Are you a You or a We?

A quarter-century ago, when I started my business (in the days when nearly all websites were blue), I spent time in online groups that catered to the small-business crowd. I was looking for sound advice, but found little.

One conundrum really seemed to vex visitors to those sites. “When writing about my business, should I use ‘I’ or ‘we’?” There were intense arguments about this topic, and I see the same arguments today on sites that cater to budding entrepreneurs. So what is the answer?

In my opinion, it’s no big deal.

The right choice for your business depends on the image you need to portray to your customers and prospects. If they’re going to be more comfortable dealing with a larger company – or if your plans are to eventually hire a staff – use “we.” In my case, part of what differentiates my business is that I’m a one-man, home-based operation, which means my clients get the quality they need without the expensive overhead. Saying “I” reinforces that. I’m not trying to fool anyone into thinking I have a 50-person operation in my opulent global headquarters basement.

Be careful, though. What’s known as “the royal We” can make you sound a bit like Queen Victoria, and We are not amused.

If you’re still agonizing over the “we” or “I” argument, stop. Concentrate on something more important, such as what you’re going to do to make your business succeed. Believe me, the pronoun you select will pale in comparison to what you do for your customers.

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