PREPARE TO WRITE YOUR BIO
Putting thought and energy into preparing to write your professional bio pays big dividends. Like the resume you provide when you’ve apply to a company, your business plan that includes your professional bio will hopefully be shared with people you haven’t met. You want to be certain it provides a complete picture of who you are and represents you well.
Your professional bio needs to demonstrate you have the specialized and general knowledge to launch and operate the business, explain why you’re qualified to launch and operate this business, provide examples of achievements pertinent to this business, and that you have the personal where-with-all and strength of character to be successful.
SPECIALIZED AND GENERALIZED KNOWLEDGE TO LAUNCH AND OPERATE MY BUSINESS
Think through and make a list of the specialized and general knowledge someone starting and operating a business of this type needs to have.
If you haven’t worked in this type of business go online and research businesses offering this or a similar product or service.
Here are some examples of the specialized and general knowledge you’d need for several businesses.
Example 1: A Virtual Florist and Gift Basket Service
Specialized Knowledge: Flower Arranging, Gift Basket Design and Assembly, Inventory Management
General Knowledge: Basic Business Bookkeeping and Record Keeping
Example 2: A Divorce Recovery Course, Community, & Coaching
Specialized Knowledge: Grief Coaching, Personal Change Coaching, Course Preparation, Writing, Public Speaking
General Knowledge: Basic Business Bookkeeping and Record Keeping, Online, Document Creation and Management Software, Online Marketing and Content Delivery
Example 3: A Consulting Practice:
Specialized Knowledge: Industry or Business Practice Experience, Project and Client Management, Change Management, Writing, Board Level Presentation Skills
General Knowledge: Basic Business Bookkeeping and Record Keeping, Business Software Applications, Basic Computer Skills
Example 4: A Financial Management Book and Course
Specialized Knowledge: Budgeting, Time Management, Personal Organizational Skills, Writing Skills, Coarse Preparation, Writing, Public Speaking
General Knowledge: Basic Business Bookkeeping and Record Keeping, Document Creation and Management Software, Spreadsheet Creation and Manipulation
WHY I’M QUALIFIED TO LAUNCH AND OPERATE THIS BUSINESS
There’s a reason you chose THIS business. You may have been working for a company doing this type of work. This might be this logical outcome of a long-time hobby. It might be you found a unique method or technique for solving a problem. Perhaps you developed a product or service that is needed in the marketplace.
Make a list of the jobs and positions you’ve held, events you’ve participated in, places you’ve volunteered, then match what you did that provides you the background necessary to be successful in this business.
Inventorying the specialized knowledge and general knowledge you have and comparing it to what you’ll need will help you identify your qualifications for launching and operating this type of business. It will also help you identify what qualifications you currently don’t have.
Just a note at this point: If you’re starting a business that requires specialized knowledge you don’t have or if you have no experience your prospective new business industry take the time to learn the skill or work in the industry.
EXAMPLES OF MY ACHIEVEMENTS THAT RELATE TO THIS BUSINESS:
Go back and review each of the jobs you’ve held. What did you improve or achieve while you were there that made the business better? Articulate results you or a team you were on that are pertinent to something you’ll be doing in your new business.
Thinking through this reminds you of your achievements and gives you the confidence necessary to take the next step in launching your business.
WHY I’LL BE SUCCESSFUL LAUNCHING AND OPERATING THIS BUSINESS:
Just as important as specialized and general knowledge, pertinent experience, and achievements in a particular business area is your ability to deliver on the commitments you make and your character.
Examples might include service in any capacity, working while you were going to school, earning a college degree, helping to take care of siblings or parents, going to night school, helping a charity, belonging to an organization.
You may also have examples of what you learned by making a mistake. Take accountability and demonstrate what you’ve achieved since then. You don’t have to describe it.
Example 1: Diligence: I learned to manage my time during the four years I worked full-time attending college to earn my bachelor’s degree in business.
Example 2: Fundraising, Marketing and Networking: I organized an event to raise funds against domestic violence that included a “pass the purse” silent auction that collected enough to launch a 501(c)(3).
Example 3: Time Management: After repeated warnings for being a few minutes late, I lost a job and learned to be on-time and now ensure I’m always five minutes early.
PREPARE YOUR PROFESSIONAL BIO
With your information gathered, weave all the information together and write your story. The tough part is it only be between one and two pages.
When you’ve finished share it with someone you trust, get their feedback, and make edits. As with every part of your business plan you’ll continue to update and personalize it depending upon the audience and where your business is in its lifecycle.
Leah Ward-Lee is a management consultant and business writer based in Dallas, Texas and the author of $1,000 Start-Ups. She’s currently developing a course and the $1,000 Start-Up Workbook to help entrepreneurs launch low cost business start-ups.