Are you prepared to lose business because you don’t have an up-to-date business continuity plan for your customers?

A few months back before the lockdown, if you asked a company for their business continuity plan you may have received any of these typical replies:

  • I’m too busy to do that
  • What’s a business continuity plan?
  • We have a disaster management plan
  • What do we need that for?
  • We’ve got a strategic plan
  • Health and safety handles crisis management
  • Supply chain can handle this

Business continuity management has been a hard sell under these misconceptions.

For most managers the possibility of business interruption was something foreign. Yes, they knew about disruption from strikes but that was something that they had learned to deal with and manage.

Then came the big business disruption where all businesses had to close because of the lockdown.

Now as businesses run on half throttle as they cope with COVID requirements, companies are requiring business continuity plans from their suppliers. (Remember that most companies are suppliers themselves to some customer no matter the size of the company.)

Companies are concerned that their suppliers will be able to continue to supply them and have proper systems in place to manage the impacts of Covid-19 and other forms of business disruption.

Let’s clear up one misconception among managers, a strategic plan is not a business continuity plan. The strategic plan directs the purpose of the business (whatever the purpose the ultimate goal is to its ability and capacity to make profit) while a business continuity plan minimizes the risk of business disruption.

Another misconception is that a Disaster Recovery plan is a business continuity plan. The DR plan details how to restore infrastructure and operations after a crisis (and is one part of a complete business continuity plan).

If you’ve never had a business continuity plan or your plan was updated a long time ago, now is the time to develop and plan update it. Before you lose business because customers perceive your company as having too much inherent risk (internal and external).

A business continuity plan can better equip your company to reduce the impact of a business disruption and return to operations faster than would be the case without business continuity management.

Chesney Bradshaw is an experienced internationally certified and registered ISO 22301 business continuity implementer and auditor able to advise on:

Business continuity management
Business continuity implementation
Business continuity auditing
Business continuity pre-audits
Business continuity simulation
Business continuity testing
He has PECB ( certification body for persons, management systems, and products) certifications:

ISO 22301 Lead Implementer

ISO 22301 Lead Auditor

Effective Business Writing – online writing skills course that helps you achieve results faster

Designed for business people, the online course “Better Business Writing” has detailed lessons on writing methods, combined with hands-on exercises, that improve the writing skills required in today’s business world.

The course covers creating emails, business letters, reports and proposals and includes social media messages, texting and direct messages.

The course helps business people write in the transition to virtual offices and work-from-home situations and e-communications.

Important in the new world of communications is conciseness, getting and holding the reader’s attention and writing accurately as many organisations have fallen foul of the law because of mistakes.

The course also teaches multicultural sensitivity in writing such as age, gender, culture, generational group and LGBTQ+ for potential pitfalls when communicating with colleagues, customers, suppliers and officials.

The course is founded on real business problems and offers practical working solutions.

The Better Business Writing course is available on Teachable.com. The course aims to help business people improve their writing to handle today’s fast-paced digital communications in an era of low attention spans. It covers business writing in six easy lessons:

Lesson one – The writing process
Lesson two – Organising your thoughts
Lesson three – Beginnings: Getting and holding your reader’s attention
Lesson four – Closing: finish strong
Lesson five – Style (and tone) to suit different situations
Lesson six – Writing with power: self-editing

https://business-writing-academy.teachable.com/

Chesney Bradshaw has more than 30 years business experience in commerce and industry including business writing, producing magazines, writing coaching, corporate communications and sustainability management. He is author of the books “Better Business Writing Guide” and “Breakthrough Ideas”. He also mentors and coaches business people in communications and business writing with confidence and less frustration through quick practical tips and examples from his years of business experience.

Business writing tip – learn about subordinate clauses from a beer can

Are you one of those people who read the label on the back of your beer?

Well, if you are, then there could be a business writing lesson in it for you.

