of you. This is particularly the case when it comes to questions asking about social value and questions asking about value for money. Many people will read a question and not understand what it is actually wanting from you as you write your bid. The best thing to do to avoid this mistake is to read the specification carefully and ensure that you are fully clear on what exactly is required from the question you are answering. It is also essential to look at the weighting of each question to understand just how much each will contribute to your final bid as a whole and how this bid is going to be assessed. 

  1. No Flair

While it is important that you need to keep your language professional and avoid emotive language, you also want to make sure your bid is ultimately readable. It is no secret that business talk is not the most exciting thing to write, or read, so it is important that you have at least some aspects of flair in your writing to make sure that the information you are conveying is presented in a way that will both get the job done and meet all of the specification points in a bid but will also make the reader continue to be engaged in what they are reading. A good idea is to read over successful bids in the past and try to emulate their style and techniques to make your writing more readable.

  1. Not Requesting Feedback

After you have submitted a bid and have heard back, either with a success or with a rejection, businesses will offer you feedback on what you have written. It is important that you are going to make sure that you request this feedback and go through this with a fine-toothed comb. Even if you are successful your feedback is crucial to understanding what went well and will give you information to consider for when you write your next bid. Even when you are successful there is no reason to not review your bid as you can never learn too much.

These mistakes are some of the main blocks to successful bid writing, a skill you need to either master or outsource in order to win tenders and develop your business. It is far too common that people do not take bid writing seriously as a major part of your work as a business aiming to win tenders. Find out more about the different types of tenders here, and more about JGP’s services in bid-writing here and tender finding here.

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