Most company websites have an “About Us” section describing the company. Most of those sections include a “Team” page, but it seems only a few actually tell you about the team. I think this is one of the most important pages on a site, especially for a startup, and it should be about your team, not about marketing text.
When you’re first starting a company, you want to look further along than you are. Will people use your product or hire you if you’re just one or two people in a garage working on a product? The website is a great way to project the company you want to be, so people seem to migrate to the generic team page that goes something like this:
“Awesomeco is a team of brilliant, dedicated people who have more than 20 years in combined experience in awesomness. We come from big companies and are great at what we do.”
This doesn’t actually tell you anything about the team. It tells you the company is small, unconfident, and not very good at sales. By failing to provide any specific this page just makes people more concerned about who is behind the organization.
My startup, Wallaby, is in financial services and we believe it is doubly important to help our users know who we are (same goes for security, medical, etc.). We were guilty of this generic statement in the beginning. Our launch site had this on the “About Us” page:
The Wallaby Team is an experienced group of payments, ad-tech and Internet professionals. We believe that it’s high time that consumers get back in control of their financial lives. Our goal is to help consumers simplify their lives and save money through our financial products.
As we started to work with real customers and think about how we could help them trust us with making financial decisions for them and storing their financial data, we decided to be honest about who we are.
It’s true we’re a team of less than 10 people. It’s true that not everyone has 20 years of financial services experience. It’s also true that we work hard, are real people with real experience, and have meaningful backgrounds.
We decided to just open up about this and make it easy to figure us out. The reaction has been great.
Our new team page, which we launched just over one year ago is simple and clear. We thought pretty hard about the key elements:
- Clear statement of our mission: “Team Wallaby is dedicated to building an amazing payments experience”
- A photo of our team at work in our actual building
- A complete list of the team, in alphabetical order
- Photos of the team that are professionally taken
- A fun fake title for everyone that is relevant to their day job, but not boring (excluding the CEO/CTO, because those always come out lame, see “Chief Dreamer,” “Ninja,” etc.)
- A short (two to five words) description of the person to give some flavor
- Links to the person’s LinkedIn and Twitter profiles so you can learn more about him or her
- An invite for prospective employees to reach us: “Join Team Wallaby and help us make payments awesome.”
We know this works because of the great feedback and high-quality résumé flow we get off this page. People love:
- that managers aren’t first and aside from the founders, levels aren’t mentioned
- that they get a sense of people. One customer e-mailed me to say that Maria, our Community Manager, really is a “Customer Service Queen” (she is!)
- People get what we’re about. Many applications come in saying that the person wants to “make payments awesome”
We also know that we are and appear solid. We have a number of partnership deals, with companies large and small, public and private. Every client and prospective client can read this page and none have said they worry about the team or who we are.
When user’s e-mail me to ask why they should trust me with their data, I let them know about our credentials (PCI Level 1 Audit, investors, etc), but also I let them know they can see who we are and make their own decision.
I am immensely proud of what our small team has done over the past two years and I want to make sure everyone can see who we are, what we do, and why we do it.
Be proud; have a team page that actually says something about your team.