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Check out the articles below for more RFP news from The Bid Lab and for collaborations with industry leaders.
A well-developed RFP is written by the stakeholders in a company that are seeking assistance. Here we will discuss few Do’s and Don’ts of the Request for Proposal process.
Forbes x The Bid Lab
Prior to Covid-19, most companies had the resources to take on projects that didn’t immediately show a high return on investment. In 2021, however, these same companies will need to shift their focus to business operations and process optimization in an effort to recover from revenue losses and budget cuts brought on by the pandemic.
Like many business owners, you’re most likely heading into 2021 with a sense of uncertainty. How will you define “success” after persevering through the challenges of 2020? You might need to significantly redefine your company’s goals and objectives or, if you’re lucky, simply apply a few minor adjustments to account for the new reality created by the pandemic.
If you’re a business owner, this year has probably brought its fair share of challenges. As the pandemic rages on, consumers face high unemployment and a reduction in their disposable income. Especially for companies in heavily hit industries like foodservice and hospitality, finding creative ways to improve the bottom line without the support of additional revenue is top of mind.
For businesses committed to reaching new heights, responding to requests for proposals (RFP) is a strategy too lucrative to ignore. RFP opportunities decide billions of dollars in funding across all industries, but what is the best way to tap into such a valuable and competitive ecosystem?
The majority of RFP processes include opportunities for bidders to submit questions. Whether the RFP includes a bidder conference or simply a contact person available to respond to inquiries, this is your opportunity to gain clarity for your bid. You should not simply ask what price your bid should be, but ask clarifying questions about the requesting organization that will inform your proposed cost.
With the complexity of navigating many of the compliance requirements associated with today’s business environment, many small business owners can barely think beyond their next payroll cycle. Long-term thinking is not only crucial for small businesses to compete with their larger counterparts, but it can also prove to be a competitive advantage.
With artificial intelligence (AI) transforming a variety of industries, many people in the world of requests for proposals (RFP) are asking if the bidding industry is next. AI may be on its way to changing the world, but it is not yet ready to take over the world of bidding. Cutting-edge technology can help your contract proposal operations reach their full potential, but experienced (human) experts are still needed to deliver a winning bid.
After submitting a winning bid for a request for proposal (RFP), it’s important to hit the ground running. Be proud that your team has presented a clear and compelling vision for your product or service and secured a new client, but now the next phase begins!
We can all understand the appeal of automating the process, but the question remains whether a bid software solution is your organization’s best next move. The answer may not be as automatic as you’d hope.
A beautifully designed RFP tells the reviewer that you not only put thought and effort into your proposal but that you are also organized and professional. An attractive bid helps engage your prospective client and elevates your proposal above its competition. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but I believe there are a few tips everyone can use to make their RFP responses more appealing and, subsequently, more successful.
Make sure you understand the deadlines outlined in the RFP and respect them. This could be your first impression with a new client, and you want to make sure you show them that you can meet all due dates not only in this RFP, but also once you secure their business.
A proposal with a Q&A component offers a valuable opportunity to both gain insight about the proposing entity and to put your organization in a better position to win more bids. Many requests for proposals (RFPs) allow bidders to email a contact person specific written questions, while others will offer a pre-bid conference where bidders can seek clarifications either in person, over the phone or via web-conferencing technology.
To get your proposal on the shortlist of finalists, your bidding team must be on the same page. Responding effectively to a request for proposal (RFP) requires all departments in an organization — including finance, legal, communications, operations, etc. — to work in harmony. Even for smaller organizations, orchestrating these moving parts can be a challenge.
My business transitioned to working primarily remotely some time ago. This transition did require some thoughtful planning, but we have seen significant benefits since. Now, as many others find themselves suddenly working from home amid the coronavirus and its associated lockdowns, it’s important to maintain productivity and, more importantly, stay sane. Here are a few tips to do just that.
When starting a new business, it can feel like you are doing everything in your power to keep a dozen plates spinning at once. With so much to do, adding a bidding strategy to your never-ending list of to-dos may feel overwhelming. But, I can assure you that this is one avenue of growth you do not want to ignore.