Over the weekend I looked at the back of my beer and read the following:

“Dubbed the “Oscars of the brewing industry” Castle Lager celebrates the recognition of Master Brewers worldwide that rewarded our legacy of brewing excellence with the “World’s Best Bottled Lager” in 2000.

This closely guarded secret home grown recipe has been passed down over the last 12 decades and today our perfectly balanced; thirst quenching brew is still enjoyed across the African continent.”

There are several business writing lessons in these few words but we will only look at the subordinate clause in the first sentence.

Merriam Webster defines a subordinate clause as “a clause that does not form a simple sentence by itself and that is connected to the main clause of a sentence”.

In the first sentence the subordinate or subsidiary clause is “Dubbed the “Oscars of the brewing industry”‘. Before we understand what is trying to be said here, we have to keep seven words in our mind and then find out that master brewers recognise the beer worldwide.

Wouldn’t it be more clear if a comma was placed after “Dubbed the “Oscars of the brewing industry”? Then the sentence would read as follows:

Dubbed the “Oscars of the brewing industry”, Castle Lager celebrates the recognition of Master Brewers worldwide that rewarded our legacy of brewing excellence with the “World’s Best Bottled Lager” in 2000.

This, by the way, is still what is called an over-loaded sentence. Let’s take the part of the sentence with the most important thought (the beer receiving an award) and give it prominence.

Castle Lager’s legacy of brewing excellence was recognised in 2000 by Master Brewers worldwide with the honour of the “World’s Best Bottled Lager”. The awards are dubbed the ‘Oscars of the brewing industry’.”

What you do think? Is this more readily understandable?

Enough for one day. We will have a look at some of the other faulty areas next time.

For a hint of other lessons, take a look at the second sentence where a semi colon has been inserted for punctuation.

The Better Business Writing Course has a short lesson on self-editing that will enable you to quickly grasp basic self-editing tips and techniques so that your writing is clear and effective.

For more information contact Chesney Bradshaw at businesswritingacademy@tiscali.co.za or 0832697304.

Chesney Bradshaw has more than 30 years business experience in commerce and industry including business writing, producing magazines, writing coaching, corporate communications and sustainability management. His course Better Business Writing can be found at https://business-writing-academy.teachable.com/

Business writing tip – Can you just wing it all the time with your business writing?

Quickly writing an email and pressing the send button is writing without pre-thought. The same goes for responding to emails and other correspondence.

But how much pre-thinking is required in business writing?

Let’s put it this way, if you don’t prepare you will more often than not miss your objective in your work or business.

Business writing follows a distinct process from preparation to final draft whether you are planning emails, business letters or short reports.

Each step in the writing process gives you an opportunity to make your message clear so that it can be easily understood and to increase its impact.

The Better Business Writing course, introduced by the Business Writing Academy, and now available on Teachable.com, shows you in a short lesson how to go about planning your business writing.

The course aims to help business people improve their writing in today’s fast-paced digital communications with low attention spans.

For more information contact Chesney Bradshaw at businesswritingacademy@tiscali.co.za or 0832697304

Website: ideaaccelerator.co.za

https://business-writing-academy.teachable.com/

Chesney Bradshaw has more than 30 years business experience in commerce and industry including business writing, producing magazines, writing coaching, corporate communications and sustainability management.

Better Business Writing Course now available on Teachable

The Better Business Writing course, introduced by the Business Writing Academy, is now available on Teachable.com. The course aims to help business people improve their writing to handle today’s fast-paced digital communications in an era of low attention spans.

The Better Business Writing Course assists business people who struggle with emails, business letters and reports to write clearly and effectively.

The course, comprising six online lessons, takes business people through the fundamentals of business writing, including structuring emails, business letters and reports, getting and holding the reader’s attention, openings and closings, style (and tone) to suit different situations and writing with power.

“Good business writing is a valuable skill,” says Chesney Bradshaw, founder of the Business Writing Academy. “Writing has become more important in business with the growth of digital communications. Business writing is essential for getting things done, persuading colleagues and customers and reaching important agreements. Not being able to write well significantly limits your chances for success in business.”

