So you want a company profile

Your Capability Statement or Company Profile is a "sales document"

But it's not an all-out, chest thumping advertisement. It must be more subtle than that.

The first question to ask is what do you want it for? What do you want it to achieve? It may surprise you that a Company Profile can serve a number of different purposes.

  • To help win customers, and sales;
  • As a resource to help complete tenders, proposals and quotations;
  • To help attract the right employees - good staff;
  • To support you PR activities, as back-up to press releases;
  • For the bank or other financiers to support your application;
  • As a basis for your web site.

The problem is that these different purposes can call for different styles.

But all is not lost, there is hope yet. A properly constructed Company Profile is a flexible resource from which you can draw the facts you need to build responses.

As a sales document it should present a professional image of you and your business. It should also show some personality, so show a human perspective if you can.

The last thing you want is for your profile is to be BOOooooring; and endless dirge of how unique your business is. Everyone claims their business is unique. Don't claim - show!

Which brings me to my first point. The profile should be written from the customer's perspective, not your own. So many company profiles start be puffing out the chest, and proclaiming in a loud voice just how good they are, how they've been running for 5, 15, 25 or 50 years or whatever.

They go on to tell the reader that they are "a local business", or a "family owned business". So what? What does that do for the customer? Why should the customer care?

What the reader, the potential customer, cares about is whether you can solve their problem, meet their need, make them feel better; enable them to do their job better, faster, at lower cost, at higher profits, or what ever.

Your profile needs to address your target market's needs, establish your credibility and build trust.

There are many variations on what should be included in a Company Profile. The following is offered as a guide.

The introduction

You may want to think about using the first paragraph to introduce the type of problem you solve and for whom you solve it. That may be an array of related problems but it is not a smorgasbord.

You should go on to introduce, in summary form, the solutions you offer to these problems and start to build your credibility:

1. Examples of the clients for whom you've worked
2. Examples of where you've worked
3. Your company's location
4. Simply state the year in which your company was established.

As for your company's location, the city or town is sufficient so don't waste valuable space writing a historical overview of your surrounding area. People want to read about your company, not where you live.

Finish the Introduction with a single, good testimonial.

Oh, and write the Introduction last.

What we provide

After introducing your company in Section one, the second section would be an ideal place to establish:

1. The benefits of your product or service
2. Your USP - why they should deal with your business
3. Product range/services offered
4. Machinery and technology used
5. Experience
6. Number of staff
7. How orders are handled
8. Share significant achievements that would be meaningful to buyers
9. Testimonials

Provide three or four clear benefits of your product or service. Remember, your talking about the benefits here, not the features. You might start with something like "If you would like to:

Benefit 1

Benefit 2

Benefit 3

then you need to contact us now."

Then tell them why - do you have a Unique Selling Proposition or something similar; something specific of benefit or advantage to the customer that no-one else provides.

When introducing your products or services, use as much detail as your need to explain what it is, how it works, what makes it unique., so that your potential customers will understand exactly what you are selling.

Certain industries will be interested in knowing what machinery and technology you use and your production experience as well. It adds credibility.

Demonstrated Experience - Making buyers aware of significant achievements that your company has made is another effective way to differentiate your company from your competitors. Where you have worked, the type of work you have done, products and services supplied. Experience is about "proof", about removing risk in the customer's mind.

Stating the number of people that you employ will give your reader an indication of your company's size. You might want to add any details of specific skills or qualifications.

How orders are handled - a brief description of how their orders will be handled quickly and effectively will give customers confidence. Your business is not a black hole into which orders disappear. If you have a tracking mechanism, tell them.

Significant achievements and awards add credibility and remove doubts. Remember you want to remove any suggestion of rick from the customer's mind.

Testimonials - The very best way to establish your credibility and prove to your customers once and for all that you are to be trusted is to include testimonials from very satisfied customers! Your testimonials will be much more powerful and effective if you can include as much specific detail as possible about the exact results or impact of your product or service on the testimonial-giver's profits, business, life, etc.

Testimonials offer further "proof", thus further reducing the risk in the potential customer's mind. The ideal testimonials refer to possible objections/risks such as the difficulty of the job, or the short lead time that people may have in their minds, and counter them.

Certifications & Policies

In some markets and increasingly with Government procurement, certifications are important.

Quality certifications (such as ISO) allow for an increased level of trust and mentioning them in your company introduction can only benefit you. You may also wish to inform buyers of the quality control procedures that you have in place and whether you use or welcome third parties approved by buyers to handle QC operations.

HACCP - Other certifications such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point may be relevant if you are dealing with food products. HACCP is used in the food industry to identify potential food safety hazards, so that key actions, known as Critical Control Points (CCP's) can be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of the hazards being realised. The system is used at all stages of food production and preparation processes.

Environmental - do you have an environmental plan or policy? How do you ensure your operations are carried out in accordance with all relevant environmental laws and regulations? ISO 14001 2004 is an environmental management standard for Australia. It specifies a set of environmental management requirements for environmental management systems. The purpose of this standard is to help all types of organizations to protect the environment, to prevent pollution, and to improve their environmental performance.

OH & S - How do you minimise occupational health and safety risks in your workplace. All Australian states and territories have OH & S legislation. Demonstrate the steps you take o ensure that your workplace is a safe one, you will ensure the safety of your employees, and protect yourself from legal prosecution

The closing

Your guarantee: you want them to feel that dealing with your business is a risk free decision, so offer a guarantee. A good guarantee reverses the risk in the customer's mind, makes them feel more comfortable about making a decision to deal with you.

While you might be worried that someone will take you up, most don't, and the sales you generate with a good guarantee in place will far outweigh any returns you may receive as a result.

Invite buyers to contact you. After all your want your company profile to lead to action. Give them some reasons why they should contact you, offer to visit, an inspection, an inducement. Outline the benefits they will get by contacting you.

Then tell them how to contact you. Give them the full contact details

Writing tips

The following is a list of things to remember when writing your company introductions:

1. Replace long words with shorter ones.

2. Make sure paragraphs are focused.

3. Do not over claim or use flowery language.

4. If your product is new, tell the reader what is new about it.

5. Don't write using capital letters, it looks as if you are SHOUTING! and not as important information.

6. Write facts not opinions - you must be able to back up statements such as 'biggest', 'best,' etc.

7. Don't use company jargon or acronyms

8. Be honest and interesting, since plenty of bland, boring and hype-filled profiles already abound.

Presentation Tips

Remember your Company Profile is not just about what you offer, but also about credibility and trust. So you've established a great profile, products or services that solve your target market's specific problem, you've demonstrated the right experience and backed it with credible testimonials.

And then you present the final result on a cheap bit of paper, laid out by your sister's son who wants to do design but is still at school, and is cheap. Just how far will a good story badly presented get you?

Spend a little money and get a graphic designed to create a great layout and presentation for you. Remember what we discussed at the beginning - why did you want a Company Profile in the first place? Would the cheapest possible presentation help you achieve that?


© Adam Gordon, Profits Leak Detective 2009 All rights reserved.