Financially Responsible Marketing

How to Write a Company Description

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015

Why is it so difficult to write a company description? One or two paragraphs, accurate and engaging, that tell investors who you are and what you do?

If you’ve been assigned to the task, you already know it’s a challenge.

writing a company profile

Let’s start with the critical requirements

You want your company description to:

  1. Be a snapshot of your business: who it serves, how it operates, what sets it apart.
  2. Demonstrate that you know your business and why it will be successful.
  3. Spark interest from investors.

Two examples (these and later examples are fictional)

123 Capital Fund is a leading provider of growth capital to American middle-market companies. We provide structured equity as well as term loans to exceptional enterprises with strong leadership teams and strong cash flow. 123’s management team has been successful in the alternative credit industry since 2001, generating an average gross IRR in excess of 14% to our investors.

XYZ Company Inc. is a diversified mining company with stable management and an excellent potential for growth. XYZ engages in the exploration and development of gold and silver in the Humbart Mining District of Nevada, USA and in the production of industrial minerals in Saskatchewan, Canada. Our proven investment philosophy is based on sourcing low-risk, high-reward mineral assets in areas of anomalous geology with limited geo-political risks.

1. Be a snapshot of your business

Start by answering these 5 questions:

  1. Who are our target customers?
  2. What products and/or services do we provide?
  3. What problem do we solve for our customers?
  4. Where do we operate?
  5. What sets us apart? How are we different from the competition?

For the last answer, you do not need to wrack your brain trying to find one unique characteristic that sets you apart (e.g. “We have developed and patented an quick, inexpensive method of turning marshmallows into gold”). Most businesses set themselves apart by a combination of factors: “We are an integrated group of senior financial managers, offering seasoned money management to high-wealth Torontonians who do not want to go downtown to visit their investment advisors.” Here’s another about a company that does what many, many other companies do – but sets itself apart by doing it more successfully: “For over 50 years, Walmart has been helping people save money so they can live better.”

ACTION: Take the information you have from the answers above, and pull it into a paragraph or two. As an additional help step, you may want to quickly create a brand positioning statement, by following this classic recipe:

For a) target audience, b) business name is the c) frame of reference; type of business that delivers d) benefit/point of difference because only e) brand name is f) reason to believe.

Example: For a) shoe fashionistas, only b) Louboutin c) manufactures the female fashion footwear that delivers the d) height, red soles, and beauty they crave. The red soles are so sought-after that e) the company f) has an entire division dedicated to finding knockoffs.

2. Demonstrate that you know your business and why it will be successful.

Reflect for a minute. Think about what tends to excite people when you tell them about your business. And what gets you fired up? Is it the contacts you have in the industry, the particular real estate you have acquired, the success rate of your investments, the experience of your leadership team?

ACTION: Collect your thoughts into a sentence or two. Now look back at the 1-2 paragraphs your already wrote.  Is the idea in the sentence you just wrote included? If not, add it in.

3. Spark interest from investors

By now, what you have written should already include something that will interest investors. However, you may have focused only on what interests you, rather than what would interest someone who is going to invest in your business in order to make a profit. Think to yourself: why would a hard-headed investor, who has heard many pitches, be interested in my company? What are the barriers to entry in our business? What makes us likely to generate solid, consistent returns?

ACTION: Look back at what you have already. Is this idea there? If not, add it in.

Pulling it together: more is less

Now, pare it down. Make sure it includes at least one short strong sentence. Readers love them.

It’s not just that your message will be more compelling when it’s concise. It’s also that, as you work to make it more concise, you begin to see what is important, what needs to be stated clearly and strongly. In the process of editing it, you will identify and articulate your message more clearly.

Nothing – nothing nothing nothing! – will improve your company description more than paring it down. More is less! Aim for just enough to entice, not enough to overwhelm.

 

For your reference: two more examples of company descriptions

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A Global Consulting Firm helps organizations achieve their goals. We use technology to improve our clients’ productivity and efficiency, and sometimes run parts of their business. Overall, we enable our clients to become high-performance businesses and governments.

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AAA Resources is one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producers in the world. Our effective, value-driven strategy continually targets cost-effective alternatives to develop our portfolio of projects and to deliver our defined growth plan, creating value for shareholders.

Our balanced mix of natural gas, light oil, heavy oil, in-situ oil sands production, oil sands mining and associated upgrading facilities – in North America, the North Sea and Offshore Africa –represents one of the strongest asset portfolios of any energy producer in the world. As we develop our assets, we are transitioning to a long-life, low-decline asset base which provides increasing and sustainable free cash flow.

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