Writing a proposal involves a lot more than just simply putting the words together...you have to make sure that your proposal document looks professional and that it gets to the client on time. You could have the best proposal in the world, but if it's submitted after the deadline it is extremely likely that it won't even be considered - especially in public sector procurement.
So what's involved in producing a proposal? It's just a question of printing it out and sending it off isn't it? Sometimes yes - but there may be other things to consider. Here's a quick list of all the things that you have to consider:
The proposal - the finished document is obviously the first thing you need in place. Make sure that this is the finished document - any red team review should have already been completed on draft versions.
Proof Reading - neglecting proof-reading is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. It takes very little time to do properly, though is often the first thing to go when time is running short. Yet if it isn't done correctly, one simple mistake in the wrong place can destroy all possibility of actual being awarded a contract.
Printing - Printing can often take longer than you expect. Always make sure that you have plenty of toner or printer ink. Allow extra time if you are printing in colour and check beforehand to see how many copies you need - and allow extra time. It's also a good idea to have a backup in case things go wrong - find a local print shop where you can get documents printed. In fact, if they can produce higher quality documents on their equipment, think about outsourcing your document production to them.
Binding - make sure you have the equipment and consumables in stock. Don't always use the cheapest binding option. A great looking document sends an immediate message to the buyer about your quality and values.
Packaging - Make sure you have big enough envelopes. Did the client provide and envelope or label that you must include on the tender. Always check the tender documentation to verify the address where the document should be sent - it may be different than the address that you usually use for this client
Getting It There - Always allow time for delivery and get proof of postage. If the proposal is completed a day early, send it a day early. Don't leave it until the last minute. If using a courier service then make sure that they are reputable.
Think about how long these are going to take in your organisation and plan for them. Ensure that your deadline for completing the proposal takes into consideration the time that these activities will take. Always allow time for contingencies - something will go wrong!!
Plan your document production as part of your bid management process. Use the Bid Development Plan in the Learn to Write Proposals Bid Management Toolkit. This will help you plan the entire document creation and production process and avoid the last minute rush.