Welcome to the latest post in our step-by-step guides for business writers. In this post, we’ve included a step-by-step guide to write resolutions.
Corporate resolutions are legal documents used within business to indicate decisions by shareholders when they are made.
While fiction writers might never need one, corporate and legal writers are often asked to draft business revolutions for important actions.
Here’s what you should know about resolutions for business writers, and a step-by-step guide for how to write one.
The Basics Of Business Resolutions
What Is A Business Resolution?
A business resolution is a legal document used within corporate and business writing. Resolutions are needed when shareholders or owners make decisions.
In South Africa, the Companies Act (No 71 Of 2008) outlines the importance of such documentation. Similar laws exist in other countries, but writers should be careful of law variations when checking any examples online.
The information contained in a business resolution is valid from the signatory date. South African law does not specify how long the company has to action what was discussed in the resolution.
Who Writes One?
Resolutions are written by corporate writers. This might describe a writer internally, but can also describe corporate freelancers employed to handle a businesses’ paperwork.
Resolutions are also written by lawyers and legal secretaries. This is due to the sensitive nature of the information that might be contained in business resolutions.
A resolution can be used by self-employed or smaller companies, too. When corporate decisions are made, rely on a resolution as a record of what was decided.
When Are Business Resolutions Written?
A business resolution covers a decision that is to be voted on.
Usually, this decision gets discussed during a meeting before a resolution will get requested. A writer might have to rely on what was discussed during the meeting for this information.
Meetings have memoranda and minutes, but also the business resolution for any issues put to the board to vote.
A corporate resolution says either yes or no to this decision. It’s written before the decision gets enacted, and can act as approval from the board to either do something (or not).
Are There Different Types?
There are three main types of corporate resolutions a writer might have to deal with:
- Ordinary Resolutions
An ordinary resolution describes one that is passed with at least a 50% majority vote.
- Special Resolutions
A special resolution describes one that has been passed with at least a 75% majority vote.
- Unanimous Resolutions
A unanimous resolution has been passed with 100% vote.
Some sources add a fourth (Written Resolutions) to this list, that’s usually for any minor decisions that don’t require a full meeting.
Where Do I Find Business Resolution Writing Jobs?
Many resolutions are written internally by lawyers, legal secretaries, or internal copywriting agencies. Some companies also use freelance business writers.
If you’re a writer able to write business resolutions, you should look here:
- Online Job Boards (Search ‘Business Writer Jobs’)
- Word-Of-Mouth (From Corporate Clients)
- Cold Calling (By Pitching Businesses)
- Copy Agencies (Even As Freelancer)
What Do Corporate Resolutions Really Do?
Let’s get past the jargon. A corporate resolution is necessary when a company needs to make an important decision – and when people need to decide about this decision.
It’s valid for larger companies and smaller ones.
7 Step-By-Step Tips To Help You Write Business Resolutions
Have you been hired to write a resolution? Here’s what you can expect, and how to make sure you’re writing it well.
Step 1. First, Include The Basic Requirements
Remember to include the basics. Like any other legal document, there are requirements necessary for its legality.
For corporate resolutions, a writer wants to make sure they include:
- A descriptive enough title (Say, ‘Motion To Sell 99 Shares’)
- Details of the company
- The date and location of the appropriate meeting
- The outcome of the vote on the matter
- Signatories (Usually, the board)
Ask the company if any previous samples are available. This gives you, the writer, a better reference point for what the company wants to see.
Step 2. Consult With The Board
Writing any sort of corporate document (including resolutions) means a writer has to work together with the company, often the board. Work with them for an initial outline of the text.
Run all changes, decisions, and drafts past them to make sure you’re on the right track. Don’t call or contact every five minutes – no, corporate clients don’t have the patience or the time.
Step 3. Work According To An Assumed NDA
Even if you never signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), a professional writer always handles clients according to an assumed agreement.
Any corporate work you handle is never discussion for the dinner table. Never break this rule when working with any professional or business writing. It can cost you.
It counts for any messages, correspondence, phone calls, text messages, and actual writing.
Step 4. Now Outline
Once a writer has (1) the brief, (2) board consultations, and (3) extra resources like meeting minutes – it’s time to put something together.
Most resolutions are short, one to three-page documents that state only the necessary and obvious items related to the motion at hand. Nothing more, and nothing less.
Still, it always helps to outline a document using essential keywords. Then add your flesh in between. Skip outlining, and your writing job automatically takes longer.
Step 5. Start Writing & Mind Your Business (Language)
Once you’ve outlined, it’s time to start writing something.
Corporate resolutions should be written using professional business language. From the outline to the writing, it’s one of the most crucial things to keep in mind as a business writer.
The best way to do this is to keep your language formal and to-the-point.
Every extra sentence will become a nightmare for the next person who has to read this document – so keep it short.
Step 6. Remember To Be Clear & Specific
It’s a legal requirement for resolutions to be specific. State what is needed, and make sure that you stick only to this. There’s no need to include more info than what’s required – and it’s not the place to go off-topic.
Relevant documentation should also be amended to the resolution. You guessed it: It’s also a legal requirement.
Step 7. After Writing, Diagnose Any Mistakes
A writer shouldn’t just write.
It’s also your job to spot any possible discrepancies in the text. Double check details like the date, and let anyone know if something appears wrong or out of place.
It happens, and a writer can save a lot of time in the corporate space if they see something like this early.
For example, each member is allowed one vote. If you spot that someone managed to vote twice, that’s what you would call a discrepancy.
Step 7. The Last Legal Check
Documents like these require more than spell checking from the writer. A document like this also has to be checked for its legality. Simple mistakes can create huge administrative issues later.
It helps to compare it to examples of documents the company has already issued (ask for these where available). Sometimes, a writer will work alongside the company’s legal department for the last check.
From there, it’s submitted to approval for the board where edits might be requested.
What do you find helps your business writing process go smoothly?
The Last Word
By Alex J. Coyne. Alex is a writer, proofreader, and regular card player. His features about cards, bridge, and card playing have appeared in Great Bridge Links, Gifts for Card Players, Bridge Canada Magazine, and Caribbean Compass. Get in touch at alexcoyneofficial.com.
If you enjoyed this, read his other posts:
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