How to Write A Solid Small Business Bio

When I first started my career, I spent three years as the editor of my hometown newspaper. Unlike the trend you see with many smaller newspapers, ours did exceptionally well in advertising—and the bulk of our advertisers were small, local businesses.

I distinctly remember a particular ad from a local automotive company that had been in business for 70 years. They bought a full-page ad in one of our magazines and gave us a business biography that was so long that, even after editing, we had to squeeze it down to 7-point type (for the non-designers out there—that’s exceptionally small on a printed page). I understood the difficulty the business faced; the owners wanted to highlight their rich history, every milestone and accomplishment they’d earned over the past 70 years. But ultimately, the bio they used made for ineffective copy because so few people have the time or inclination to read a history lesson. I feel certain the ad was completely overlooked, which misses the point in why you advertise in the first place.

Every word you publish about your business—on websites, in advertising, or anywhere else you might include your business bio—is important. Here are a few rules for making your business bio the most effective it can be.

1. Tell them what you do.

You’d be surprised how many businesses forget to explain what their business is. A business bio should be similar to your “elevator pitch”—what you’d say to a stranger in the span of a short elevator ride if the stranger asked you what you do. 

2. Know your angle.

What makes your business different from other similar businesses? In essence—why should a customer choose to shop with you over the other guys? If it’s because three generations of family members have run this business, include it. Did you work for a major tech company before deciding to start your own tech business? Make sure people know. Highlight the ways you’re an expert in your field, how your business is unique, and how your potential customers could relate to you.

3. Edit yourself.

To borrow a phrase from Strunk & White, authors of The Elements of Style, “Vigorous writing is concise.” To use the automotive company example above: is it important for potential customers to know that in 1963, the company was briefly run by your mother’s first cousin’s brother-in-law? (Answer: probably not.) If you’re not sure what’s important and what isn’t, it’s OK to write everything down you’d like to include and then go back and remove things later.

4. Write three versions.

You’ll need a full bio—perhaps 200 words, or 2-4 paragraphs—for your website’s About Us page. The second version should be abbreviated—perhaps 3-5 sentences—to be attached to your profile or to be used to introduce you if you speak at an event. The third version should be a single sentence, for use on social media sites.

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Going through these steps to write your bio should allow you to hone your business’s branding message. And if you’re struggling with the best way to portray yourself, Let’s Go Studio is ready to step in to answer all of your branding and website questions.