Community writing

Published on March 3rd, 2017 | by Jones


Tips for better business writing

Communication is key in business. As a business owner, you might not think too much about the emails you dash off. An increasingly important method of communication in the business world is the written word. Think for a moment about the last instruction you sent or received. It’s very likely to have been completed with the help of an email. Written communication, especially in business, is important because it ensures everyone knows what’s expected of them. It also means you can refer back to the original email, if need be. Chances are, if the email wasn’t properly written, it can be easily misunderstood.

“Clarity is the most important characteristic of good business writing,” says Mignon Fogarty, creator of the Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing podcast. “Often business people will use big $10 words because they want to sound intelligent. Instead, they end up sounding like they’re trying too hard.”

You’re a business owner. You need to worry about every aspect of the business. It’s up to you to decide who gets hired and who gets fired. So, why would you worry about your writing? But you should. Turns out, it’s kind of a big deal. Every piece of communication you send off says something about you. It’s important  you figure out what it is you want to say.

What can happen?

You might think that nothing too bad can happen if your email isn’t understood. But take a moment to think about one of the most important documents you’ll write for your business. Your business plan. An unclear business plan can impact your attempts to secure investors. Simply put, all your efforts to find funding could come to nothing. Think about your personal life. You may have to apply for a personal loan online. And if that isn’t understood, all of your efforts will come to nought. Bad writing can have a wide-ranging negative effect on your life and business, from creating a misunderstood business plan to hampering your efforts to secure funding. It could affect your relationship with clients and staff. It might hamper your ability to find new clients.

Tips to create a business plan

According to the experts, your plan should include seven different sections – executive summary, business description, market strategies, competitive analysis, design and development plan, operations and management plan and financial data.

A business plan is a written description of your businesses future. It’s a document that tells the story of what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. Even if you’ve just scrawled a paragraph on the back of an envelope which describes your strategy, that’s the start of your business plan.

It’s all about your strategic goals. It’s about where you want to get to and how you plan to get there from where you are now. You plan is the map showing you how to get there.

Tips for improving your writing

Simply put, there are two ways to improve your writing: writing regularly and reading more often. Both of these will help you to become the kind of writer you dream of being. Some people think they either are good writers or aren’t. It’s this latter group who don’t try to be better. Writing is something which can be improved over time. The most important lesson you’ll ever learn is to KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid. If you need a little more help, here are some tips:

  • Avoid jargon
  • Write once and edit twice
  • Pay attention to details
  • Start and end with the same clear intention

Writing is a skill which can improve with time and practise. Remember that reading often is the most important thing you can do to improve this skill. Read often and read everything you can get your hands on. Even the side of the cereal box.

Consider this advice from Oxford Dictionaries: “All good writing communicates with readers in a personal way. Good business writing, whether it is a report written for an employer or an email to a client, does that quickly and effectively. You do not need to use overly formal language; it is better to use a neutral style that is akin to conversation, but rather more organised.

“Above all, present your information logically and helpfully, so that readers are in no doubt what your message is — and what, if anything, you want them to do in response.”

When you’re about to write an email, send a text message or craft your business plan, consider the importance and impact of the words you’re about to put to paper. They’re important. Treat them that way.

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About the Author

A keen writer, giving advice about work and life.

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