The importance of a blog for entrepreneurs

Writing is an important tool for entrepreneurs because it helps them clarify their thoughts, reach new people, and build their brand. We’ve had this blog for 4 months now. The blog has been a great decision not only for our business but for me personally. I’ve learned to love an important medium that I largely discounted and neglected for a long time. In my previous job, pitch pages and verbal explanation were the sole communication medium. Obviously, both of those mediums did not necessitate the power of good writing.

In verbal communication, people aren’t focusing fully on what you are saying. A lot of times people miss something you say, are just waiting to make another point, or have already turned off because they don’t like what you are saying. Writing helps minimize these issues by presenting a unified, structured and concise explanation of your thoughts. If you still manage to confuse them, they can stop and reread until they do. In addition, the mere writing down of your thoughts forces you to be structured and prioritize the key arguments. It’s not a coincidence that I’m able to talk more clearly and influentially about subjects that I’ve written about.

An ex-girlfriend had a tendency to write emails to me when she was upset. At the time, I thought it was because she was nervous about discussing it in person and I attributed her writing “habits” to her insecurities. In both personal and business situations, I’m now the one writing emails when I am dealing with difficult situations. It has helped resolve issues in a better way than trying to tiptoe around the issue in a verbal discussion.

I normally write about the subjects that I dealt with heavily during the previous week in order to clarify my thinking on them. In the past this has included my thinking about entrepreneurship, big decisions Chad and I have made, and how-to guides for overcoming technical challenges for technology startups. I could have just written all this to myself if it were just about clarifying my thoughts. Instead we’ve made it all public. The benefit is that it builds a following, helps us solicit feedback, and helps potential partners and supporters understand our thinking process. Some entrepreneurs have built huge followings that have helped increase the success of their core businesses. A few examples include: 37 signals, Brad Feld, Fred Wilson amongst many others. This week ~110 people will read our blog post and for 12 of them, it will be the first of our posts that they read. By being open, honest, and doling out our honest statistics, we’ve convinced readers to support our business and follow our progress.

Interestingly I often find myself asking people if they have a blog and read whatever they have written. The blogs my friends are about a lot of things, from volunteering in Africa to business learning from mentors:

Sebastien Desmarais – Downshift
Ahn Ei – Flatiron Flavor
Steve Lowtwait – The CampSteve Blogazine
Monika Runstrom – BLOG
Al Doan – Hard Knock MBA

Clearly some of my friends are not technology startup founders, but they all feel the act of regularly writing has improved their writing, thinking and decision making skills. Writing—and blogging—isn’t just reserved for founders but it is a powerful vehicle of expression and brand building that no entrepreneur should neglect.

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The importance of a blog for entrepreneurs

3 thoughts on “The importance of a blog for entrepreneurs

  1. When I saw Jason Fried of 37 Signals speak, he stressed the importance of good writing. He also said it is one of the top benchmarks he uses for new hires – finding employees who express themselves well through the written word.

    I think blogging is extremely important for startups. For me, it’s helped define more clearly my goals because if I’m going to state something publicly before, it better be something I can back up.

  2. Completely agree with your points above. I was always very curious about the blogging world and kept telling myself that “one day” I would try it. Now that I have finally dabbled in my first with Downshift, I realize that I have been missing out on a huge development opportunity. It’s a great way to communicate your experiences and ideas, improve your writing skills, and learn. And, it’s fun! Whether for business or social reasons, I highly recommend giving it a try.

  3. What a coincidence, I just started my own blog too.

    And have also been meaning to do one for years. I sort of did — here and there, on and off — but never committed to it.

    But now I have something I’m really getting behind.

    Sebastian, I just checked out your blog — really cool stuff, I sort of feel like we’ve got similar philosophies and are just fulfilling them in different ways.

    I’m adding you to my blogroll!

    Joel, if I have anything to do with it, I’ll be knocking at your door soon enough 😉

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