Writing an Effective Business Profile

Not About Verbs

I was going to write today’s post about verbs, but then my Dad called me and reminded me that I promised to write a business profile for him (I’m still going to write the post about verbs, and I promise it won’t be as boring as it sounds.) My Dad is running for the Alberta Construction Association’s Board of Directors and therefore must submit a business profile outlining his experience in the industry and potential contributions to the Board. My Dad isn’t a great writer, so I agreed to write this profile for him without hesitation. But I needed to find out the answers to a few key questions before I wrote the profile and these are the same types of questions that I think anyone needs to ask before attempting a professional summary of this type.

Who is the audience?

An understanding of your audience is essential in professional communications. You need to know who they are and you need to know what they want. My Dad told me that the profile is to be read by voting members of the Alberta Construction Association but that they vote in a minimum number of candidates for three categories: Contractors, Suppliers, and Another Category (he’s not sure of the third category and I sure as hell am not going to go look it up.) My Dad is pretty sure that he is the only candidate who is involved in sales–as opposed to, say, insurance–so he is pretty confident that his experience will be unique in this category. Therefore, his advice was not to worry too much about “selling” him to the audience; he asked me to simply, yet eloquently, explain his credentials, experience, and professional philosophy.

What type of document am I producing?

Before you can set out to create a document, you have to know what it will look like when it’s produced, how long it should be, what the style or tone should be (see my last post)–essentially, you need to know its genre. Fortunately, my Dad sent me sample profiles of last year’s applicants. They range in length from 70-400 words, use fairly professional language, and contain two paragraphs–the first, longer paragraph outlines the applicants qualifications, and the second, shorter paragraph provides some information about the applicants personal life (children, hobbies, etc.)

Who is Sam McDougall?

So, without further ado, I present: my Dad (Okay, okay. Without further ado, I present my business profile):

Sam McDougall is the General Manager of Allmar Distributors Edmonton Branch and has worked in the hardware industry for over 30 years. Starting off as a warehouse labourer at age 17, Sam’s agreeable nature got him a promotion to salesman in the late 70s, and ethical, personable sales techniques has been his mantra ever since. A devotee of high quality customer service and effective leadership, Sam maintains lasting business relationships with contractors across the province—some for over 25 years. Sam’s first Dad blog picrate planning skills have been instrumental in developing business and marketing plans with four different companies, all the while prolifically researching sales and management techniques, marketing strategies, interpersonal relations, economics, and business models. Since joining Allmar in 2000, Sam has implemented a state-of-the-art computer estimating and inventory system, and reinvigorated the company’s staffing system—creating junior staff positions to back up experienced salespeople.

In his free time Sam is a volunteer soccer coach, avid golfer, amateur photographer, and ‘wannabe’ home improvement guru. A proud father of two sons and a daughter, Sam is well known for his sense of humour and sound judgment.

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