How To Write A Business Memo + PDF Template

Mary Cullen
Post by Mary Cullen
Originally published July 31, 2021, updated December 20, 2023
How To Write A Business Memo + PDF Template

A memo is a business document that communicates information internally in an organization. This article guides you through how to write a memo, the correct format, and how to close.

What is an Internal Memo?

The term "internal memo" is redundant since a memo (or memorandum) is always a document for internal communications. It's important to note that a business memo should not exceed two pages. 

Memo Format Spacing

Memos are often written on company letterhead. To start your memo drop down 1.5 inches from top of the letterhead and add the "To" field.

Sample Memo:

To: Name of Person and Title in Organization
From: Your Name Date: Month, Day, Year
Subject: Be very specific

(NOTE: There is no salutation greeting in a memo, as there is in a letter or email.)

I propose that we purchase or lease a van to serve as a mobile bookstore. We could use this van to generate sales in the outlying towns and villages throughout the state where our retail stores are not penetrating. (Direct and brief introduction which sums up the point of the memo succinctly.)

Rationale for Van (informative heading.)
We have been aware for some time that many small towns around the state do not have adequate bookstore facilities, but the economics of the situation are such that we would not be able to open a comprehensive branch and operate it profitably. However, we could afford to stock a van with books and operate it for a few days at a time in various small towns throughout the state. As you are probably aware, the laws of this state would permit us to acquire a statewide business license fairly easily and inexpensively. (Provides brief, but full, background and feasibility information to the reader.)

With the proper advance advertising, we should be able to generate much interest in this initiative. It seems to me that this idea has much merit because of the flexibility it offers us. For example, we could tailor the length of our stay to the size of the town and the amount of business generated. Also, we could customize our inventory to the needs and interests of the particular locales. (Additional persuasive information.)

Actions Request
The driver of the van would act as the salesperson, and we would, of course, have copies of our complete catalog so that mail orders could be taken as well. Please let me know your thoughts about this proposal. If you wish, I can explore the matter further and generate cost and sales estimates. (Clear closing statement that asks for specific action.)

Memo Format PDF Example

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab shares this downloadable PDF document. It provides another strong example of proper formatting.

Notice the format:

  • All text is justified to the left side of the page. None of the first paragraphs are indented. Business documents use justified left format, while academic format indents the first paragraph.
  • Text is single spaced between lines.
  • There is double spacing between paragraphs

How to End a Memo

Ending a memo typically involves a courteous and professional closing that summarizes the key points or actions, provides contact information if needed, and expresses appreciation or a call to action if relevant.

Notice that there is no closing signature in a memo, as there would be in a business email or business letter. 

The best ending for a memo is a clear closing action, stated in the last paragraph. And, be very clear about what you want your reader to know or do after reading the memo, which makes it easy for your reader to respond.

Memo vs. Letter vs. Email

  • A memo is a business document that communicates information internally in an organization.

  • A business letter communicates information outside of an organization.

  • Email is used both inside and outside an organization.

Take our Effective Business Writing Course to improve your writing for all business documents. This course includes individual feedback on assignments from an instructor. 

Memo FAQs

When do you need to write a memo?
A memo should be clear and concise in its purpose: to inform, bring attention to a problem, or answer a question. Using a business memorandum is also a great way to quickly keep everyone in your organization informed about important changes or events. It keeps lines of communication open between different departments and individuals who may not otherwise communicate frequently with one another.

What is the purpose of a memo?
A memo is an effective way for businesses and organizations to quickly communicate important information in a formal, efficient manner. It is typically used to re-iterate points laid out by higher-ups, provide updates on current strategies and goals, and introduce new projects or initiatives. Memos are an efficient form of communication since they can be sent to all members of an organization with one click. Additionally, memos make it easy for readers to quickly skim through the content due to its organized concise format.

How is a memo different from an email?
Employee memos can address problems related to employees' performance, outline new procedures or policies, or report on special events happening within the organization. They also provide a platform for managers and team leaders to give instructions and talk about important matters related to their departments.

On the other hand, emails are more suitable for sending day-to-day messages like reminders of upcoming tasks or notifications regarding upcoming meetings. They are also useful for personal conversations such as giving feedback, informing someone of new developments regarding projects they’re involved with, and responding to inquiries from clients. Emails hold value because it has features such as multimedia support meaning links, pictures, and video files can be included in emails making them useful for quickly sharing information with limited paperwork involved.

Mary Cullen
Post by Mary Cullen
Originally published July 31, 2021, updated December 20, 2023
Mary founded Instructional Solutions in 1998, and is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades of experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing. She excels at designing customized business writing training programs to maximize productivity, advance business objectives, and convey complex information. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island, an M.A. in English Literature from Boston College, and a C.A.G.S. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire.