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The 10 Elements of Successful Tendering

Over 30 billion dollars is being spent through the tendering process in Australia yet many businesses minimise their opportunities in reaping the rewards of generating profitable contracts. I’ve seen many businesses that are too busy responding to tenders to stop and look at ways they can start winning tenders. I’ve asked many companies about their strategy for responding to particular tenders, only to find that there hasn’t been one. I’ve asked companies what criteria they used to determine which tenders they should respond to, only to find again that there aren’t any. This is not a good start for any tender, especially when we consider how many hours need to be spent on a tender submission.

It’s important to recognise that a winning submission is the end result of a chain of well performed events. This chain begins with the selection process of the tender and ends with the final presentation given to a tendering board.

Why a tender submission is the most important selling document you’ll ever write? It’s simple. The document you submit is the only basis on which the purchaser can make a decision and judge your company on its ability to deliver on their requested outcome. In other selling situations, you can follow up a proposal with a telephone call and discuss any areas that a purchaser is not too sure about. Being able to follow up a proposal also gives you further opportunities to sell the benefits of your company’s products or services. Yet in a tendering situation the document has to sell all aspects of the project and offer better solutions than the competition.

The 1st element – Existing Relationships When responding to tenders you need to identify whether you are the right fit for the contract on offer. There’s no point in responding if you haven’t got a clear understanding of the company or organisation asking for the tender. It’s important to gather intelligence on the tenders available in your industry. This will give you valuable information and knowledge of the market potential, who your competitors are and what are the current solutions being sought by purchasers. Depending on the industry many tenders are recurring and constantly come up for resubmission, so you can prepare yourself to respond more effectively on future offers. This also allows you to educate and inform as well as build a relationship with potential clients that dramatically improve the chances of you being invited to tender.

A great source of information on tenders are notification companies that can give you information on tenders specific to your industry these are easily accessible on the internet.

The 2nd element – Be one of only a few responses Many tenders are won before they are published. When a company asks for an expression of interest publicly they have already invited others personally based on previous relationships to tender for a future project. These organisations will generally go to between 3 and 5 suppliers to determine who will be the best provider of a solution. Then they will publish the tender to open the response to other potential suppliers in the market place. If you have been invited to tender your chances of winning are dramatically improved because the organisation who has requested you to respond has an understanding of your capabilities to deliver on projects. That’s why from a strategic point of view it’s important to build relationships that add value to potential prospects in the market place.

The 3rd element – Does the tender suit your marketing strategy? One of the key questions to ask in your tendering process is what are the other opportunities around a tender? For example, if a company was looking for a recruitment firm to consult on developing systems and processes to help build their human recourses capabilities, then does the company also require assistance in recruiting executive staff as an added service. This would be outside the request for the original tender and may be one of several opportunities available for extra work. Another question to consider is will the tender produce a strong strategic alliance. This means that by getting involved with a company, can they open the door for you to do business with either their clients or other areas of the same company and can they utilise your expertise to add value to their clients. This will dramatically improve the chances of dealing with like minded companies.

The 4th element – Is your tendering team resourced and available? As mentioned before, a tender is the most important selling document you’ll ever write. To maximise your opportunity you need to make yourself ready to respond efficiently and effectively. You have to clearly differentiate your service and your process, and you’ll need to prioritise the tender appropriately so you meet your deadline for submission. You must have selection criteria that determine if you are ready and able to respond and that the tender fits your capabilities to deliver. It’s also important to improve the writing skills of your team so that you communicate effectively in your submission. Allow for additional staff or help when you’re tendering or bring in outside assistance to help you pull your document together. You’ll need all the help you can get to meet your deadline of a large project.

The 5th element – Have 75% of your document pre-prepared prior to release You can template most of your documents in advance prior to a tender being released. This will dramatically improve your ability to respond as you can have the following items pre-prepared:

  • Your mission statement
  • Background of the company
  • Executive summary
  • Referees and testimonials
  • Current business activities
  • Financial statements
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Quality Assurance certifications
  • Training programs

The presentation of the submission should be already decided on and designed. A management process for your document should be in place. Your cover, tabs, diagrams and text layout should be pre-prepared and have available an image library that has templated graphics to use on your documents.

The 6th element – Do you have a competitive advantage? It’s important to identify your competitive advantage in your tender. There needs to be a clear indication as to what makes your company an obvious contender for winning the contract. Things you should consider in including that show what sets you apart from your competitors are: you may have specialist services; your distribution systems are state of the art; the expertise of your team is highly technical; your service is geared towards solving frustrations that people have with your industry; and you may provide extensive back up and support beyond the standards. A key consideration may be, by utilising your services, that you’ll reduce their costs and add to their bottom line. Part of your point of difference is your pricing policy. The following are issues to be considered:

  • Remove non related marketing expenses from pricing
  • Consider lifetime value of the client not just the tender itself
  • Consider the value of further sales opportunities that come from existing relationships
  • Consider the strategic advantages of external relationships

The 7th element – Clearly articulate your understanding of the purchaser’s culture, requirements and value in solution submitted Five things that can dramatically demonstrate your understanding of the purchasers needs:

  1. Write in such a way that reflects the culture of the purchasing company (use their terminology and style in your writing)
  2. Clearly articulate your understanding of the requirements and show you have the ideal solution
  3. Articulate your value for money
  4. Demonstrate your compliance and non compliance
  5. Write in the same order as the specifications (question and answer approach)

Five ways to avoid tendering blunders:

  1. Failing the capacity to do the job – not including case studies or referees to illustrate competence
  2. Trying to teach the buyer a lesson (they already have an idea of what they want so stick to it)
  3. Criticising tender requirements
  4. Failing to answer questions or submitting up-side down pages and spelling mistakes
  5. Submitting a bid past its deadline

The 8th element – Presentation and Submission To set your document apart from your competitors, it needs to look different from the others – you want them to be drawn to your document. Here are 7 things to consider:

  1. Have your tender taken from the pile first – use their images to reflect their corporate branding so the document represents them (if you use their images and logos make sure you get permission from the purchaser to do so)
  2. Reflect the layout of the tender specifications
  3. Show a level of commitment to winning within the submission
  4. Maintain the readers interest visually (use flow charts, images and graphics throughout the document)
  5. Make it easy to find specific sections of the document (use tabs to separate the different sections)
  6. Have colour testimonials with photos on file for digital print
  7. Use digital printing to lift the presentation of your document and use quality stock for printing (laminate covers and use paper that enhances the photographic quality of your images)

The 9th element – Your ability to deliver This is very important – make sure you are able to deliver on the contract. This includes meeting the budgets, distribution, service and technology. If there are any extra costs involved outside the tender, make sure you clearly articulate any possibilities of the potential to increase the investment and the procedures to do so. Remember this is a legally binding contract so ensure you check everything before you deliver your document.

The 10th element – Further tendering and sales opportunities Evaluate the value of ongoing relationships with the organisation such as your credibility for the next tender and further sales opportunities to come from within. By delivering a high level of service during the contract this will dramatically improve your chances of renewal. For consistency present ongoing reports with the same level of commitment as your tender document. This should be quite easy as you have all the information from your research. Tendering is an exciting game that can generate an enormous amount of business whether you are a small to medium enterprise or a large corporation. The point here is that preparation and strategy are the keys to a winning tender submission.

Source by John Logar


Book Review – Vanessa Greatorex's Wilmslow Through Time

Wilmslow Through Time by Vanessa Greatorex (Amberley Publishing £9.99)

Wilmslow, home to almost 40 000 people, including celebrities such as Alex Ferguson and Coronation Street’s Bill Roach, is the subject of a new book,Wilmslow Through Time, by Chester author and historian, Vanessa Greatorex. Using photographs from 1890 onwards, plus captions, the recent history of the bijou Cheshire town is captured in storybook form.

Now home to luxury car sales rooms, and the rich and famous (detached homes there can cost anything up to £6m), the town’s former milling industry factories, and humble worker’s dwellings, earn their place in Greatorex’s century of images and comment. Modern Wilmslow’s prosperity and comforts come at the cost of significant visual interference in the form of road markings, cars, lampposts and telegraph cabling, and some pretty awful modern architecture, as the pictures of Church Street show. However, the author is careful to delineate the reasons – usually dereliction, sanitation or fire damage in previous decades – for new build and demolition. Overall, a clear picture of continuity is presented in the book, with the key points of architectural interest and natural beauty being preserved through time, and forming the basis of Wilmslow’s reputation of well-established exclusivity.

Award-winner Greatorex’s typically succinct prose conveys a wealth of interesting and indeed entertaining snippets. On the Grove Street Jaw-Droppers page, for example, a 1970 photograph of the only camel to have walked the Wilmslow streets sits beside a recent shot of the equally strange-looking Barclays bank, which the author archly describes as more of a “seaside pavilion than a bank”. A very real sense of personal engagement with the town, and its people, is evident throughout. The reader cannot but share the author’s huge disappointment upon failing to locate a breathtakingly beautiful scene – the regimented line of riverside winter poplars, along with their symmetrical still water reflection – of a 1905 T.Baddely sepia photograph.

