Writing Your Company History

Your customers, clients, investors and other stakeholders are more attracted to your company when they know your corporate narrative — when they know your company history — the journey your company took to get to where it is today: the challenges it faced; the successes it earned; the setbacks and disappointments it battled through.

A company history may be as dramatic, suspenseful and intriguing as any other narrative of courage, foresight and endurance.  The story of your company’s journey can be a powerful corporate marketing device. A well-produced coffee-table book which recounts your company history along with appropriate photographs, is an excellent public-relations tool; a wonderful gift for your valuable clients and stakeholders and always a great talking point with staff and newcomers.

A well-written narrative of your company’s evolution from start-up to the present can:

  • accurately preserve the corporate memory
  • narrate how the company developed to become the success it is today
  • help inspire and motivate your staff
  • build trust with your customers and clients
  • give your investors and other stakeholders confidence in the company
  • help your company attract talent
  • provide a true and accurate account of how the company’s managers steered it through change.

How to Write Your Company History

  1. Treat it as a project and select a senior person to oversee it.
  2. Look around for other company histories or similar to see which ones you like it terms of appearance, size, presentation and style.
  3. Select an experienced writer. (See details below about professional writer, John Harman).
  4. Set up a meeting with the writer to check if he or she is compatible with your company ethic and understands your requirements.
  5. Agree on a project plan with the writer:

    • Budget
    • Timeframe
    • Research required
    • People (inside and outside the company) to interview

  1. Agree on a broad outline of the story. The outline will be different in each case but may include elements such as:

    • Who founded the company?
    • How and why they started the company?
    • How has the company grown and evolved since its founding?
    • What setbacks and obstacles has the company encountered?
    • What have been the company’s biggest successes?
    • Who were the principal players in the company’s history and what is their story?
    • What is the company’s strategic mission today and how will it be achieved?

Writing the First and Subsequent Drafts

Have the writer complete an outline draft of your company history before he or she submits the first draft of every chapter as it is written.

Review and comment

Have the project manager and any other relevant people review and comment on the draft chapters.  Provide the comments for incorporation into the second drafts of the chapters.

After submission of all the second draft chapters, your company history should be close to what you expect. Everyone involved should review and comment on the entire book. Discuss and agree on the final revisions to the history with the writer.


Publish the history: in print and (maybe) online.

Publicise and promote your company history. Announce in your trade press and local newspapers that it has been published. Post it on your web site. Create links from your social media pages. Gift copies to your customers and shareholders.

Selecting an Experienced Writer

John Harman has been a professional writer all his working life. Apart from having a number of business novels published, he has also written many non-fiction books. These include company histories for organisations such as: a major Australian transport company; a cultured-pearl farming enterprise in Western Australia; a major construction and property development company in Perth. John’s background as a journalist in business and finance has given him an in-depth understanding of how businesses operate, while his knowledge of corporate affairs enables him to really enjoy helping companies capture and celebrate their unique stories.

To set up a meeting with John, call him at 0417 874 686 or email him at: john@johnharman.com