The course is designed for the business person who is pressed for time. Lessons are short, giving the essentials, and each is accompanied by a brief practical writing exercise that will help business people in the workplace or in their business. Generous support is available for students.

“Once completed, the lessons can be put into practice right away,” says Bradshaw. “Students who have taken the course have reported an immediate and significant improvement in their business writing.

For more information contact Chesney Bradshaw at businesswritingacademy@tiscali.co.za or 0832697304

Website: ideaaccelerator.co.za

https://business-writing-academy.teachable.com/

Chesney Bradshaw has more than 30 years business experience in commerce and industry including business writing, producing magazines, writing coaching, corporate communications and sustainability management.

New online business writing course for today’s fast-paced digital communications and low attention spans

For immediate release – Johannesburg, South Africa, 22 June 2020

New online business writing course for today’s fast-paced digital communications

A new online business writing course has been introduced by the Business Writing Academy that aims to help business people improve their writing to handle today’s fast-paced digital communications in an era of low attention spans.

The Better Business Writing Course assists business people who struggle with emails, business letters and reports to write clearly and effectively.

The course, comprising six online lessons, takes business people through the fundamentals of business writing, including structuring emails, business letters and reports, getting and holding the reader’s attention, openings and closings, style (and tone) to suit different situations and writing with power.

“Good business writing is a valuable skill,” says Chesney Bradshaw, founder of the Business Writing Academy. “Writing has become more important in business with the growth of digital communications. Business writing is essential for getting things done, persuading colleagues and customers and reaching important agreements. Not being able to write well significantly limits your chances for success in business.”

The course is designed for the business person who is pressed for time. Lessons are short, giving the essentials, and each is accompanied by a brief practical writing exercise that will help business people in the workplace or in their business. Generous support is available for students.

“Once completed, the lessons can be put into practice right away,” says Bradshaw. “Students who have taken the course have reported an immediate and significant improvement in their business writing.

For more information contact Chesney Bradshaw at businesswritingacademy@tiscali.co.za or 0832697304

Website: ideaaccelerator.co.za

Chesney Bradshaw has more than 30 years business experience in commerce and industry including business writing, producing magazines, writing coaching, corporate communications and sustainability management.

Business writing tip – how to avoid writing long-winded emails and letters

A long-winded email, business letter or report is going to most likely be ignored or simply end up in the bin.

How often do you receive long emails that go on and on and make little sense?

If the writer had taken time to summarise her or his points the email or letter would be easy and quick to read.

Shorter is of course not always better. Sometimes it’s necessary to expand on some points so that the reader will have a clear understanding of what the business person wants to get across.

Many businesspeople experience difficulty writing short and concise emails, business letters and reports (eg. progress and project reports).

Business writing presents all sorts of difficulties and complications and especially keeping correspondence to a length that is appropriate to the subject.

All this may sound very daunting but do not despair, the problem of length in business writing can be solved.

You don’t have to learn how to precis those wickedly difficult three passages (especially “The Functions of a Cabinet”) in Usage and Abusage by Eric Partridge but you may need to know something about precis by recast and precis by reduction.

You know how hard it is to write clearly in your emails and writing the wrong thing can upset colleagues and customers. I teach businesspeople to write with confidence and less frustration through quick practical tips and examples from my years of business experience.

If you want to learn how to write clearly so that you can get things done in business, persuade colleagues and customers and reach important agreements, then consider the Better Business Writing Course from the Business Writing Academy.

Business writing tip – writing clearly (how to write to be understood)

How often have you read an email or business letter and wondered what the writer is trying to say?

In this introductory sentence the writer says the following:

Perhaps you are not interested, or are worried there might be a catch (there are no free lunches, right?), but we are genuinely trying to do our bit by offering some of our capability, through a structured, 90-minute consultation session.

In this real example the writer is unclear about what she or he wants from the reader. It is unclear what “trying to do our bit” is all about. But, most importantly, what is the 90-minute consultation session? Even in the body of the email, nothing is clearly explained about what the consultation session is about. All one can gather is that it concerns “de-risking” (what a word!) a business.