As a writer of thrillers myself, I was especially interested to see that, in true Midsomer Murder tradition, there is a dark flipside to the bucolic idyll suggested by photographs such as the Wilmslow Carnival pipers and horse drawn floats bearing costumed villagers. In 1984, Wilmslow made international headlines as the site of the Lindow Man, whose astonishingly well-preserved body was found in peaty, common ground just outside of Wilmslow.

Greatorex finishes her book with an arresting image of the dig for his remains, complete with inset of a pathetic, crumpled, high-born, young man who had been ritualistically murdered and his body dumped in the Wilmslow mud. The shadow cast by his tragedy reaches through time: in addition to Lindow Man, the excavations unearthed a skull fragment which prompted local man Peter Reyn-Bardt confess to the murder of his wife in the 1950’s. He was convicted, even though the skull fragment belonged to an Iron Age (some archaeologists argue, Roman) Wilmslow woman.

Wilmslow Through Time is more than a well-presented, highly readable work. It is a labour of love by a highly accomplished researcher and writer whose clear affinity and affection for the landscape of her childhood is evident in this meticulously sourced and well-presented series of anecdotes and images.

Source by Charlotte Pickering


Participant Structures and Communicative Competence

In her article, “Participant Structures and Communicative Competence: Warm Springs Children in Community and Classroom” Susan Philips described the disjuncture between verbal encounters in classrooms where young North American Indians get formally educated and in their native communities where they learn the particular skills their people deem necessary in their roles as members of the community. This disjuncture represents one of the major challenges being encountered in the primary and secondary education of North American Indians which have been widely reported in previous research and are well-known phenomena in the national education sector.

Specifically, Philips focused her study on the learning dynamics in Warm Springs Indian Reservation where some 1,500 descendants of the Warm Springs Sahaptin, Wasco, Chinook, and Paiute Indians who have began settling there in 1855, live. While originally from distinct tribes, these groups evolved into an almost homogenous community and came to share almost identical cultural backgrounds after more than a hundred years of sharing the same geographical home. Presently, these groups collectively call themselves the “tribe.”

In their efforts to improve the educational system in the reservation, the tribe encouraged the establishment of schools and scholarship programs. However, after many years of teaching Indian children using the standard methods implemented in US public schools, a clear trend has emerged, indicating that Indian students consistently perform poorly compared with non-Indian learners. Thoroughly examining this phenomenon, Philips demonstrates that there are pronounced differences between the social conditions that govern verbal discourses in classrooms and the conditions that allow Indian children to participate verbally in community activities, and that these differences in participant structures account for the poor educational performance of young Indian learners in Warm Springs.

Philips provided a comparative context for her study by making observations of all-Indian and non-Indian or white grammar school classes at first and sixth grade levels. Philips also considered Indian social conditions to determine how Indian children verbally participate during community gatherings. These are some of the participant structures Philips probed to show the disconnect between standard verbal communication dynamics in the classroom and the culturally charged verbal opportunities allowed or encouraged by the community. As demonstrated, this disconnect causes the communicative competence issues being reported on Indian learners.

The four participant structures Philips discussed in her article are 1) the teacher speaking to the group of students; 2) a student who has volunteered or has been asked by the teacher to speak in front of the class; 3) students working independently but each having access to the teacher for a one-on-one verbal engagement; and, 4) student groups controlled by the students themselves. Young Indian learners exhibit unusually high hesitance to participate in the first two participant structures while they strongly engage in verbal encounters in the third and fourth participant structures. Notably in all participant structures, Indian children refuse to assume leadership roles in verbal encounters.

Meantime, participant structures at home and in the community are radically different from those in schools. First, in Warm Springs community activities where children are allowed to participate, any member my verbally communicate in various ways. There are no distinctions between performer and audience because everyone can participate. Each community member is also allowed to decide how much she wants to participate. In these community activities, there is no single leader that controls the engagements unlike in classrooms where the teacher pretty much controls all the learning processes. On the other hand, community activities like dancing, singing, and drumming, require no soloists. This strongly reflects on speaking roles allowed by the community. Indian children also required or encouraged to observe adult interactions. Moreover, there is a marked absence of skill testing similar to quizzes, graded recitations, and exams being done in classrooms. In Warm Springs, learners conduct private self- tests to gauge their own proficiency with a given skill. Only when they are certain that they have developed sufficient skill will they publicly demonstrate what they have learned. Often, the demonstration is also nonverbal, such as a shot deer or a properly prepared dinner on the table. Lastly, use of speech is minimal in most participant structures in Indian communities.

