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Clients are the most important part of every business. Having good clients who buy regularly, that we trust, and with whom we share a robust understanding is the secret of success. So winning Bids is the core activity for survival.

This is a longer note on creating a discipline, the procedures and the action to optimise your chances of winning the bid.

You all know this – winning bids is the professional testing ground, so you are particularly at risk and publically so when you make a bid. What we may not have acknowledged is how frightened and stressed we are by the experience. We are afraid of being turned down, rejected, of being a loser, 2nd rate. And the better we are as professionals, the more harshly we take, and so the more we fear, the rejection. The fear or stress in turn drives us in on ourselves; we work harder, often in a self-defeating obsessive way. In fact the only thing we gain for certain by working through the night is being tired the next day. This may give us a masochistic feeling of macho virility. It probably does not help our marriage, and it certainly leads to incompetence. (Most accidents, e.g. Plane crashes/Chernobyl, take place at night and when people are tired.)

So we rush our fences, try harder, lose our sense of humor, fail at the bid, and then we retire to lick our wounds and deal with the rejection.

We don’t have the stomach to confront those who rejected us, probe why we lost, or to learn how to do better next time. So we fail again, we fail more often than not; our wins are random occasions for celebration like lucky golf shots – but no basis for building a business or a strong golf game for that matter.

Now first of all there is no need to get depressed again – all quality professionals feel this way, we all do. The important thing is to take action well ahead of time, to create an environment of discipline in use that helps us to deal with the challenge. That is what makes you a true professional; that is the overwhelming reason for skillful management and for teams. You are all there to help each other unconditionally. This means you all are part of an internal culture of open self and individual criticism, of a true effort to learn and improve continuously. And it is the central role of the Business Development Unit to support, and facilitate this process so that you become truly a learning organization.

The purpose of these papers is to set down the main framework of a new discipline.
The aim is to govern the process so that you:

  • start to understand the client profoundly
  • choose projects where we are most likely to succeed
  • communicate your values clearly to your client
  • show the quality and care you are justifiably proud of in your work; in the way you approach new business.


These are the eight main stages in a bid process:

  1. The opportunity to bid is received and you decide to bid
  2. Client contact No. 1 to confirm your intent
  3. Identification of bid team, internal trouble shooter, resources, time scales, rehearsals
  4. Creating the draft bid
  5. Rehearsal
  6. The Bid
  7. Client feedback
  8. Group internal feedback