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All businesses, large and small, new or established, struggle to write about themselves. Even companies that help market other companies have a tough time. When you’re a new enterprise starting from scratch, you have little to go on but a lot to say. Think of your company bio or profile as your answer to the question you’ll be asked a million times: “So, what does your company do?” Basically, you’ll tell your company’s story, but in a nutshell.
Gather Your Materials
You might think you have nothing written about your new company – but chances are – you do. If you wrote a business plan to obtain financing, then somewhere in your plan is a description of why you want to start this company, what it’s going to do, why it’s needed and how it’s different from others out there.
Or, maybe you’re the type who scribbles your ideas on a cocktail napkin or on the back of an envelope. No problem. Grab those, too, or recall what you wrote on them and then jot down those ideas on paper. Gather anything you’ve written about this company and put those words in front of you.
The Company’s Purpose and Difference
Now, make a list of everything your new company does, referring to your written materials, as needed. For now, though, don’t worry about the wording or the order of the list. Just write it all down. For example:
- We sell __, __ and ____. (If you sell many things, group them into categories, such as pottery and glassware.)
We sell to ______ . (If you have more than one target market, you may have several answers here.
* Our products are better than others because _____. (For example, they’re handmade, they’re sustainable, made locally, they use recycled materials, and so on.)
Re-read your list, but this time add truthful, descriptive, beneficial adjectives, elaborating on each thought. For example:
- We sell one-of-a-kind, handmade pottery and hand-painted glassware not usually found in local stores.
- We sell to selective, eco-conscious consumers who want unique, unusual pieces that are also earth-friendly and non-toxic.
The Company’s Story
Here’s where you get to tell your company’s unique story. After all, no other company has exactly the same story as yours. Begin by answering these questions:
- Who started the company?
- When was it started?
- Where was it started? (This is especially important, if the original location is different from the company’s current location.)
- Why was it started? What need was it filling? (For example, no one was offering these in quite this way, or no one was offering what ours do, or nobody else offered products made by hand, and so on.)
- How did the company get its name?
provide a story about something that happened during or before starting the company that was the catalyst for starting it, or describe a challenge that could have derailed the company but the founders overcame the challenge.
Mission, Vision and Future
What was the founder’s goal in starting the company? If you have a mission statement or something similar in your business plan, refer to that. Remember, though, that business plans are written for bankers, but people with varying backgrounds will be reading your company bio or profile. So, your company profile needs to have a more conversational tone, as if you are talking to your friend or your next-door neighbor, minus any jargon or slang. You might start with:
_Our vision in starting the company was to offer products that met our goals of __ and __, in the hope of. . ._ (For example, starting a trend that others could follow, or fulfilling the pressing need for such unique items, and so on.)
Then, talk about the future, without being too specific, because you want the bio or profile to be accurate for as long as possible, so that you don’t have to constantly edit it as your future goals are met and new goals are formed. For example:
“In the near future, we are poised to ____” (For example, add to our product line with items by national and even international artists that meet our standards for nontoxic, natural ingredients and processes — or whatever your future goals are, stated briefly.)
The Nitty-Gritty Details
Now, you need just a sentence or two about where the company is located – not the street address, but the town it operates from. Also, add a sentence about the company’s legal structure, such as sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or whatever the case may be. For example:
The store is based in downtown Hamletville, in the bustling artist’s quarter. It is owned by partners Avery Smith and Drew Connor, who originally met in design school and reunited years later, after both had managed other highly successful businesses.
Notice the descriptive adjectives “bustling” and “highly successful” as well as the descriptions that increase the reader’s interest. In two sentences, you learn that the business is in an exciting area, the owners are partners, they have a design background and they bring extensive, rewarding business experience to their new venture.
Put It All Together
Each section is a paragraph or section in your company bio or profile. Put these sections all together in a one-page document, separating each section with spacing. Now add subheads that describe each section and that draw the reader in. Looking at a long, one-page document is daunting and unappealing. But adding interesting subheads make the reader want to know more.
Polish the subheads so they sound like they belong together. One idea is to start each with a verb in the same tense. Another is to begin each with the same word, such a,s “Our Purpose,” “Our Mission,” “Our Story” and “Our Location.”
Now, go back and edit, edit, edit. Vary the structure so that every sentence doesn’t begin with “We.” Combine sentences where you can, without making them too long. Use a spell checker program that also checks for grammar. Then, give the bio to several other people whose opinions you trust, and ask them for feedback.