How to Create a Bid Outline

How to Create a Bid Outline

Part of developing a winning bid process is to have a formalized standard workflow addressing each phase, assigning all tasks to create a persuasive bid.

In this article, we will talk about How To Create a Bid Outline. We have created this to help Small Businesses set up a winning bid process to respond to a bid with confidence. Creating a compliant bid is key to winning state contract awards.

The Bid Process Cont.…

You have completed the Bid Schedule and the Bid/No-Bid Assessment Checklist, and now you are creating a Bid Outline for your bid. In this article, we will create the bid outline.

Much like writing a research paper, there are several stages involved. First, you begin with an outline to identify topics, gather your thoughts, and address each point. The final product of a research paper is a document you have spent much time investigating the topics and subtopics, examining sources, and scrutinizing the material to either persuade, inform, or make a recommendation.   

It is the same concept as writing a response to a bid. We developed this simple process to help small businesses if they need help with establishing a winning bid management process to win contracts awards constantly.

Keep reading this article. This article is part of a series.

The first series is the 3 Ways to Setup a Winning Bid Process for Small Business, On a Budget”. Click the link to read our previous post if you are interested in how we started setting up our bid process for our current bid – Light Rail Tree Trimming & Vegetation Management.  We found this bid on the eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA) online procurement portal.

Let’s Continue to Create our Workflow!

If you are new to responding to a bid or a proposal, this post is for you! Having a bid process will help your small business set up a solid foundation and increase your chances of winning a contract award with the State of Maryland.

Now, we will take an in-depth look into how we setup a basic framework for bids and proposals.  Most small business owners will wear the hate of the Proposal Manager when they first begin due to limited cash flow. We will discuss the roles and responsibilities of a Proposal Manager in a future post.  The Proposal Manager has an especially vital role to play.  We recommend keeping the teams very small in the beginning because it will be easier to manage. 

Bid Outline Setup 

The Bid process for developing and responding to bid opportunities:

  1. Make sure it is a written process you use that is repeatable procedures to direct team members.
  2. You will continue to improve your bid process before each bid to ensure you have included lessons learned from previous bids.
  3. The goal is to create a bid management process that can be passed to your staff to start hiring and growing the business.  

As discussed in the previous post, 3 Ways to Setup a Winning Bid Process for Small Business, On a budget”, to create a bid outline, begin with the bid’s Table of Contents. It is the topic we will be addressing.

Table 1.1. A basic bid outline was created in an excel spreadsheet to respond to each section.

The topics we will focus on, for this solicitation, to setup the bid outline are as follows:

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Contractor Requirements: Scope of Work
  • Contractor Requirements: General
  • Procurement Instructions
  • Bid Format
  • Bid Evaluation and Award
  • IFB Attachments and Appendices

Table 1.2. A basic example of how to respond to each statement

We recommend the proposal manager complete the bid outline.  Once approved by the Senior leadership, use the document to brief the team at the kick-off meeting.  The bid outline is the guide for the executive summary, development of the draft bid, and a great way to ensure that all the minimum requirements have been met. Also, ensure that the format is consistent with the sections of the solicitation.  A bid/proposal is a written response to commercial, local, state, or federal agencies, to how your services or products can help solve the agency challenges. 

Interested in Training

We created a YouTube channel to help small businesses win more local, state, and federal contracts.  We will continue to post great videos and training to help small businesses gain a competitive advantage.  Check out our recent video series #1 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.

Check out the video series #2 – How to Create a Bid Outline for further information and training about this topic.

Book Recommendation 

A terrific book to reference is “Writing Business Bids & Proposals for dummies.” This book is a great start for brand-new bid/proposal managers.  Check out this informative Book Review: Writing Business Bids & Proposals for dummies by Neil Cobb & Charlie Divine by Jimmy Low.  I agree with the author that “…Nothing compares to practical experience and hard work…”. This book is a must-have in your library.


Establishing a bid outline does not have to be complicated.  We have created this bid process series to be a guide and a great resource to help your small business establish a winning bid management process. 

The bid process is the beginning of winning contract awards.  

No need to worry about setting up a winning bid process.  We are here to aid your small business in winning in the Government Marketplace.  So, follow us on social media and subscribe to our YouTube channel! You may watch this

Stay tuned for our next blog article in which we will cover the Compliance matrix.

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!


Leave a Reply