Writing in school was all about showing how much you know, so the more you put down on paper the better. I’m sure some of us can remember how it felt to see that one student who kept asking for more paper in the exam when you only had two pages of information. In business, however, the rules aren’t the same but most of us carry the same hand-up-for-more-paper mentality with us into the corporate world.
Some time ago I was doing research on Amras Communications’ competitors within the region and came across a company that writes business plans. Under their pricing section they had a few options and it baffled me that their pricing structure is such that if the market analysis is longer they charge more. Now there are two things wrong with this.
Number one, this means that if I opt for the shorter market analysis certain information may be left out or if I purchase the lengthier one they may just throw in unnecessary information and words just to meet the page quota.
The second issue with this is that it completely ignores the nature of business writing in this day and age where less is better. People are having to fit more into the same 24 hours than was the case years ago, so the faster someone can get information the better. Especially if the document you’re writing is intended for a potential investor who has a million and one other things to do, respect their time by taking up as little of it as possible while communicating as much valuable information as possible.
Once you get to writing though you’ll often find that it’s actually harder to write shorter documents that include everything. So how can you condense your collection of ideas and information into fewer pages? These tips may help.
The first thing is to map out your thoughts and the information you want to include in your document. Here you have freedom to go crazy. On a piece of paper write down anything and everything that comes to mind and that applies to your project or idea. Once you’ve done that go through the points you’ve put down and prioritise. Identify what is absolutely vital and what the investor may not gain much value or useful insight from knowing. A good way to decide what really matters and what doesn’t is by putting yourself in the investor’s shoes, and ask yourself if a certain piece of information would affect your decision to invest or if it’s just a “good to know”. If it has no bearing on the investment decision leave it out, remember to keep it relevant, it’s not all important.
Now, after you’ve cut out all the non-essential information, plan your document. Think about how you would like it to flow, decide which sections the document will have, and allocate each point from your prioritised list to a section. Organising your thoughts beforehand will help ensure that you don’t leave anything out and it will save you tonnes of time later when you’re editing. This is also a great way to filter your points again, and cut out any unnecessary information, and it helps you avoid repeating things and needlessly adding to your word count.
Lastly — edit, edit, edit! After you’ve put your words and thoughts to paper proofread them over and over. You should of course check for errors, you don’t want to look unprofessional because your document is riddled with spelling mistakes, but you should also use the process to restructure your sentences. A useful trick is reading out loud, it will help you identify areas where sentences don’t quite flow and where you could use two words instead of four.
At Amras Communications we don’t mince words, we like to get to the point. You may be able to capture a potential investor’s attention but you will only have it for a very limited time, so make sure you get everything they need to know across before they move on to their next task. Always remember to KISS — Keep It Short and Simple.
If getting your content to fit within a limited page range is something you struggle with or just don’t have the time to do, my team at Amras Communications has that skill down to a tee and we can take care of it for you. If you have any enquiries don’t hesitate to contact us on +263787722016 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are committed to your success.