As a business analyst in a fast growing car repair company that is multiplying its franchises year over year, Brandon Petersen is in a unique position as a business analyst at AutoBody Express out of Longview, Texas. I have come to know Brandon through friends and the interview with him helped me clarify how technical writing can be used in business. Brandon is responsible for most of the long technical documents for the company.
Most of the documents that Brandon writes as an analyst are passed on to the CEO and also the head of business development. A large portion of the writing done as an analyst, at least for Brandon, has been to scout locations for potential franchises and then formulate the information into a report that can be used by both the company and franchisees during the negotiation process. One of the current projects he is working on is the overhaul and rewriting of the company’s entire training manual. As the company grows, a more clear and concise training manual is need so that the company can keep the same quality in locations all over the country. Documents frequently worked on by analysts at the company include research on the process of obtaining licenses and legal clearance to become a franchise company and business in each state to make sure nothing goes wrong during the startup phase of the company.
Brandon told me that he has learned mostly from mistakes made by either coworkers or possibly even franchisees. The most important aspect of technical writing in the workplace is to check over what has been written. Brandon stated that he has seen countless examples of where someone has handed an important document to the CEO or a franchisee and embarrassment has ensued because the writer forgot to go over the document before handing it over.
One of the other areas Brandon touched on during our interview was the issue of clarity in the company’s technical writing. He believed that this was especially unique to being a part of a franchise company because of the amount of documents the company hands over to others. Handing over documents to state and local governments during the licensing processes. Brandon emphasized that these documents have to be one hundred percent correct or state officials can become frustrated with confusing phrases or misspellings. I tried to get Brandon to expand on any technology that would be unique to his company’s writing. However, he said most of the writing and communication is done through the computer due to the large amounts of research that has to be done before they can write any document. Also, another point Brandon made was making sure that you get your own thoughts expressed into a document or email so that the receiver can understand the feeling you are trying to convey. Brandon said that carelessness and lack of clarity had even cost them clients in the past. He makes it his own personal goal to make sure that an issue of that nature will never happen to the company again.
To end up our interview, Brandon wanted to emphasize to me that no matter what industry I ended up in, to make sure that I am able to communicate my thoughts clearly. Also, rereading over a document can save time, money, and jobs. Brandon believes that the most important part of technical writing is attention to detail.
Guest Blogger, Brett Bushnell