You’ve probably heard Lori Greiner’s famous quote before, but it’s worth repeating: “Entrepreneurs are the only people who work 80 hour weeks to avoid working 40 hour weeks.”
Because I’m a small business owner myself, I have a high level of respect for other small business owners. In my opinion, it’s one of the most challenging jobs you can ever have – but it’s also one of the most rewarding.
It’s a struggle because of all the responsibility. Until you become a small business owner yourself, you don’t really understand the time and effort the job takes. You also don’t realize just how much help is needed to make a business of any size run properly. Most any entrepreneur will tell you that, at least once, they considered giving up on the whole venture. When you’re working later hours than your peers, struggling with the financial strain in the early days (or when work is slow), or generally feeling like you have no idea which step should be your next one, it’s easy to think, “This isn’t worth it, and I’m never going to succeed.”
However, the business owners who push through these doubts eventually reap the rewards of running their own company – and the rewards are well worth the investment. Eventually, the bottom line turns from red to black, the hours don’t seem quite so long, and you feel like you finally have a bit of a grasp on your new role in life. To get to that point, though, business owners need a little bit of help – and that’s where writing comes into play.
Know Their Demands
Because small business owners wear more hats at work than most anyone else in the business world, they’re limited on time and energy. When you’re writing for entrepreneurs, you should have a specific purpose to your article, and every sentence should strive to meet that purpose. Cute little anecdotes and metaphors have their place in the world of writing, but it’s generally not in small business content. You don’t have to be overly dry or technical, but you shouldn’t go off on tangents, either.
Make Content Actionable
Most entrepreneurs don’t want general tips and ideas. Motivational speeches are helpful on the most tiring or dismal days, but they aren’t going to get the job done. Likewise, if you’re writing a “how to” article, no one wants to wade through irrelevant information. Small business owners are reading these articles as a means to an end. They have a job to do – usually a very specific job – and they want to do it quickly and efficiently. That’s why it’s best to list actionable steps or tips in bold heading format, with additional information outlined below. It makes it easy for readers to find the pertinent information. If they want to read the extra little tidbits in the article, they can, but that’s not the main reason they’re here.
Provide Statistics and Facts
When it comes to the important stuff – things like taxes, business licenses, and success rates – readers need the facts and statistics. That’s where good sources come in. Good sources are relevant, and they generally offer more in-depth coverage of a specific topic. For U.S. business tax advice, you can’t do much better than the IRS website. If you need serious accounting help, the gold standard is the FASB Accounting Standards Codification. These sites are a bit dry and technical, but they provide a ton of useful information if you source them properly. As a writer, your goal is to take these intimidating sites and turn them into a useful tool that anyone can use, even if they don’t have a background in accounting – or marketing, or local tax laws, etc. Small business owners are generally not jacks of all trades; they’re masters of one. They are trying to turn that one trade into a business, so they need help deciphering all the other mumbo jumbo.
When you’re wading through the wealth of information available online, sometimes you just want to hear from other people who have been in your shoes. Entrepreneurs want a sense of camaraderie and feeling like they’re not alone – because entrepreneurship is usually a fairly lonely place. After all, you’re attempting to do something you’ve never done before. Oftentimes, tips and information from someone who’s “been there, done that” are helpful because you know they’ve been through the same difficult situation and come through it okay. It’s also helpful to know what happens if you do something wrong, so you can recognize that fact and fix it as soon as possible.
Factual, actionable and relatable content will help you connect with entrepreneurs and let them know that you know what they’re going through. [Tweet it]
5-Star writer Savannah R is a professional writer with years of experience writing, editing and blogging. She also worked as an accountant for over a decade.
Want more content marketing wisdom? Check out our webinar series where world-class marketing experts share their insights.