Before diving into the task of responding it is a very good practice to qualify a tender.
Do You Want the Business?
This is a no-brainer. If the contract doesn’t fit with your business don’t go for it.
Are You Offering What They Want?
If you are not offering what they want you won’t win. So don’t waste time trying.
Can You Win on the Terms You Want?
If the price is going to be too low, or the terms too onerous, revert to the first point. You don’t want the business.
What will Your Competitors be Offering?
If you can’t match what you will be up against, you won’t win.
If the answer to any of these is “no”, you should seriously consider whether you should be bidding for it. There is one other aspect to consider that may make it worthwhile bidding:
Is it of Strategic Importance to You?
You may want to win it, for example, in order to get yourself a flagship contract.
If, after all of these aspects have been considered you are still going to go for it, you should ask yourself another set of questions:
Have You got the Time to Complete it Properly?
The tender needs to completed so that you submit the best response possible. Otherwise it might be wasted effort.
Do You Have the Resource to Complete it Properly?
If you are short of resource, as well as not winning the tender you may adversely affect your existing business. If you don’t have the resource in-house, consider getting in some help.
Do You have the Expertise to Complete it Properly?
Again the tender needs to be completed so that you submit the best response possible. Otherwise it might be wasted effort. If you don’t have the expertise in-house, consider getting in some help.
If the answer to any of these is “no”, you should again consider whether you should be bidding for it! Going through this bid / no bid process can save a lot of time, and make you much more focused – and effective – when you do bid.