PSU Insight

Writing Your Business Plan

The Importance of Your Company History

The ‘company history’ section is where you write a historical summary of your business. In other words, in this section you describe your company’s past. Even if you're a brand-new startup, documenting your company’s "past" is vital to your success!

If you’re just getting started in your business, you may feel that you don’t have a history. Not true! If you think about it, the background and experience of the speaker are some of the most important aspects of a professional speaker’s business.

Since your experience and background are important, your Company History should contain your relevant personal history. Notice that I stress “relevant” history. Your company history should contain those items that are important to the success of your speaking business, but other items — regardless of how proud you may be of them — should be omitted.

For instance, if your educational background is important to your ability to speak on your topic, it should be listed. But if your studies were in a completely different area than the field in which you speak, don’t bother listing your educational accomplishments. You’re understandably proud of them, but they’re really not an asset to your business.

Similarly, awards and recognitions should be listed, but they should be limited to those that are relevant to your speaking topic. That you were your high school’s Spelling Bee champion is unimportant and shouldn’t be listed as a historical asset… unless, of course, your program topic involves spelling skills in some way.

In many ways, your Company History may resemble a resume. And that’s fine. Just keep in mind that, unlike a resume, you’re not trying to impress anyone. Your Company History should be a realistic assessment of your “historical assets.”

Of course, “where you’re going is a lot more important than where you’ve been.” So don’t spend a lot of time on this section. A page or two of relevant historical information is generally quite sufficient.

Once written, this section probably will not require much updating. (After all, your history isn’t likely to change.) Of course, if your business focus changes significantly, the relevance of your past activities will also change. But for the most part, once you’ve written this section, you probably won’t need to change it much.