The year 2020 has undoubtedly been one of the most difficult in recent memory. As the world navigates the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are struggling to find their way in an uncertain environment.
There is no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a recession in this country. While economic experts debate whether the recession will be minimal, major or record-setting in the long-term, they all agree that there will be some form of a recession in the coming months.
Covid-19 is changing aspects of society each and every day, and the RFP process is not immune. From project management to design and submission, clients’ needs during the pandemic are evolving.
Working from home likely sounds like a dream for many people: no commuting, no work clothes and no office small talk. But there’s more to it than just wearing pajamas all day and having your favorite foods on demand.
When we absolutely need to travel to a client’s office — and for us, that can be anywhere throughout the United States — we always take the utmost precautions to minimize the risk of catching Covid-19, even if we can’t completely eliminate that risk.
There’s something special about the money you put into your local economy, and not just the outcome of better-quality products and services. Supporting small businesses gives your business and your local community — benefits that no national chain can provide.
CO: U.S. Chamber of Commerce
If you haven’t looked into selling to the federal government, you could be missing out on a lucrative financial opportunity. Considering that the U.S. government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, why not get in on the action?
Don’t reinvent the wheel each time you receive an RFP—you should always store your responses in a database after you submit each bid. That way, you can build on existing content while tailoring responses to your individual bid.
Forbes New York Business Council
When first starting a company, you should conduct market research to evaluate how your competitors are pricing, then adjust your pricing accordingly. Do you offer a higher quality service? Then aim higher in terms of pricing than your competitors. Are you a value product? Then price yourself lower. Then, as time goes on, pay less attention to competitors and listen more to client feedback.
Always make sure to keep your current clients happy before you expand to new markets. When current clients are happy, it will make the product expansion happen almost automatically—through referrals, positive reviews and an increase in your brand value. Further, you can even ask your existing clients to be a reference.
Without trusting your team, there is no way you can scale your operations to increase the volume of your output. If you trust your team to do the job correctly, you can focus on the next growth opportunity, instead of simply taking care of BAU (business as usual) work.
At our company, we crave criticism or constructive criticism. We have built into our process a touchpoint to ask how we did and what we can do to improve. We don’t ask if there is anything we can do, but what we can do to improve. It’s a small but important difference!
Being genuine obviously doesn’t cost anything, but it will generate so much business if you act with integrity consistently. Clients always say how they appreciate the straightforward and transparent process we incorporate, and they share this with other prospects. This is just an easy and free way to market yourself!
The Bid Lab is innovative in a traditionally stagnant industry of responding to Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Our team is constantly evaluating “best practices” and revolutionizing the way things have been done for decades, which only works because we don’t judge each other.
It’s more important to have the right investors and banks on board than the financing they offer. Otherwise, all you really have is an additional layer of decision-makers that slows you down. Be more concerned with conducting due diligence on them rather than stressing over presenting yourself. Treat this like any sale: Focus on partnering for a mutual benefit rather than what you want.
So many people view social media as a channel to distribute content they developed elsewhere. Instead, we use social media to engage with followers differently. For instance, we use our social media channels to share bidding opportunities that are relevant to our followers’ businesses. It keeps people engaged because following us could allow them to find bids they wouldn’t have otherwise found.
Keep your charitable giving aligned with your core mission and service offering. We run an annual promotion where we provide complimentary grant-writing to local charities since this is in line with our service offering of writing grants and RFP responses.
Constantly evaluate how a post or message was received by your audience. Did something you post inspire a bunch of comments? Was there a particular message that had a higher-than-average open rate? Identify what made that communication unique and replicate that in your future messages. It’s like having a virtual audience clapping at something you said during a speech. Use feedback!
At the end of the day, your client understands that you are their vendor. So, keep meals and drinks professional. This means you shouldn’t order anything too messy and do not drink too much. You should always be presenting yourself in a way that people think of you professionally and can trust you. So, skip the sloppy joes and order a cleaner turkey sandwich, and drink wine instead of whiskey!
