How Doing Your Business History Allows You to Be of Service

History Smiths

We are all here to be of service. Of that I am 100% convinced. The questions of How? and For whom? are very personal, and that’s up to you. But I’d like to throw something into the mix.

In what way are you being of service by knowing and acting on your business history? Here are some thoughts that I HOPE will inspire you (and rather than publish a separate article, I’m putting it all here).

· You will expand the story of your community’s history.

Why? Because your business is an integral part of the communities you serve. No business or organization is an island. In my experience, every business/organization history I’ve done has led to new information about local or national history. Truly. Every single one.

· You will expand the history of your industry.

Every business history I’ve done has added to the knowledge of the industry I was investigating. As a historian, I will tell you that the “big picture” is often revealed through the lens of the “small picture,” the individual or individual business. Again, no one else will do your history but you, and you can add so much to the larger story when you do.

· You will reveal and tell untold stories.

You might not understand how important this is, but it is. You have no idea what you will find until you start digging, and no one will care more about your history than you. No one else will do it but you. You could very well uncover incredibly inspiring stories about entrepreneurs, inventors, women, veterans, activists – who knows? There are so many stories yet to be told. Be part of it! Do it!

· You can inspire young people.

Depending on the stories your history reveals, you could provide some inspiring role models for young people in your community to follow. Kids especially resonate to stories about overcoming obstacles to succeed. They want to know HOW. They want to know that they can do it too. And because you value history enough to do this work, you are sending a message to them as a leader in your community that history matters. THAT matters.

· You will be in service to your business or organization.

This work reveals all kinds of content for your PR and marketing. Your history is unique to you, and you will find great stuff to tell your story. You will attract media attention and new customers. Your existing customers will love you even more. Your reputation will skyrocket.

· You will make your team proud.

We all want to do work that makes us proud, and I promise you that doing and celebrating your history will make your team proud. One of my clients is celebrating their 100th anniversary right now, and their CEO just did a Powerpoint of their history at an all-staff meeting. They have an incredibly honorable history, and a founder’s story you could use to make a movie. Right now, my client’s staff is feeling very proud, very cocky, and enjoying the heck out of where they work. Do you think that works in my client’s favor???

· You will be honoring descendants and founders.

I really believe that this matters. No matter how old or young your company is, honoring people who went before you, living or dead, comes back to you in spades. You will receive the benefits from having done it, and they will be your biggest fans and promoters.

· You will pump much-needed resources into the historical community.

When you do your business history, you will be in touch with and, hopefully, forming strategic partnerships with the repositories of historical information – libraries, historical societies, and archives – you contact. They need you, and you need them. Yes, they need your check when you pay for photographs about your business history, for example, but I ask you to think about what they can do for you and what you can do for them as PARTNERS. Doing a business history is a terrific opportunity for wins on both sides and for forming long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.

· You will be sending a loud, clear, public message that History matters.

It does, it does, it does. And by doing your history, and letting “everyone” know about it, you will be providing leadership on the subject. Please do it! You don’t need a Ph.D. to be involved in history, just the desire.

Inspired? Terrific!

Please be in touch and let me know what you decide to do!