Bid & Proposal Professional’s Survival Kit


Bid and proposals can be a tough profession, and sometimes we need a little extra motivation and support to help us through the chaos. I love this Bid & Proposal Professional’s Survival Kit—I generated it using inspiration from similar survival kits out there for other professions. This is a great little kit you can put together to brighten a coworker’s day, to use for holiday give exchanges in the office, or to welcome a new coworker to the team. I have personally used a version of this survival kit in several office holiday gift exchanges. And if you’re needing just a little extra motivation yourself, I’ve included a few extra words of encouragement with each item below for this week’s blog.


Marker: To remind you to leave a good mark—with your team and with the customer. As bid and proposal professionals, we have the ability to influence our teams, our coworkers, and our customer. It is critical for us to use this influence thoughtfully and conscientiously. We must lead our teams with grace, help one another to be the best that we can be, and provide the best value to our customers as possible.

Sponge: To remind you to soak up new knowledge and continually learn. Our profession is continually evolving and growing. We must strive to learn continuously, seeking out best practices and process evolutions. As new trends emerge, we must educate ourselves and understand the types of organizations that can best benefit from these tools, technologies, and processes. To be the best at what we do, we must continually learn, continually grow, and continually improve our skillsets and capabilities.

Penny: To remind you that you are valuable and your thoughts are important. Sometimes it may feel like your ideas are constantly being shot down or you are having trouble getting through to your team or leadership. It’s okay! Sometimes we all have difficulties being heard and effectively communicating our ideas and opinions. Even if you’re not getting through to your team or your leadership, remember that you are a valuable contributor and your thoughts are important. Keep pressing forward. Eventually you will be heard!

Eraser: To remind you that it’s okay to make mistakes—just remember to learn from them and move forward! We’re all human, and mistakes happen. Don’t dwell on mistakes or beat yourself up for making them. But remember to own up to your mistakes, recognize what you should change next time, and apply those lessons moving forward.

Animal Cookies: For when your proposal room seems like a zoo. Sometimes you may feel like your proposal room is a zoo. SMEs may be MIA, writers may be at their wits end trying to write sections without SME input, and the price volume lead may be struggling to get the necessary quotes to compile the price. Remember to be the calming force throughout all of this chaos—help provide the solutions to your team so that they can deliver the necessary components for the win. Be able to laugh at your situation, but be vigilant in solving problems so your team can succeed.  

Lotion: For when things get a little rough. Sometimes bids and proposals just don’t go as smoothly as we’d like. We run into hurdles, have multiple fires to put out, and find ourselves struggling to stay on schedule. We have to smooth things over and keep marching forward as if everything is hunky dory. When you feel like you’re at your wits end, know that you’ll get through it—you’ve don’t it before, and you’ll do it again.

Coffee: For those nights where you just end up burning the midnight oil. We put schedules together, we plan out the perfect scenarios, but frequently something out of our control happens, and we end up burning the midnight oil to make sure we meet the delivery schedule. Late proposals are losing proposals, and we all know we like to win. Coffee, or your choice of caffeinated beverage, will help you through it.

Rubber Band: To remind you to stay flexible. It’s so important to stay flexible in our profession. RFPs will change: requirements are amended, proposals are extended, and our schedules are impacted. Being able to roll with the punches will save your sanity in the long run. When changes happen, adjust the plan, communicate the changes with the team, and move forward. Failure is not an option. You’ll get it done.

Paper Clips: To help you hold it together. Bids and proposals can be stressful. We face the challenge of dealing with team conflict; putting out fires on a daily basis; and adjusting to changes in the team, organization chart, and solution—all while keeping the team on track and on schedule. We tackle these daily challenges all while leading the team gracefully and holding it together. This is a reminder from me to you that you’ve got this. You’re strong and you’re capable. And you can lead your team to the win.

Bubble Gum: To remind you to stick with it and never give up. With all of the challenges you face, you may want to give up. Remember to keep pushing forward—you will make it through even the toughest of challenges. You’ll learn from missteps, and continually get better moving forward. Just stick with it and don’t give up. You’ve got this!


Final Thoughts
There’s no doubt about it—bids and proposals are not easy. It takes a motivated, driven, and persevering individual to pursue such a profession—and these qualities will carry you through even the toughest of times. Hopefully this article—and similar resources out there—will give you that extra encouragement you need when you start to doubt yourself. Remember—you are strong, you are capable, and you will get through even the toughest of challenges. Cheers!

Written by Ashley Kayes, CP APMP
Senior Proposal Consultant, AOC Key Solutions, Inc. (KSI)
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