It is your job to focus on how the client understands you, not the other way around. Don’t make any assumptions about what the client understands from a phone call. We always conduct kick-off calls for our RFP and bid responses. However, we then always follow up with an email stating exactly what we discussed so that we can manage expectations for deliverables and due dates.
As our company handles time-sensitive bid responses for clients, we are extremely deadline-driven as late bids are disqualified. We have never missed a deadline because we plan our work when we receive it, put each deliverable in writing and share it with the entire team. This transparency and accountability for deadlines prevent stress since everyone is on the same page from the get-go!
Businesses tend to operate better when the people on the team have strong bonds with each other. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to empower your team members to connect with each other and forge relationships that encourage smooth and successful collaboration in the workplace.
Whether you’re looking to hire, gain new clients or just meet like-minded business leaders, social media is a highly effective way to find new connections. While it can seem intimidating or impersonal to reach out online, social media often gives you access to rich, relevant information about a person’s professional background that can help you forge a strong relationship.
There are countless ways to advertise your business to a wide audience, from online ads to email newsletters. However, when you’re marketing to local consumers, you have an opportunity to truly personalize your campaign and touch on the things that are important to your community.
If a business hopes to turn a profit and grow financially, it must keep a close eye on its cash flow each month. Properly tracking income against your current purchases and regularly updating your reports is crucial for understanding your business’s financial health.
After the excitement of the start of the season fades away, winter can feel near endless. Even if you don’t live somewhere with snow and below-freezing temperatures, the colder winter months can often lead to a decrease in morale. Making the extra effort to keep everyone’s spirits up in the winter can have profound effects on your team’s productivity and overall satisfaction.
When implementing a marketing campaign, you’ll need to monitor its efficacy. It can be difficult to know when it’s time to stop a campaign early, and even more difficult to pull the plug when you’ve poured lots of time and resources into it. But if your current strategy isn’t working, regrouping and trying a new approach will be better for you in the long term.
Managing finances is a critical aspect of running a company. You need to keep track of expenses and cash flow on a regular basis in order to make sure you’re making the right business decisions.While financial tracking can seem like a daunting task, finding an effective system can make things easier. To help highlight some approaches that work, members of Forbes Business Council share their preferred methods for financial tracking for their companies.
An interview is a great opportunity to get to know a candidate, so you want to make sure you ask the right questions. This is especially vital when you’re interviewing someone for a leadership position. You want to determine that person’s management skills and as well as their readiness to take on an important role with the company.
To set your company apart from its competition, you need to tell a unique story. Sharing the “why” of your business helps bring humanity to your brand and it’s something that will resonate with your clients. This storytelling is critical, but sometimes your chosen narrative just isn’t working.
Smart business owners know the importance of practicing due diligence before signing any contract, whether you’re acquiring a company or hiring a new vendor. To ensure that you understand the ramifications of the agreement (and that you don’t find yourself in a suboptimal situation), you must conduct the appropriate research. However, due diligence can be a lengthy and complicated process, and you may not always be able to devote the necessary time to it.
Business negotiations require finesse and an understanding of the person on the other side of the table. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be aggressive, but you should know where and when to stop to get the best results.
When you’re looking to fill a skills gap or your company is growing rapidly, you may be considering outsourcing certain aspects of the business. Contracting outside the company can free up valuable time and resources, and this can improve your bottom line in the long run. However, not everything can or should be done by someone else, so you’ll have to carefully consider which tasks you pass off to others.
As the needs of consumers evolve, organizations are forced to rethink their current marketing practices and evolve. Paid advertising will likely always be a valuable method for reaching current and prospective customers. However, organic marketing can help facilitate a connection with a target audience that benefits both the audience and the business for the long term.
RFPs can be tricky. Not everyone knows how to make an effective RFP that will get a great response. Sometimes you may need help to get the best response on your RFP. The Bid Lab is helping many to get a great response to the RFP.