3 Ways to Setup a Winning Bid Process for Small Businesses, On a Budget

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You found a bid that you want to bid on. However, you do not know where to begin.  We have created this article to help your Small Business to set up a winning bid process to respond to the bid in confidence that you have done your due diligence.  Creating a compliant bid is key to winning state contract awards.

State of Maryland

For Small Businesses to be successful with state agencies it is essential to set up processes and procedures for doing business with the State of Maryland.  The Department of General Services Office of State Procurement provides a wealth of information to companies looking to do business with the State.  Do you have a bid process?  No worries we will help you set up a simple process to start winning.  You have found a Maintenance – Light Rail Tree Trimming & Vegetation Management bid on eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA) that you want to bid on. Now what?

Now, we are going to show you how to set up a basic framework when you find a bid you are ready to bid on.  You have downloaded all the documents in a folder to have for reference and historical data. Open the Invitation for Bid (IFB) Notice so we can walk you through the process to ensure you have grasped these basic concepts to get you started.  In this article, we will discuss how to create a Bid Schedule, use the Bid/No Bid Assessment Checklist and create a Bid Outline.

To learn more about how to create an eMMA account and to Navigate eMMA to find bid opportunities or conduct market research on who is buying what you are selling.  Setup notifications to receive bid opportunities in your mailbox check out great training videos created by the Maryland Procurement Technical Center (MDPTAC) visit their website to find out more information.

Let’s Get Started!

If this is your first time bidding on a contract.  The post is for you.  Having a bid process will help your small business to set up a strong foundation and increase your chances of winning a contract.

Setup a Bid Process for State Contracts

The bid process for developing and responding to bid opportunities.  Make sure it is a written process you use that is repeatable procedures to direct team members.  The bid process should be relooked before each bid to ensure you have included lessons learned from previous bids.  The Bid/proposal manager could very well be the business owner.  Still, your goal is to create a bid process that can be passed to your staff, when you are able to start hiring, so you can focus on building the business.  

Listed are the steps we will focus on, in this post, to set up a simple bid process:

Step 1: Bid Schedule

Create a bid schedule because you need to know how much time will do have with this solicitation. We recommend you create an excel spreadsheet and a calendar with the following information:

  • Issue Date
  • Pre-Bid Conference
  • Questions Due Date and time
  • Public Bid Opening Date, Time, and Location
  • Bid Closing Date and Time

Ensure to read the entire bid packet to ensure that you have not missed any critical dates.  Creating a calendar informs all of the critical due dates, weekends, and holidays office to determine how much time you actually have to complete the bid.  You have determined how much time you have to complete the bid. It is time to go to the next step.

Step 2: Bid/No-Bid Assessment Decision Checklist

You have your bid schedule now it is time to decide whether the Invitation for Bid (IFB) is worth pursuing.  This is a critical part of your crafting a quality bid process.  Create an excel spreadsheet, that you will use for each bid you are looking to respond to.  The first section should talk about the agency, the second section should talk about the Company (internal), the third section should be on the competition, and finally, make sure to use scoring criteria.

  • How long is the response time?
  • Has the Pre-bid Conference Passed?
  • Does your company meet all the minimum requirements?
  • Does this solicitation require past performance? If so, how many years?
  • How much will this requirement increase the company’s revenue?
  • Will you need to need a teaming partner?

Use the Bid/No Bid Assessment and Decision Checklist as a living document to add to like your review each.  Note, if you decide this bid is not for your company document, why do you have historical data if the bid comes up again?  However, you have conducted the Bid/No-Bid Assessment Checklist and have determined this opportunity is a good fit for your company and decided to respond. It is essential to begin planning.  Now it is time to create your Bid Outline.

Step 3: Bid Outline

To create a bid outline, begin with the IFB Table of Contents.  It is important to mirror the agency’s Table of Content to make it is easy for the Contracting Officer/Contracting Specialist to locate the information for each section.  The outline lets you know what all is supposed to be in the bid packet that you will be submitting.  Customize each outline based on the requirement.

  • Cover Page
  • Table of Contents (Mirror the Invitation of Bid (IFB)
  • Cover letter
  • Technical Proposal (if applicable)
  • Past Performance
  • Price
  • Solicitation Documents
  • Representations & Certifications (SAM)
  • Transition Plan

Be sure to read the entire bid and make sure to follow the instructions to offer requirements so your bid package is nonresponsive.  For the Light Rail Tree Trimming & Vegetation Management bid.  Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) gave instructions in Section 5 on how to format the bid.  That is why it is important to read the entire bid packet and find all the requirements.  We intend to create a video series of how to create our bid outline, a compliance matrix, and much more.  Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates.

Interested in Bid Training

We created a YouTube channel to help small businesses win more local, state, and federal contracts.  To learn more about the bid process checkout out the Video 3 Ways to Setup a Winning Bid Process for Small Business, On a Budget on YouTube.  We know the challenges small businesses face trying to hire a bid/proposal consultant when you are first getting started.


The bid process does not have to be complicated.  We will continue to explain the bid process in future posts.  The Bid process is the beginning of setting up to winning state contract awards.  

Are you worried about setting up a winning bid process?  Do not worry anymore!  We are here to assist your small business with the bid process.  So, follow us on social media and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Stay tuned for our next blog article in which we will cover the Cover Page, and how we set up our table of Contents as the Bid Outline.

To learn and understand more about starting your own small and home-based business, here are your quick start guides to get started! Get yours now!


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