24 Oct Case Studies: How To Choose Them & How They Help Your Bid
Many of the most persuasive and successful bid applications include a compelling case study — and sometimes more than one. As a result, it can be highly beneficial to know exactly what makes a good case study and how they can be used effectively.
What Are Case Studies?
Case studies are a factual study or overview of a real-life event, incident, or project. In the context of bid writing, they give applicants the chance to provide details about their experience of working on relevant jobs for previous clients.
Rather than simply listing their company’s qualities or areas of expertise, case studies provide a way for business owners to illustrate their skills by outlining how they were successfully used on a previous job.
At their best, case studies clearly and effectively communicate exactly what talents you bring, what problems you solve, and the positive solutions you have achieved in the past. But if poorly selected, case studies can be distracting, irrelevant, or may even highlight a weakness or area of improvement that you did not wish to bring attention to.
That’s where the following tips on choosing appropriate case studies can help.
How To Select The Right Case Study
1. Know The Bid Requirements
Begin by studying the opportunity carefully. What are the exact requirements, and how do you meet them?
This can be a good time to list the areas in which you are especially strong and meet the requirements in an obvious and demonstrable way. Equally, know in advance which of your areas may be weaker, so that you do not focus on them too much in your bid.
Once you are familiar with the bid requirements, consider whether you have successfully completed any similar jobs in the past and be sure to outline these. Include all the dates, key details, and (in particular) the ways in which you solved problems or excelled in the brief.
2. Assess Your Relevant Experience
The second step is to go into deeper detail. Once you have identified the past projects you’ve worked on that are most relevant to the opportunity you’re bidding for, select those which you feel are the strongest examples of your work.
In particular, the best projects to use as case studies are usually the ones in which your role was very clear. This is because you should easily be able to outline what your contribution was, what value you brought to the project, and which solutions you developed.
The more complex jobs you have worked on can be included in your shortlist of potential case studies too, but the outline of their scope may need to be simplified to ensure you remain focused on the key areas of your contribution, value provided, and problems solved.
3. Communicate The Problem And Your Solution
When you have identified what you feel are your strongest projects to outline as case studies, do not feel obliged to include every detail of the job. Clarity is key – providing excessive background information or unnecessary context can harm the readability of your application.
The main things to communicate in your case studies (and overall application) are the goals and problems you were presented with, and the solutions and outcomes that you provided.
This is also a good time to double-check the requirements and company values of the project you are bidding on. For example, in their own business the client may prioritise excellent customer service, great communication, and environmental awareness. Do your case studies demonstrate any of these?
If you can communicate how your company values align with the client’s through your case studies and applications, you will be in a strong position.
4. Keep It Relevant
If you have lots of case studies and previous experience, it can be tempting to bombard the reader with information and allow them to decide what is relevant. However, this is a risky approach – especially if readers are short on time and working to a deadline.
Instead, aim to provide maximal levels of relevancy and clarity, and only include the strongest, most relevant case studies in your bids for work.
5. Adapt If Necessary
If you find that few of your previous case studies are directly relevant or appropriate to an application, first consider where there is some crossover. Be sure to highlight any transferrable skills you have developed in the previous projects you worked on, as many of these can be adapted to new opportunities – even if not directly.
As before, it remains especially important to highlight the value, expertise, and problem-solving ability you provided to these past endeavours.