How to Write a Business History

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Every business has a unique history. Even a brand-new startup has a story to share. Writing a company history is an effective way to tell investors, prospects and employees how your company got to where you are today. When writing a business history, be sure to keep your audience in mind. Don’t overshare too many details and overwhelm the reader. Instead, craft a narrative about your history's pivotal details.

Understand the Importance of Writing a Company History

A company history is a great way to connect to your audience. There are many reasons to write a history of your business, including:

  • Relating to your customers
  • Establishing credibility in your industry
  • Showcasing your years of expertise
  • Increasing employee engagement
  • Strengthening your brand image

Your company history helps the readers to understand the journey you have taken so far. It can also show them where your company may go next. Like your company’s mission, vision and values, a business history is a valuable part of your brand.

Identify the Audience

The first step to writing an effective history of a business is to figure out to whom you’re writing. Who is the main audience for this history, and what do they need to know about you? Audiences can include potential investors, prospects and customers, employees and the media.

Identify the kind of information for which your audience will be looking. Investors may want to know how long you have been in business, how long you’ve been profitable, when you changed direction and why you chose to take a different path for your business.

On the other hand, employees may want to know why you started the company, who the first employee was and when you established certain departments. Prospects and customers might like to know what your mission was when you first started, some quirky facts about your formative years and how you came up with your core values.

Match the Message to the Medium

The way you write your company history will depend on the reason you're writing it. This will impact the kind of information you include and the tone of the writing. When writing for investors, you may be writing a brief company history for a business plan or project proposal. In this case, the tone will be formal. The information you include will be focused on profitability and the direction of the company.

On the other hand, when writing for employees, you may need to write a company history for the new employee package that is handed to new hires. This is a way to educate your incoming employees about the company, so it will be a more thorough history focused on the mission, vision and values. It may also include interesting facts about the founders of the company.

A company history on your website will be geared toward prospects and customers. This is a way to build credibility for your business while engaging your audience with unique information about your company. This kind of history may take a lighter tone and focus on what kind of impact your company has made in the community.

Stick to the Pivotal Moments

When writing a company history, it’s easy to include a lot of information, especially if you are intimately familiar with all of the historical details. Don’t overwhelm the reader with too much information. Instead, focus on the audience and the crucial information they need to know. Stick to those pivotal points and refrain from going off track. This approach helps the reader to follow the business’s journey more easily.

Tell a Story, Not Just the Facts

The historical background of a company is often filled with dates, names, places and other facts. While those are important to note, it’s also imperative to create a narrative. Connect historical moments to one another by showing cause and effect. When discussing historical figures in the company, mention the important impact they had on the business.

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About the Author

Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.

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