What is a Business Letter?
A business letter is a letter from one company to another. The letter can be between organizations/companies and their customers, clients, and other third parties too. The overall format of a business letter depends on the relationship that is parties considered have. The content of a business letter can vary depending on its purpose. Some of the reasons for drafting a business letter can be to request direct information or action from an organization or a third party, to place an order from supplier(s), to point out a mistake/misunderstanding by the letter’s recipient, to acknowledge acceptance or reply to a letter from another party, to apologize for a mistake on our part, or to just convey a sense of goodwill.
In some cases, the business letter plays a greater purpose and it serves as a permanent written proof. Hence, it is taken more seriously by the recipient than other mediums of communication such as verbal communication.
Who Writes a Business Letters?
The business letters are normally shared by people working in some kind of business or they are shared between large organizations and companies. If you are in a business trade, then you must have seen innumerable business letters flowing down your way. There are some businesses that deal with such letters on a daily basis. The person/organization that drafts the letter is called a sender whereas the person/organization that receives the letter is known as a recipient. Few examples of sender and recipient are:
- Sender – Business person, Recipient – Consumers
- Sender – Citizen, Recipient – Government Official or Organization
- Sender – Job Applicant, Recipient – Organization or Company
- Sender – Staff Members, Recipient – Other staff members within the same company
- Sender – Employer, Recipient – One or more employees
- Sender – Business person, Recipient – Another business person
What are the reasons to write a Business Letter?
The reasons for writing a business letter can vary depending on the type of occupation/business that the sender and receiver are involved in and the type of situation that has compelled the sender to write the letter. We list some of the major reasons for your perusal:
- The purpose of the business letter can be to encourage the receiver. This can happen when you have a commendable employee in your organization and you want to show gratitude for his/her work in the organization. This can also give a boost to other employees working in your organization.
- The letter can be written to offer information to the recipient. In cases where you have placed a bulk order with some supplier and want to provide specific details on the product requirement to the supplier.
- The letter can also be used to place a request to the recipient. For example: Let’s say the Research department in your organization is in dire need of funds for a project they are working on that will enable your organization to save tons of money. They can write a business letter and send it to the Director or Finance department requesting for funds and listing down the problems they are facing and the advantages of the project’s completion.
- The letter can be used to show gratitude to another organization that has helped you in your endeavor.
- The letter can be written to send a reminder to the recipient. Let’s say you have requested for an order to be delivered in a few days and you would just like to send a reminder and see if the order is in processing.
- The letter can also be used to send recommendations. Let’s consider your organization is opening up a new department and is taking recommended people from other departments. You, as a boss, can write a business letter recommending deserving people from your department.
- The letter can also be used as a medium to apologize. For example: You are a supplier and you made a mistake with a certain order or you won’t be able to deliver on time. You can use the business letter to apologize for the same with a confirmation to correct the mistake.
- The letter can be used to congratulate another party. If a partner organization of yours has received an award or cracked an enormous deal, then you can show your good faith by sending them out a business letter.
- The letter can depict a formal decision taken by you or your organization. Let’s say as the CEO of a big company, you rolled out a new process beneficial to your employees, then describing the same through a business letter is really important.
- Announcements can be made via business letters. Big business announcements or company policy change announcement can be made via business letters.
- The business letter can also be written as a way of extending the invitation to another party. It can be for a business event or a casual party.
- It can be written to reject a proposal from a third party or just make changes to an existing proposal.
What should be the format of a Business Letter?
The basic things that a business letter include are date, salutation, the body of the letter, closing statement, signature, enclosure lists (if any) etc. Let’s deep dive into the format to better understand it:
Whenever you are writing a business letter, you should never write the date in the form of an abbreviation. It should be written in a full form, for example 31st March 2016. The date should be placed two or three lines above the recipient’s address.
2. Name and address of a recipient
- Name: After the date, the next thing is the name of the recipient.
- Designation: After the name, add the designation if known.
- Address: The next thing you need to jot down is their address.
The next thing that you need to include the Name and Address of the recipient is the Salutation. Now, the salutation depends on the kind of relationship that the sender and receiver possess. You would have to decide how much you know the person that you are writing the letter to. Depending on the answer, you can choose your salutation. If you writing the letter from a business point of view, then do keep in mind to maintain a tone of formality. Always remember that the salutation gives an impression about you to your recipient. It determines the amount of respect you have for the recipient. We provide a few examples of salutation that you can utilize in your letter:
- Dear sir or madam
- Recipient title and last name
- Recipient first name
- Whole name of a recipient
In case you have an informal relationship with the receiver, then you can just write the salutation as his/her first name.
What should be the contents of the body of the Business Letter?
