News & Insights

Draft or Daft? How good drafting can make or break a bid.

Jack Bolton
Written by
Jack Bolton
Draft of Daft

Drafting is often seen as burdensome. After all, one draft is always sufficient and two would be far too much work?

Drafting however, is an essential process to ensuring the best possible results. Therefore, it is important to understand the reasons behind the drafting process and what exactly this entails.

Many understand drafting to simply be a stage of collating the required information and forming it into responses. This is not the case. That stage must be completed simply to arrive at a first draft.

Further drafting is vital to delivering any document that will ultimately be assessed. To give yourself the best chance of success, every bid you submit must be as strong as possible.

How Many Drafting Stages?

How long is a piece of string? The number of drafting stages you are able to put your proposal through depends on several factors:

  • How big is the bid?
  • Are there multiple people are working on it?
  • How long do you have before the deadline?

It may sound obvious but the first and final drafts are the most important. The first as a launching pad from which your bid can take shape and the final as the all-important submission document upon which you will be assessed.

However, what takes place between these two drafts is absolutely essential. This is the process that will refine the rough working document that was your first draft into that finished product that presents your organisation in the best possible light. It is here that you accentuate your key strengths and seek innovative ways to meet the buyer’s precise demands. You can advance mitigation strategies to any issues the buyer may currently be having and add value to your proposal that goes above and beyond the mere specified requirements.

The more process you put your proposal through the more new ways you will find to strengthen your case. Essentially, the more drafts you put a response through, the better the outcome will be. Therefore, the earlier you begin the bidding process, the greater chance you will have of achieving success.

Avoiding Mistakes

Review Each Draft

There is no use drafting if you don’t do anything about your drafts between stages. Following each draft, put your work through a thorough review (preferably by someone who hasn’t been working on the bid). This will allow for any issues to be raised before being amended in the subsequent draft.

Plan Your Bid Process

If you don’t set strict draft deadlines and stick to them, the entire process can become fragmented and often results in a last minute scramble to collate all the required information into a final submission. Quality suffers enormously as a result of this.

While you may provide an excellent service, if you present a rushed document then it will not appear to the buyer that this is the case. Not following a drafting process regularly leads to organisations presenting themselves in a poor light.

Make sure that your whole team are aware of the internal deadlines you are working towards and ensure they are not missed.

What Should I Do in Each Drafting Stage?

First Draft

The first draft is the most important drafting stage. Most of your content and detail should be roughly laid out here. This should make clear how you plan to approach each question.

Your bid needn’t be well-polished at this stage. Notes and disorganisation are expected as your thoughts are laid out ready to be honed into a powerful response. Further drafts are for refinement and polishing, the first draft is purely for the content.

As explained above, a first draft acts only as a collation of the required information. It is a gathering point for the evidence that will form your argument as to why your organisation should be awarded the contract.

Simply, a first draft is a working document, one which further drafting stages can hone into a cohesive and compelling case for your suitability to deliver the requested service.

Do not worry about typos and grammatical errors at this stage. It is pointless poring over documents and correcting every minor error you encounter, as your content is going to undergo several overhauls before arriving at a final draft. Only then will a final proofing stage take place.

Subsequent Drafts

This is the opportunity to scrutinise your proposal. Does your current response adequately answer the question? What more could you offer the buyer? You can identify gaps and form mitigation strategies to cover these.

These stages are also an opportunity to add value to your proposal that goes above and beyond the mere specified requirements. Here, you can set yourself apart from your competitors and leave the assessors in no doubt that your organisation is best positioned to deliver the service.

Each subsequent draft will become more fluid as mistakes are eliminated and content expanded upon and strengthened.

Final Submission Draft

Once you have arrived at a draft that presents your organisation in the best possible light, the entire document should be placed through a final review and proofing process.

This will ensure that the document is clear, concise and appropriately worded. Only upon completion of this final review and proofing process will you have the finished product. This is the essential final draft that will be submitted to the buyer.


Did you enjoy this post?

Click here to learn more about how to ghost your competition.

Follow Bespoke Bids on Linkedin to keep up with our day-to-day operations. We post live tenders, tips and tricks and more.

Contact us

Talk to an expert

We will provide a free, no obligation consultation on your bidding requirements