This is one of many examples on unclear writing that businesspeople receive and send out every business day.

One research study found that managers spend more than 20 percent of their time writing business letters, memos and reports. The study also pointed out that the consequences of unclear or confusing written communication are costly errors, reduced productivity, lost business and lower morale. Unclear writing therefore has a direct impact on profits.

If you want to learn how to write clearly so that you can get things done in business, persuade colleagues and customers and reach important agreements, then consider the Better Business Writing Course from the Business Writing Academy.

You know how hard it is to write clearly in your emails and writing the wrong thing can upset colleagues and customers. I teach businesspeople to write with confidence and less frustration through quick practical tips and examples from my years of business experience.

As a parting thought consider that being unclear can, of course, be used for humorous effect. The great American comedian Groucho” Marx did so here:

“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.”

We find it funny because Groucho is deliberately being unclear. Did he shoot an elephant while wearing pajamas? Or did he shoot an elephant that somehow got into his pajamas?

Do you write email openings like this?

Email and business letters should be written to turn on colleagues, customers and suppliers rather than turn them off. How often do you receive emails from colleagues, suppliers and customers with first sentences like this (real examples some from big recognised companies, just the business names withheld):

  • We specialise in the field of manufacturing of industrial generators, supplying a wide variety of UPS solutions as well as industrial renewable energy solutions. 
  • This online training course will utilize a variety of proven online learning techniques to ensure maximum understanding, comprehension, retention of the information presented.
  • If you haven’t had time to poke around the content on our blog and social media, you might have missed out on a little series we call What’s the Score.
  • A pandemic of this magnitude is likely to lead to feelings of fear, anger, anxiety and confusion. But when we expect things to get better soon, we lose energy and hope when the situation doesn’t change quickly enough.
  • In any commercial kitchen Stainless Steel Tables and Sinks are a must!
  • Our 4% offer is promotional and fixed for duration of the loan amount you wish to take up with us.
  • In an ever-changing world where “normal” is redefined, (ABC car tyre company) is challenging expectations to bring you the best in service excellence, delivered straight to your door! 
  • I think we can all agree that 2019 was challenging for us and I know 2020 is going to be no different.
  • Kindly have a look and see if it’s something worth attending for you and your team.

The opening sentence of your email or business letter is important because it will determine whether it gets read.

More importantly, business people must write with an objective to get things done or seek agreement to decisions.

Your opening sentence can result in your email or business letter being ignored, filed away or worst of all simply deleted.

In these economic times and with communication at digital speed, can you afford to carry on in the same old way, trotting out well worn openings that put your readers to sleep or leave them frustrated?

You know how hard it is to get attention with your emails and writing the wrong thing can upset colleagues and customers? I teach business people to write with confidence and less frustration through quick practical tips and examples from my years of business experience.

How to overcome the fear of business writing

Many people in business suffer from fear of writing:

  • I’m not very good at this
  • I can’t express something clearly, powerfully or effectively in email
  • I’m insecure of my writing style and my grammar
  • Writing well means obeying the rules
  • I fear no one will read my words
  • I won’t sound businesslike or professional
  • I fear coming across as long-winded and pedantic
  • I will receive a negative reaction from my colleague or customer
  • I get nervous and start making mistakes although I know grammar rules
  • Office politics means I have to tread carefully
  • What I’m writing isn’t very good
  • I’m bad at using transition words and providing an active voice to my message

You know how hard it is to get attention with your emails and writing the wrong thing can upset colleagues and customers? I teach business people to write with confidence and less frustration through quick practical tips and examples from my years of business experience.

Business writing is one of the top three skills that hiring managers look for. Poor writing skills on the job can hurt relationships among bosses and colleagues, lose valuable customers, result in costly errors and damage your reputation and that of your company. Don’t wait until you’re shown the door before you do something about your business writing skills.