Business Description: Unclear

By Jamie McSloy / August 6, 2018
business status unclear featured image

I went away for the weekend, mostly to attend my friend’s wedding.

At said wedding, naturally, people asked me, “So what do you do?”

And my answers revealed something tragic.

I couldn’t describe what I do.

Now, “I’m a copywriter” or “I do internet business stuff” makes sense for our sphere of the world.

And obviously I’ve been spending too much time with you scoundrels, because things we take for a given aren’t common knowledge at all.

And if someone says, “What’s a copywriter?”

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… then you can’t say, “Well I’m not really just a copywriter I’m also a publisher, create websites and blah blah blah.”

You will lose them even further.

If You Can’t Describe Your Business To ANYONE Then You Fail

Really, you need to be able to describe your business to anyone.


Because otherwise you’re sat at a wedding table trying to convince people that you’re not a total dork and what you do actually exists, sure…

… but also because the ability to describe your business is your business.

The clearer the vision, the better everything is.

Your branding is easier when you have a clear vision. Your organisation tasks are easier, and so is working on what you have to do next.

I obviously don’t have that.

But I’m going to sit down and correct this ASAP, because I realise how important it is.

Let me tell you how I think this process will go.

Why “Anyone” Though?

Some might suggest that the above is fine – I do a technically small thing in a technically small part of a technically small world.

After all, nobody cares about what a nuclear engineer does, right?

Except in reality:

  1. They actually do (imagine the awesome stories you could tell as a nuclear engineer)
  2. If a nuclear engineer doesn’t have a clear idea of what he’s doing, we’re all in trouble.

But mostly, you never know what’ll happen in the future. The person you’re speaking to might have no idea what you’re talking about now but might become crucial later on. You can’t afford to mess up.

And again, the clearer the vision in your own mind, the better it is for you.

The reason I use anyone and everyone as the benchmark is that too many caveats come in otherwise.

  • Can you tell a child what you do?
  • Can you tell a foreigner with limited English (or your native tongue) what you do?
  • What about a cute girl/guy who literally has no idea who you are but needs to be suitably impressed?

These are all fun examples that make you really drill down what you’re doing, who you’re doing it for and why.

The minute you say, “My definition doesn’t need to include children,” you’re saying, “It’s ok for my business to be undefinable at a simple level.”

When you say, “Why would I need to explain my business to a foreigner?” you’re basically saying, “I’m going to obscure my company’s purpose behind big words.” You’re also saying goodbye to massive international markets for no real reason.

And when you say, “I would never use my profession to talk to look good socially,” you’re condemning yourself to geekdom and also somewhat more seriously, you’re eradicating the majority of people who aren’t going to be in your industry or otherwise knowledge about your skills.

So you must explain your business in simple, clear and enticing terms fit for everyone.

Elevator Pitch or Interesting Pitch

Before we move on; the above is absolutely the method I will use to redefine everything.

But let’s just clear something up before we finish this article.

When I did a business course years ago, we spent a morning learning how to form an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch, for those of you who are blissfully unaware: “If you had thirty seconds to pitch your business to an influencer in an elevator, what would you say?”

And look… I don’t care about an elevator pitch. I will tell you why.

Long copy outperforms short copy.

If you had thirty seconds to tell someone what you do, what would you say?

I’d say something so interesting in those thirty seconds that they’d stay for two minutes.

If you are a copywriter, you should not be concerned with only having thirty seconds.

You already know that you have to grab someone’s attention. You already know that once you’ve grabbed their attention, you build interest and then desire. And then you have the person where you want them.

Final Thoughts

Let’s wrap this rant out… but I realised at the weekend that I need to clarify things logistically. For the mad scientists among you, this is the natural consequence of continually experimenting with new things. So beware.

I also learned that there’s a huge gap in the market for practical advice on translating copywriting guru wisdoms to real life.

So that’s something we’ll be exploring over the blog writings in the future.

P.S. You should get on the mailing list. I have an aversion to talking about some real life experiments on the public blog. I’m more likely to write about those things in the privacy of emails.

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