How to Write a Business Letter

A business letter is an effective and official way of communication between two institutions, people, corporations, people, or persons. Business letters are different from personal letters because they are written within a set of rules and guidelines that have to be followed very strictly.


People panic with the prospect of writing a letter adhering to set guidelines, but to write business letters is not that hard and there is no reason to fear.


Before you start writing a business letter, ask these questions:


  1. What is your purpose of writing a business letter?
  2. What does the reader want and how will they understand the message you want to convey?
  3. Have you answered all the important questions and the needed information has been provided to the reader?
  4. Has your purpose been accomplished?
  5. Have you included distracting, boring, or confusing information?
  6. How do you want your reader to react to your letter?
  7. Has your message been clearly conveyed?
  8. Have you provided the reader with all the important information to take the necessary action?

The main purpose of a business letter is formally communicating within your company or with another company. The main purpose of business letters is to convey to the people information that you want them to know and if possible persuade them to act in a given manner.


The Important 7’s


The main problem with most business letters is that either they are difficult to understand or are drawn out and too long. There is one solution to this problem that many writers follow. They double check the document and its contents to ensure that it is written according to the golden rule of 7’s:


  • Clear
  • Correct
  • Concise
  • Conversational
  • Convincing
  • Courteous
  • Complete

If you follow these 7 guidelines of business letter writing, then it will help convey your message.


Be Direct


The first thing you must keep in your mind while writing a business letter, is to ensure that the time of the reader is not wasted because of a long letter. Keep in mind the following two questions to ensure yourself this, why are you writing and what do you want to accomplish. The answer to these questions will enable you to write the letter in a straightforward manner. If you take these two questions under consideration before you start writing, your letter will be short and will convey your message to the reader in a better way.


Types of Business Letters


Business letters vary with one common purpose or a common format. People handle different types of businesses, so business letters are written in different ways to achieve different purposes. The answer to coming up with an efficient letter is to be aware of the type of business letter you wish to write. The various types of business letters are adjustment, complaint, order, acknowledgement, and response and inquiry letter.


Adjustment Letter:  The adjustment letter is a letter that is to be written as a reply to a complaint letter against something or someone. It serves the purpose of informing its reader that suitable measures are being implemented against the previously specified wrong doing. Besides this, the adjustment letter also operates as an official document to acknowledge the complaint.


Complaint Letter: This letter is quite similar to the adjustment letter. The only difference is that it is not essentially written in response to a wrong doing. Its purpose is to notify its reader about some error that had been detected and requires immediate attention and correction. This letter too acts as an official document informing its reader that actions are being taken to solve the problem.


Order Letter: As the name suggests, an order letter is written for ordering materials that are in short supply and hence, will be required soon. Order letters are commonly also known as POs (Purchase Orders). Once again, this is an official document specifying the transaction between the vendor and the business organization.


Acknowledgement Letter: Main aim of an acknowledgement letter is to show gratitude to its reader for something s/he had done for you in office. It could be simply expressing your thankfulness with respect to some help that had been rendered by its reader or with regards to something you had received from the reader. Although acknowledge letters are not mandatory in a business setting, they are appreciated.


Response Letter: Again, the name “Response Letter” is quite self-explanatory. This letter is written as a reply to some other letter that was received by the person. The main idea of writing such a letter is to perform adequate actions in response to a favor that was asked for by the person receiving the letter.


Inquiry Letter: This is a letter written with the objective of conveying a certain request to its reader or as a reply to the request made by its reader in his/her initial letter. Thus, the main purpose of inquiry letters is to get across your request for a certain material or object to the reader.


Business Letter Writing Checklist


Once the business letter you are writing is over, check it with the checklist to ensure that your letter has accomplished the rules set in the checklist. The main fundamental use of the checklist is to ensure that the business letter is: simple, strong, sincere and the most important rule, short. After finishing the letter if you find out that your business letter is at par to all such qualities then congratulate your self for having accomplished just the ideal business letter.


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