Decision Making

No one is perfect. One needs to make good decisions when they have enough information to make a good decision. Should you wait until you have all the facts to make a decision, make a decent enough decision with the information you have, 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 other situations timing is sensitive and by waiting you have, in fact, made a default decision 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 act before the clock runs out.

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Here are some of the things you would ideally like to know when determining how you will bid on a contract so you can place the winning bid as well as make the most money on the contract as possible. This entails knowing the specifics of the competition’s bid, the details of the last winning bid and the key elements wanted by the customer . Additional criteria includes how critical price, service, payments terms, reputation, relationships, guarantees and intangibles are. Also consider the deadline for submitting your bid. What about the decision makers within the customer’s organization? How strong is your relationship with them? It will also help to consider possible cost reductions you can make to increase your profit but not impact your ability to win the bid; how to 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”; and more.

That’s a lot of wanted information to get. However, in the real world you will only be able to obtain a fraction of it so you need to pick out the critical items you need to move forward. To start, 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:

  •  Identify and provide what is critical to the client,
  •  Look better then your competition,
  •  Document and quantify “value-added” services that make a difference,
  •  Reduce your costs to be more price competitive and still make money,
  • Enlist the support of your allies in the client company. Assign responsibilities in your company to gather and coordinate this effort and oversee it.

MORE: Value-Added Services

Michael Neidle

Michael Neidle
Michael Neidle is president and CEO of Optimal Management, an advisor to staffing firm owners and managers.

Michael Neidle

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