FOOLING OTHERS — OR YOURSELF?

When I started my business, I’d spend a lot of time reading through online forums and other small business advice sites. I found some good advice (along with a lot of really crappy stuff from self-styled experts).

One issue that came up again and again was whether the owners of these new businesses should refer to themselves as “I” or “we” when writing about the business in brochures and other materials. (Websites were still new enough that people weren’t agonizing over them.)

Participants became quite opinionated — often angrily so. But I think it was a lot of noise about nothing. My recommendation is to choose what’s comfortable, and go with it, as long as you’re not violating your field’s ethical standards. When I write about my company, I use “we” — and not because the dog and cat often share my office. That use of the royal “we” separates me, the writer, from the larger umbrella that’s my business.

When you come right down to it, it’s not a big deal, although the participants in those discussions acted as if it was. For their sakes, I hope that it wasn’t the toughest dilemma they’ll ever face as business owners.

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