How to tell your Founders Story in 8 easy steps

Picture this

Your company is looking to recruit a c-suite professional. You receive two emails from two recruitment agencies inviting you to check out their current candidates. Each email has a link to their company website. You decide to take a quick peek. Both are impressive but only one has an About Us page. You click it and read about how the business advocates diversity and equality. How they champion getting more women in the boardroom. How it was founded by a team of women and how they support local non-profits by holding free workshops on education and employment.

Although the first agency probably has the same values it doesn't seem to mention it in any of its content.

Which one would you choose?

When given the choice between wanting a professional business or a relatable business most customers chose the relatable business. - Why? simply put your customers want a human experience. But being relatable is more than just a few shared values and purpose. Think about an organisation or company you admire. What makes them relatable to you?

In a study conducted by KoMarketing, 52% of respondents said the first thing they check when they land on a website is a company’s ‘About Us page. New visitors click it for insight into you and your business. It is here that your customers can find out what makes you qualified, why they should trust you and whether you are worth their time and investment.

Unfortunately, most businesses treat their ABOUT pages as an after-thought rather than a valuable opportunity to connect with their customer. They are written with a few scribbled sentences about what year the company was founded and maybe a dozen buzzwords thrown in to make them sound professional - they add a critical comparison to their competitors and finish with a poorly timed pushy sales pitch. What was meant to showcase their personality and engage with their audience inadvertently turns into a terribly written sales page.

It can seem daunting to try and tell your company story in a way that gets your customers to want to know more. Here are my favourite go-to tips.

Your About page should be well written, personable and genuine. It should give your visitor a glimpse into what it would be like to work with you and your business.

1. Start with your title

Whereas most content writers will tell you to write your story and then think of a title I find choosing a title keeps you focused on the tone, language and story you want to showcase. It also allows you to take your audience on a short impactful journey. Choose one that suits your personality and message.

  • Our Story: Perfect for your business if you have a personal or emotional story. ie: If you created your business due to a life-changing event. Your audience may be able to relate to either the event or the emotion

  • Our Journey: Maybe you've had some challenges along your way that made you more resilient. Share something that will resonate with your customers.

  • Our Mission: Perfect for businesses that have a strong ethical, environmental or social purpose. A well-written mission page emphasises your ethos and socially conscious values and places it at the top of your customer's mind as to why they want to work with you.

  • Our Philosophy: If your business has a heritage or strong reputation, or if you stand at the front of innovation your customers can align their own ideals with your philosophy.

2. Describe your values - Establish your mission statement.

What is the purpose of your business, why are you qualified and why should your visitors care? It's important to talk about those shared values that will attract them to you and make you stand out. This information will give the reader something to remember about your company long after they leave your website.

Patagonia is on a mission to save the home planet. To this day, Patagonia has never collaborated with a fashion brand, nor does it work with influencers or advertise in fashion magazines. It began investing in regenerative agriculture long before people started talking about soil health, and it has also taken the fashion industry to task, by speaking out against greenwashing, fast fashion and created the first anti-Black Friday campaign with its 2011’s New York Times ad “Don’t buy this jacket.”

And for those who have the same shared values, it's not hard for them to want to work with and buy from Patagonia.

3. State your "aha!" moment or share a critical problem you solved.

Every good company was founded on an idea — What was your idea? What was a challenge you faced while developing your company? How did this challenge or discovery shape what you are today? Explain your inspiration as a pivot point when telling your company story.

GoldieBlox used their Founder's relatable problem as part of their story and made their customers the hero of their story.

When Debbie Sterling was studying Mechanical Engineering in university, she was frustrated by how few women there were in her program. She realised how STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects were often focused on boys rather than girls. She started GoldieBlox to fill in the gap and be the toy Sterling wished she had when she was growing up. She wanted to inspire young girls to develop an interest in engineering and building." source: Forbes

"Our mission is to reach girls at a young age, and introduce them (and oftentimes, their parents) to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

STEM can often seem intimidating. So we make it fun. Build self-confidence. Inspire the next generation of innovators. And shatter long-held stereotypes.

We do this through shows that inspire, toys that teach and creative campaigns that celebrate diverse, badass female STEM role models that still – to this day – are incredibly rare to see.

Our message: STEM is cool. With it, you can invent. Design stuff. And build all that you dream up.

Our company has reached millions of girls around the globe over the past decade – while making a profound impact on the landscape of children’s toys and media. And we’re just getting started. source: GoldieBlox

4. Reveal how you've evolved.

Evolutions can improve the story you want to tell to your audience. Talk about how you've grown, how you got to where you are now or why you never want to go back. A short interesting story or even a few fun facts will show your willingness to change and adapt when necessary.

5. Explain who you serve.

Your About page will hopefully attract all types of audiences but not all of them will become your client. By mentioning your core customer you let your visitors know who your business is dedicated to helping as well as allowing them to qualify themselves.

6. Give examples of clients you've served.

A good way to show your audience who you help as well as build trust and credibility is by using a few case studies or examples of previous work and experience. Ask your loyal customers to describe a moment of success while working with you.

7. If it's not clear -explain what you're offering them.

Companies often mess this part up because they become too fixated on their product or service features rather than the benefits for the customer. They generalize and make statements and focus too much on who they are rather than who they are helping.

Imagine if you were are a dinner party. You're trying to have a conversation with someone but all they are doing is talking about themselves and to make it worse all they say are boastful statements such as: "I have the best hair," and "I run the fastest," Of course, this may seem extreme, few would boast about these qualities but that's exactly how businesses talk to their customers.

“We’re the best!” "We have the fastest Delivery" “We’re Number 1!"

Customers switch off if all you do is make statements and claims about yourself that you aren't backing up.

8: Show dont tell:

Storytelling allows your audience to visualise and as such, your stories will resonate with them and end up in their memories. For instance, How much do you know about the New Zealand All Blacks? Maybe you know that they won the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and 2015 and maybe you know they have a 77 per cent winning record in test match rugby, that they are the only international men's side to have secured more wins than losses against every opponent, and maybe you could google a few articles and find out a bit more, but what if I told you how the New Zealand All-Blacks rugby team, win or lose, clean their dressing room after every match.

Ali Williams, a former All Blacks lock shared the story of how the idea of 'sweeping the sheds' became more than just a mantra for the All Blacks. It was after a win at Twickenham whilst having a beer when coach Steve Hansen said 'geez, bloody pig sty this place, might as well clean it up and he started cleaning it up, so everyone started cleaning it up with him.

The tradition continues today with each player sweeping and picking up a nod to the old adage that you leave something better than you found it.

Now ask yourself - What do I know about the New Zealand All-Blacks? It may seem a small fact but it says a lot about their character and the culture of the team. And now that you know the story how many of you will remember it?

Your About Us Page is more than just a resume or a mission statement. It's definitely not a sales page but rather an invitation to connect. Take a read of your own About Us Page and ask yourself is it memorable? Is it inspirational? Is it relatable? And did you even read it to the end? If anyone wants to quickly understand your brand, your About Us page should be the single link you send them.

Top Tip: To be extra memorable try something different

Show the Process

People are nosey. Be creative - put a behind the scenes time-lapse video, a showreel or portfolio, a quick day in the life. These can be extremely effective in engaging your customers.

Use Real Images of Real People

It doesn't have to be a fancy photoshoot but use photos that are relevant to your business. Show your team and be consistent in your images.

Feeling inspired? Consider our Discover Your Brand Story and create a clear and compelling description of who you are and what you do that win over your potential clients