Your company profile. Its story. Its ‘one pager’.
For such a short piece of text, writing it sure feels like a tall order.
Don’t worry, we’ve got a step-by-step guide to writing a company profile. But first…
Take a deep breath.
You’ve got this.
What is a company profile?
A company profile is a short introduction to your company. Like a biography, but for a business. It sets out some or all of the below:
- Vision and mission
- Goals and purpose
- ‘About us’ – including history
- Your senior leaders’ biographies
The connection, or familiarity, that this page creates can be the foundation of the relationship you build with the reader. The more they understand, like and feel aligned to your mission, the more they’ll want to partner with you, hire you or be hired by you.
Before you write your company profile
First, follow these steps to prepare yourself for the writing process.
Gather your materials
Get a hold of everything that talks about your company (if you’re new, dig through your notes or initial messages explaining it to your friends, family and stakeholders). Things like your brand guidelines, tone of voice, existing profile, your vision and mission statements. Even any news items that others have written about you can be helpful.
Do you have a rock-solid Value Proposition? If not, do that – now!
Analyse current sentiment
Use the prompts in Emotional Dashboard to help you understand how people feel about your business now. You can try answering the questions from different perspectives or – better yet – actually ask people for their input! Employees, customers, suppliers, whoever will help.
Then consider what the existing materials you gathered say about you. Do they use words like ‘fun’ or ‘exciting’, but fail to back that up with anything resembling actual fun?
And finally, consider whether what people and your materials say about you are the same as what you actually want people to think when they hear your company name.
If not – that’s fine! Just write down where the disconnect is. For example, perhaps your materials are playful and you want to be seen that way, but people don’t yet have that opinion of you. Or maybe you’re just starting out, so you want to go from an unheard-of newcomer to trusted advisor. This disconnect tells you which feeling you want to put at the forefront of your profile (in these examples that’s fun or playfulness, and trust, respectively).
This feeling is your North star. It’s what guides you as you write your company profile. Try to think of different ways to encourage that feeling, for example:
- Showcase reliability via number of repeat customers, years in business or percent of 4.5-star or higher reviews.
- Highlight sustainability with credentials like trees grown, carbon emission reductions, renewable energy produced.
- Demonstrate quality by going into detail about how and why you select each element of your product, and how that compares to the general market approach.
Work out your audience
Have a think about who’s going to see this profile. And don’t cop out with “Everyone we interact with”. Think about every place your company profile will appear. Will you submit it when seeking investment or grants? Will people who want to work for you search for it? The list can include:
- Current customers/clients
- Potential customers/clients
- Candidates for new roles
You should have a different version for different platforms, but the heart of it will be the same. Now check that your ‘North star’ feeling works for your key audiences. Don’t be too restrictive here – even investors and partners can respect a playful tone if it’s right for your business.
Then spend time seeing how your competitors, or businesses you aspire to be like, have tackled their company profiles, too. What are you up against? Take special note of any that use stories! That’s the technique we’ll be using – stories are far more memorable than words or numbers without a narrative.
How to write your company profile
You’ve got your North star and you know your audience. Your brand guidelines and tone of voice are front of mind. You’ve checked out your competitors. Now, it’s time.
This is a bit different to many of the other sets of instructions you’ll find out there. Give it a go.
Lead with your Value Proposition. This can be a statement above the body of your ‘about us’ – it’s a succinct statement that conveys the most important information, so if someone only reads the first thing on your whole page… make it that!
- Decide on the story – you can choose a Story Recipe card to help you with this.
- Open with a Story Hook.
- Describe your product or service, but focus on Social Proof about the impact it has, or your overarching vision and how they help you achieve it.
- Introduce your values, if you have them – bounce off of the wording in your social proof if appropriate. For example, “That’s why our customers call us ‘life changing’”.
- Build in the details about your company that you’ve not yet mentioned (mission, backstory etc).
- Add a call to action (not too salesy!).
- Check it all still heads in the direction of your North star.
- Check it works as a mini mental movie as described in Movie Time.
- Share it internally, revise it (and repeat until it’s perfect).
If you find people tweak it to better suit their own personal use, hold onto the most generic version for your ‘Master’ copy and suggest that people edit that for their own use once it’s signed off.
Examples of great company bios
Check out some of these company bios that tick some (or all) of the above boxes, or manage to carve their own awesome approach.
- Shell on Earth (sustainable landscaping product); featuring their unique ‘family business’ story and an intro to the team. The story includes a strong theme of sustainability, which is very compelling, and the video and striking photography create a high-impact page.
- Waggel (pet insurance); features their mission and values, creates a feeling of shared experience (love of dogs), tells the Founders’ personal stories before offering you the option to get a quote or join the community.
- ClickUp (productivity app); starts with a video, moves onto their mission, core values, a timeline and virtual awards cabinet to show off their achievements so far. It doesn’t rely on a narrative ‘story’, but the video and timeline incorporate some key storytelling elements.
- Fempower Beauty (ethical beauty products); laser-focus on the things that make them different from other beauty businesses and the founders’ stories, unique values and social proof (as well as striking images of their products in use) create a stand-out page when compared with similar businesses. The discount code with the call to action doesn’t hurt, either!