Most professionals, small business owners included, can benefit from having a well-written and professional biography. The main goals of a professional biography are to give the reader an accurate sense of who you are and what you do, establish expertise and credibility, and qualify your experience and background. An interesting biography that accomplishes all of these things can help you develop trust in you and your brand, making it a powerful tool for your business.
There are many ways a small business owner can use a biography. Some ideas include:
- Incorporating it into your marketing materials
- Providing it to clients with proposals
- Submitting it with speaking, presenting, and teaching applications
- Posting it on your website and blog
- Including it in any books, e-books, reports, or professional documents you create
While you may have several different versions of your bio that you use in the different outlets listed above, all versions start with one well-written, comprehensive summary of who you are, where you came from and what you do. In fact, you should have three versions of your bio to start — short (one to two sentences), medium (one to two paragraphs) and long (three to four paragraphs).
To get you started, here are some tips for writing a biography that you can use in your small business over and over again.
Include the Basics
One of the great things about a well-written bio is flexibility. You can include as much or as little information as you want. Typically, though, there are some universal elements you will usually want to include in your bio. For example, most bios include:
- Current job, business or professional experience
- Publications or presentations you have completed
- Educational background
- Professional memberships you currently hold
- Awards, honors, and certifications you have received
- Your contact information
Grab the Reader's Attention
Remember that most people who will be reading your bio are strangers who know very little about you. Start by introducing yourself and using an attention-grabber to draw the reader in and make them want to learn more about you. Using a conversational voice throughout will also make it easier for your readers to follow along.
Write It In Third Person
Many professional bios are written in the third person, using "he/she/they" instead of "I." Presenting your bio as if someone else wrote it for you provides a distinction between you and the writer (even if it is understood that it is the same person). The third person also enhances professionalism and makes people more willing to trust what is being said.
Get a Little Personal
Don't be afraid to include some personal or unique information about yourself in your bio. Consider including a headshot of yourself, quotes or testimonials from clients, and links to examples of your work. You may also want to mention whether or not you're married with children and where you reside. Depending on the outlet, you may even want to add a sentence or two about your favorite hobbies or pastimes.
Update It Frequently
Your experience and qualifications change, so your bio should not be viewed as a static document. You should modify and update it periodically to reflect changes and to keep it fresh. And make sure you're using the most recent version whenever you pull a copy to use in your business.
As a small business owner, a bio gives you an opportunity to summarize your qualifications, highlight some interesting facts about yourself, and inject a little of your personality. Start by writing a draft using the tips above, then hand it off to a friend or colleague for review. Use the feedback you receive to fine-tune your bio and create a few different versions. Before you know it, you will have a very powerful tool to use in your small business.