These contextual differences account for the inappropriateness of western teaching models as applied in Native American contexts and will likely prolong historical inequalities if left unchanged and unresponsive to the cultural preferences of Native American learners.

Source by Joseph D Mapue


Make Him Commit – Why Men Resist Commitment

Do you want to make him commit but have no idea why he is resisting? If you knew what some of his concerns were, do you think you could find a way to overcome them? What if he’s just not ready? Should you stick it out or move on? Before you can learn how to make a man commit, you have to understand why men resist it in the first place.

Discussing commitment produces fear and anxiety for both men and women. Men tend to feel pressured by the subject, and women dread the possibility that he either doesn’t want a commitment or isn’t ready right now. To really understand men and commitment, it’s important to be aware of what commitment symbolizes to a man versus what it symbolizes to a woman.

Women and Commitment

For most women commitment is almost always considered as a very positive thing. This is probably due in part to how you were raised as well as how society has influenced you to think about commitment. In most cases, it symbolizes love, security, and companionship. Even very independent women crave the emotional security of knowing they are loved and cared for. Commitment helps relieve the fear of abandonment that is all too pervasive in a throwaway society where things and people are easily discarded.

Men and Commitment

Men on the other hand have been conditioned to associate commitment with more negative symbolism. In a man’s mind commitment involves loss of freedom, added expenses, pressure, and stress, and a lifetime of demands and expectations that he may not be able to live up to. Men also dread the boredom that is often associated with commitment.

It’s no wonder that these two very different views collide and create conflict between men and women. But for you, success depends on two things:

o Having realistic expectations that are based in reality rather than fantasy

o Overcoming the objections and negative expectations in a man’s mind.

Setting Realistic Expectations for yourself

Recognize that in large part you control the direction and outcome of your life. Take responsibility for creating your own happiness rather than waiting for the right guy to come along and create it for you. Love has a much better chance for success when two whole and happy people come together than when an emotionally broken person looks for someone to fix them or fill an unmet emotional need.

Overcoming His Objections

You want to show him a very different picture of the one he has in his head. And for a man, this is best done through actions rather than words. Show a man that making a commitment with you will be much different and much better than anything he’s ever imagined.

First, you want him to see you as a complete person on your own. This means cultivating and maintaining positive relationships and interests outside of your romantic relationship.

Second, you want him to see you as a partner. This means that you do not drain him emotionally or financially. Avoid the princess mentality. Instead, show him you are capable of pulling your weight when things become difficult. When a man loves you he’ll treat you like a princess because he desires to not because you demand it from him.

Third, you want him to see you as a safe haven from the world around him by being the woman who can relax him and take his mind off the pressures around him.

Fourth, you want him to see you as exciting. Frequently find little ways to surprise him. Say something he’s not expecting, plan a surprise getaway, leave a note where he’ll find it later, and initiate intimacy with him.

Creating a sense of mystery and intrigue does not require extravagant gestures. It just takes a little thought.

Making a man commit is just a matter of overcoming his pre-conceived notions about commitment. When

you do this, he will have no reservations.

Source by Tina L. Jones


Psychology – A Science As Well As an Art

Psychology is commonly defined as ‘scientific’ study of human behavior and cognitive processes. Broadly speaking the discussion focuses on the different branches of psychology, and if they are indeed scientific. However, it is integral in this to debate to understand exactly the major features of a science, in order to judge if psychology is in fact one. There must be a definable subject matter – this changed from conscious human thought to human and non-human behavior, then to cognitive processes within psychology’s first eighty years as a separate discipline. Also, a theory construction is important. This represents an attempt to explain observed phenomena, such as Watson’s attempt to account for human and non-human behavior in terms of classical conditioning, and Skinner’s subsequent attempt to do the same with operant conditioning. Any science must have hypotheses, and indeed test them. This involves making specific predictions about behavior under certain specified conditions.

