5 Tips For Writing a Startup’s First Backgrounder

  1. Focus on establishing your team as trustworthy and dependable. The biggest question in a prospect’s mind is how your team will you perform when things go wrong.
  2. Stress earlier engagements with the problem you help your customers solve. Make this “phase two” of efforts to solve these problems, building on earlier relevant experience and accomplishments. Early customers want to know that you have an affinity for the problem domain.
  3. Don’t stress how smart you are or how many merit badges your team has accumulated (e.g. degrees and certificates) or your collective years of experience the team has–what does it mean when a team has collectively 60 year of experience, much less than you might think. Focus on projects that you have delivered and value they have created for former partners, customers, etc..
  4. If you have a backgrounder or presentation that is being used to raise investment–e.g a fund-raising pitch–don’t start from it as a basis for your prospect oriented backgrounder. Investors and prospects are two fundamentally different audiences with very different needs and distinct questions about your team and your offering.
  5. Keep it to between one and two pages: put it on your website and print it double-sided if it runs over one page when you include it in proposals or as part of a leave-behind package from a demo or presentation.

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I am a big fan of the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.

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