What’s Your Story?
To remain competitive, you need to provide information about your company to investors, existing and potential clients, media, and the general public on an ongoing basis. Your company’s success depends on how well you communicate what you have to offer.
This, in turn, may depend on how well you prepare marketing collateral items (powerpoint presentations, brochures, newsletters, fact sheets, press releases, and other electronic and printed promotional materials), ranging from company and product fact sheets to biographies of key team members.
Every business should have the following eight items on hand, ready to distribute.
1. Company Fact Sheet
Potential investors, employees, analysts, and members of the media should be able to learn important facts about your business with a quick look at your fact sheet. A company fact sheet should include the following information:
- The date the company was founded
- Location of headquarters and any affiliate offices.
- Names and brief backgrounds of founders.
- Contact information
2. Product or Service Fact Sheets
Keep a fact sheet on file for each of your products or services. A product or service fact sheet should include the following:
- The product or service’s function or value
- Distinctive features that set your product or service apart from the competition
- Comparison to similar products or services in the market
- A statement about quality and reliability
3. Biographies of Founders and Senior Management
Create a biography for each founding member of the company, senior managers, and (if applicable) members of the board of directors. Biographies should include:
- Their current role in the company
- Relevant experience
- Awards or honors
- Publications that feature the team member or the team member’s work
4. Mission Statement
A mission statement serves multiple purposes: It can motivate you and your employees, provide direction and focus as you make decisions, and give new hires a sense of the purpose of the company. It can also provide a confident and clear statement to potential investors and members of the media.
5. Company Background
Company background is the history of the company and can be told chronologically. A picture of your headquarters, your best product, your top people, or team shots — will help people get a better sense of who you are.
6. Client List
Prominently display a current list of your clients, partners, and (if appropriate) vendors. This information will be of interest to employees, investors, existing and potential clients, and media, as well as the general public. Your willingness to display this information builds trust, shows confidence, and establishes you as a serious player in your field.
7. Press Kit
When you open your business or launch a new product, send out a press kit. Press kits are easily released online as well as by mail and are a handy way to pitch your business at a trade show. Your kit should include the following elements:
- Company’s logo featured prominently
- A personalized letter pitching your company, product, or service
- A press release
- Company fact sheet
- Product fact sheet
- Articles written about your company
- Business card
- Company background
Update each element of the press kit as needed at least once a year, preferably before a big selling season, product launch, or trade show.
8. Clip File
Assign someone in your office the important job of collecting and maintaining any articles written about your company, employees, events, and so on. There are companies that provide clipping services; you can also set up Google Alerts to make you aware whenever a certain name or term is mentioned online.