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  1. Do you have a word template?

    A proposal template means that anyone in the company will be able to easily create a new proposal for a client following the standards. It also can literally cut the time of proposal development in half.

    When creating the template, remember to add instructions to the user in yellow and check you are following "SSW rules to better proposals"

  2. Do you have a cover page?

    Remember to add a photo of the client
    Figure: Remember to add a photo of the client

    Add a photo of the client to make your proposal memorable.

    E.g. Search for the client photo in Google Images or Facebook:

    • "Tom Northwind" Australia
    • "Tom Northwind" Facebook
  3. Do you have a strong header and footer?

    A strong header and footer will make the client sure that document is from your company in any page he is looking at.

    Bad Example - The header and footer are not strong and there is too much information
    Good Example - The header and footer is more consistent, using the company colors and only necessary information
  4. Do you use a consistent font for the whole document?

    The use of many different fonts in the same document is unprofessional. At SSW, we use Helvetica as the standard font. Also ensure that titles, subtitles and content are consistent. You can create this by using document styles.

  5. Do you include "Commercial in confidence" in your proposal?

    "Commercial in Confidence" information is to be made known to anyone that the proposal in a confidential document. Competing companies are never to be given another company's information in regard to performance specifications or any aspects of pricing, quotation, tender, bid, nor any other commercial or proprietary information.

  6. Do you to put the client logo on the pages that are about the client's project only?

    It's very important to make clear which part of your proposal is relevant for the client or not. Adding the client logo in the pages related to their company is a good way to do this.

  7. Do you have a table summarizing the major features and 2 options?

    Use a table to summarize the major features of the project. Columns that are needed are:

    • Required
    • Desired
    • Option A
    • Option B
    Figure: Highlight Option A which should be the recommended option in yellow

  8. Do you use screen shots in your proposals?

    A Picture tells a thousand words. Using screen shots can sell your designs and add confidence to your proposals by giving visual examples of similar projects you have done.

    Use Screenshots
    Figure: Add a screenshot of a related project
  9. Do you talk about the client first and about your company in the end?

    At SSW our proposals are to be divided into 3 parts:

    1. The white section: This is the document information.
    2. The yellow section: The actual proposal, where all the information for the client can be found
    3. The red section: This is the SSW section and contains a brief presentation of our company and appendices. Please note that this section is not as relevant to client and therefore comes last.
    Client Pages Come First
    Figure: Relevant information comes first on our proposals
  10. Do you use photos of your employees to make the document more personal?

    Include photos of the project manager and others involved in running the project not just names and rates. A photo helps the client see inside the company, making the relationship more personal.

    It is also valid and important when talking about a case study to visually show which employee was responsible for that piece of work.

    Use Screenshots
    Figure: Use photos of your employees to make the document more personal
  11. Do you perform a thorough check on documents before they go to the client?

    Before any document goes to a client a test please for the document is to be completed. The first test is the technical test please. When that is passed the Design test please is to be completed.

    The necessary amount of time should be allocated. If there is a time limitation, the manager will inform which parts should be checked in prior.


    Document Body

    1. Check all spelling mistakes
    2. Check all calculations and cost in the document
    3. Make sure all customised technical sections are technically correct

    Design Test Please

    Cover page

    1. Check the client details are correct
      1. Company name
      2. Company Champion name
      3. Company champion email
      4. Company champion position
    2. Confirm date the proposal is sent
    3. Confirm version Number
    4. Check project name
    5. Check author

    These properties are set using Word Start Icon> Prepare > Properties > Document Properties > Advanced Properties in Word 2007.

    Document Properties Step 1
    Figure: Click on Prepare > Properties to edit the document properties
    Document Properties Step 2
    Figure: Then go to Advanced Properties
    Document Properties Step 3
    Figure: Insert the required text and apply the changes by clicking on the "Modify" button


    1. The header of every page should contain a field from the document properties section which is the name of the document. Selecting all and pressing F9 won’t update this. It has to be done manually.

    Document Body

    1. Make the correct company name is being used
    2. Check all spelling mistakes
    3. Make sure the resource details correct in the "Resources" section
      1. Name
      2. Rates
      3. Image
    4. Make sure the images relate to the content and the captions are related to the images
    5. Make sure the document is formatted correctly to the SSW standard
      1. Headers
      2. Bullet points
      3. Fonts
      4. Images
      5. Spacing
      6. Tables
    6. Last thing to complete
      1. Update all fields before final save


Adam Cogan

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