Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Get It in Writing
“Get it in writing” is a common piece of legal wisdom often shared by attorneys and business experts. It is true that many verbal agreements become disagreements under a wide variety of circumstances. But getting it in writing does not always prove to be a magical solution.
There are frequent examples of litigation and legal proceedings when a written document is the subject of argument and lawsuits. Is that contract clause enforceable? Did the officers and directors of the corporation really mean what they said in the corporate by-laws?
But the Uniform Commercial Code does in fact require that certain agreements be put into writing. Whenever personal property is being leased or a security interest (collateral) is part of a financial transaction, “Get it in writing” is mandatory. If the parties believe that anything in a contract cannot be completed within a year, “Get it in writing.” Another case where a written agreement is not optional is based on the monetary amount of goods to be sold ($5000 or more).
There are also many important and valuable forms of business writing which have little or nothing to do with legal conditions and contracts but nevertheless serve as excellent examples of another useful “Get it in writing” perspective. As a primary illustration of this, business proposals provide cost-effective solutions for several common small business problems.
Companies of all sizes are interested in increasing their sales and operating revenues. Small business owners are constantly in search of business development strategies which will consistently deliver effective marketing results. While some small businesses are still actively looking for the best solution to this common problem, many companies are relying on a dependable and trusted sales communication strategy that they discovered many years ago:
Business Proposal Writing
It is not totally clear when some businesses lost interest in the business writing activities that surround the proposal process. One tentative conclusion is that expansion of the internet and related technologies caused some executives and marketing managers to go in new directions for developing business and proposals were simply left behind. Another theory is that corporate downsizing targeted specialized employees such as those whose primary mission was responding to Requests for Proposals (RFP).
Whatever the explanation, quality business writing has been in a steady decline for several decades. Without talented business writers, most attempts at preparing proposals are doomed to failure. This self-fulfilling prophecy is yet another reason to explain why business proposals have become virtually extinct in some quarters.
There are several different kinds of business proposals, and some companies will benefit by using every possible variation. For businesses wanting to stick their toe in the water to see whether they should jump in or not, the use of an unsolicited business proposal strategy is both prudent and cost-effective. This approach is diametrically-opposed to the RFP process mentioned earlier and will involve a delicate balance of high-quality business writing and business development skills. It is an ideal solution for small business owners who are willing to be aggressive, proactive, and creative.
Writing is the key to it all.
Many businesses have individuals who possess average to above-average sales skills but somehow the sales results keep slipping. In an explanation using some logic terminology, selling is what is referred to as a "necessary but not sufficient" condition for business success. In other words, sales abilities only go so far but often fall short of the mark. Could it be possible that effective and high-quality business writing is the key missing ingredient?
While everyone should indeed have a Plan B, writing effective business proposals should probably qualify as a Plan A in the great majority of everyday business life. Get it in writing.
Stephen Bush is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AEX Commercial Financing Group. Steve is a graduate of Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and obtained an M.B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to founding AEX, Steve served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps and as a business/government advisor. AEX Commercial Financing Group is based in Ohio and provides business consulting that focuses on (1) commercial lender negotiations on behalf of business owners; (2) practical solutions for avoidable business problems and risks; and (3) business communications with lenders and businesses throughout the United States and Canada.