The content to be included in the body of a business letter depends wholly on the purpose it serves. But there are certain tips that are required to be followed. Firstly, always try to be concise in your writings. Keep the paragraphs concise and do not keep throwing jargons or repeating the same thing again and again. The next important thing to be taken care of while conveying your message is to make use of the right kind of tone. Be real professional if you are engaged in a new business deal. In case, you have been in communication with the recipient for years, then you can tone it down a bit from being professional. Also, avoid lengthy sentences. It’s difficult to comprehend a lengthy sentence.The letter should be written straight to the point, without beating around the bush. The motive for writing the letter should be clear enough for the recipient. This also gives an impression of clarity of the things that you have and compels the recipient to show a sign of respect.
If the letter is based on business communication, set your tone to be friendly but at the same time helpful. Summarize the points that you have made through the letter in the last paragraph of the body. Also mention your expectations so that the recipient is clear on what you expect from his/her end. You can also write details on what you believe should be the planned course of actions. Also, never forget to show your gratitude and respect towards the recipient for taking the time out of his/her busy lives to read your letter and comply with our suggestions or demands.
What is an ideal respectful closing?
Just like the salutation provides a first impression of the sender, the closing depicts the last impression. And we know how much both matters! The closing of the business letter should be as respectful as its opening, just like the salutation. Never delimit the respectful tone and even it out across the entire letter.The closing should reflect the kind of relationship you have with the recipient or the kind of relationship that you wish to establish with the recipient. We provide you with few closing examples for you business letter:
- Sincerely, Regards, Yours Truly, and Yours Sincerely – These are the widely used letter closing in a formal business setting. These are appropriate in almost all situations and instances and are excellent ways to close your invitation, enquiry, rejection, or recommendation business letter.
- Best Regards, Cordially, and Yours Respectfully – These letter closings can be used in an instance when you are required to depict something slightly more personal. They are best to be used when you have some personal knowledge of the recipient to whom you are sending the letter. This might be the case when you have been working with the person for a long amount of time and have corresponded via email, had face-to-face or phone discussions, or met at numerous business events.
- Warm Regards, Best Wishes, and With Appreciation – These letter closings can be used in an instance when you have some personal knowledge of the recipient to whom you are sending the letter. These letter closings relate back to the content of the letter and they have the ability to give closure to the point of the letter. Only use these if they are in compliance with the content of the business letter.
We also provide a list of letter closings that you can incorporate in your letter:
- Cordially yours,
- Fond regards,
- In appreciation,
- In sympathy,
- Kind regards,
- Kind thanks,
- Kind wishes,
- Many thanks,
- Respectfully yours,
- Sincerely yours,
- Thank you,
- Thank you for your assistance in this matter,
- Thank you for your consideration,
- Thank you for your recommendation,
- Thank you for your time,
- Warm regards,
- Warm wishes,
- With appreciation,
- With deepest sympathy,
- With gratitude,
- With sincere thanks,
- With sympathy,
- Your help is greatly appreciated,
- Yours cordially,
- Yours faithfully,
- Yours sincerely,
- Yours truly,
You should leave at least 3 to 4 lines after the closing to add your signature now.
Add your name, title, telephone number and email address and your home/work address (if any). The signature (your name signature) should always be done in a blue or black ink.
How should you include Enclosures?
Business letters often require enclosures. Enclosures are the additional pages that are not part of the letter but are required to be attached along with the letter in order for the reference of the recipient. The contain information that is being referred to in the body of the letter. Business letters use formal language and block format (or single spaced) with no indents. If you wish to include Enclosures in your letter, then write “Enclosures”, followed by a colon. Prepare a note for the receiver to inform him about the things to look for in the enclosed envelope. Keep few lines below your contact information and add the enclosures information.
What are the objectives of a Business Letter?
Last but not the least, let’s look into the main objectives of writing a business letter:
- Building goodwill among fellow businessmen and organizations
- Widening areas of business operation
- Exchanging business information
- Having an authoritative proof
- Maintaining records and references
Tips and Tricks:
- Make an introductory paragraph introducing yourself or your Company.
- Give the reason for writing a business letter clearly.
- Write the letter with a serious tone and in a very formal way.
- Give salutation if required.
- Make it short and precise.
- Do not make errors. It can create a wrong impression on the reader.
- Make an appropriate and respectful closing of the letter.
- You can also enclose any related documents to your business letter.
Types of Business Letters:
- Employment Letter
- Business Letter to Strengthen Relationship with Client
- Business Letter Related to Purchase of Software
- Business Letter Related to Pending Payment
- Business Letter Related to the Launch of a New Product
- Business Appreciation Letter
- Business Recommendation Letter
- Business Welcome Letter
- Business Introduction Letter
- Business Event Invitation Letter
- Business Apology Letter
- Business Closing Letter