Science is meant to be objective and unbiased. It should be free of values and discover the truths about what it is studying. Positivism is the view that science is objective and a study of what is real. For example, schizophrenia, when diagnosed as being caused due to excess dopamine, is being studied in a scientific manner. The explanation does not take into account any cultural customs or individual differences that might lead to ‘schizophrenic’ behavior. However, even in scientific research like this the person is doing the diagnosing has his or her own views, and may misinterpret behavior because of his or her own subjective biases. For example, if someone talks about hearing voices, they may be referring to a spiritual experience, but a medical practitioner might well diagnose schizophrenia. So objective, value-free study is not easy, because the scientist has views and biases, and cultural or other issues are perhaps important factors. Some say that a truly objective study is not possible, and that a scientific approach to the study of people is not desirable.

Definitions of psychology have changed during its lifetime, largely reflecting the influence and contributions of its major theoretical approaches or orientations. Kline in 1998 argued that the different approaches within the field of psychology should be seen as self-contained disciplines, as well as different facets of the same discipline. He argued that a field of study can only be legitimately considered a science if a majority of its workers subscribe to a common, global perspective or ‘paradigm’. According to Kuhn, a philosopher of science, this means that psychology is ‘pre-paradigmatic’ – it lacks a paradigm, without which it is still in a state of ‘pre-science’. Whether psychology has, or ever had, paradigm is hotly debated. Others believe that psychology has already undergone two revolutions, and is now in a stage of normal science, with cognitive psychology the current paradigm. A third view, which represents a blend of the first two, is that psychology currently, and simultaneously, has a number of paradigms.

With regards to which perspectives are regarded as ‘scientific’, and which are not, the majority lies with ‘scientific’. There are four perspectives that clearly lie under ‘scientific’, the behavioral, cognitive, cognitive-developmental and the physiological. The psychodynamic and humanistic perspectives are argued to be idiographic, in that they look at individual differences, instead of universal laws. The social approach can be seen as an intermediate, as, although it appreciates that there is a strong element of science involved in psychology, for example the treatment of some mental disorders, it focuses on social and environmental factors. For example, the biological perspective is said to be scientific fundamentally because it looks at the biological functioning of every human being and searches for reasons and solutions which can be applied nomothetically. It focuses on biological behavior, which can be empirically tested, and findings generalized. It emphasizes on the importance of the nervous system and the importance of genetics on behavior. These aims are clearly scientific, and the methods used are scientific – empirically measured, hypothesized and nomothetic.

One example of this is the medical approach to mental illness. The biological approach suggests that schizophrenia could be down to several factors, such as genetics or a chemical imbalance. The psychodynamic approach however, as been criticized as being ‘unscientific’. Many of Freud’s theories are not able to be tested, and many of his studies, because empirical measures cannot be applied, remain firmly in theory and cannot be tested, they are difficult to operate – it is impossible to test if the unconscious exists if we are by nature meant to be unaware of it. One could however argue that we cannot prove that it does not exist either. The majority of the approaches suggests that psychology is in fact a science, but within the field of psychology, in order for it to be classified as a science, each of its perspective should be seen as scientific. The humanistic approach, a so-called ‘third-force’ between behaviorism and the psychodynamic approaches, is idiographic, since it studies the individual, and holistic, as it looks at the whole person. A scientific approach for general laws will not capture this active interacting individual, and so the humanistic approach uses methods that are not scientific.

The issue of psychology as a science is cloudy. On one hand, psychology is a science. The subject matter is behavior, including mental aspects of behavior such as memory, and the subject matter is divided up for study. Variables are measured, and carefully controlled to a point. Laboratories are often used in an effort to improve controls – controls are as thorough as possible, so that general laws about behavior can be built.

On the other hand, psychology can be viewed not as a science, as it does not aim at scientific principles to measure the whole world. In many areas of psychology there is no attempt to generalize from some human behavior to all human behavior. The social representation theory focuses on interactions, and the humanistic theory focuses on self-actualization and the individual’s experiences and actions. Where there is focus on interactions between people, and on the individual’s experiences, scientific methods are not useful. Non-scientific methods include case-studies and unstructured interviews. If a method in not scientific, it aims for good validity, in-depth material about someone or a small group, qualitative data and a richness of data that is not found by isolating variables, as in many psychological studies.

Psychology as a separate field of study grew out of several other disciplines, both scientific (such as physiology) and non-scientific (in particular philosophy). For much of its life as an independent discipline, and through what some call revolutions and paradigm shifts, it has taken the natural sciences as its model. Ultimately, whatever a particular science may claim to have discovered about the phenomena it studies, scientific activity remains just one aspect of human behavior. I feel that psychology should be viewed as a science, even if it does not concur with traditional scientific specifications.

Source by Mathew Simond