By Mike Neidle/Optimal Management
No one is perfect. One needs to make good decisions when they have enough information
to make a good decision. The choices are to wait until you have all the facts to make a decision, have enough information to make a decent enough decision or hold off on making a decision and let things play themselves out?
Many people defer making decisions as long as they can to avoid making the wrong decision. But ALL the facts are never available and new events are always unfolding. Some decisions are not time sensitive and one can wait for additional information while in others situations are time sensitive and by waiting you have in fact made a decision by default and that is not to act. This is often called paralysis through analysis. Good management is most often proactive, where one makes a decision with enough facts in hand to do something before the clock has run out.
Here are some of the things you would ideally like to know in determining how you will bid on a contract so you can make the winning bid as well as make the most money on it as possible. This entails knowing: what are the specifics of the competitions bid, what was the details of the last winning bid, what are the key elements that the customer wants; how critical is price, service, payments terms, reputation, relationships, guarantees and intangibles; what is the deadline to getting your bid in; who are the people that are the decision makers within the customers organization; how strong is your relationship with them; what reductions in your cost can be made which will increase your profit but not impact your ability to win the bid; how can you increase your odds on winning the bid; how much room is there to negotiate the deal after you have won the bid with add-ons, modification and “last look”; etc.
That’s a lot of information to want to get, but in the real world you will only be able to get a fraction of it so you need to pick out the critical items you need to move forward, To start with you MUST know your deadline or everything else is pointless. Then try to get as much of the following that the time frame permits and prioritize your efforts. This includes: a) identify and provide what is critical to the client, b) look better then your competition, c) document and quantify “value added” services that make a difference, d) reduce your costs to be more price competitive and still make money, e) enlist the support of your allies in the client company. Assign responsibilities in your company to gather and coordinate this effort and oversee it.
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