One of my favourite assignments as a copywriter is to help entrepreneurs create the text to promote their new business, product or service. In my five years as a professional copywriter, I’ve helped clients as diverse as electricians, sales trainers, marketing companies, gourmet food shops, property developers, digital agencies, IT consultants and driving instructors to express what they offer in writing – usually at the early stage of building or planning the enterprise. The power of copywriting in that situation simply cannot be overestimated. There really is something almost magical about putting words on the page. It makes ideas real, generates commitment and focuses energy. Just by committing thoughts to paper, we can shape our futures. It’s easy to see how this benefits the entrepreneur as they plan or develop a business. Although most entrepreneurs generally feel positive and confident about their ideas, they sometimes find it hard to do them full justice on the page. Working from a different perspective – the outsider’s perspective – the copywriter can make sure that their client’s marketing pitches the offering to the right audience, with the right tone and the right emphasis.Sometimes, the appropriate ‘level’ for the message may be far ‘above’ the one expected or imagined by the entrepreneur. Sometimes, when they see what I’ve written, my clients respond ‘I could never have written that,’ or ‘I don’t recognise myself’. This type of feedback confirms that the entrepreneur may simply be too close to his or her product or business (whether emotionally or intellectually) to communicate its selling points effectively. If the business is a one-person startup enterprise, it’s easy to see why. Talking an idea through with a good copywriter (one who asks the client lots of questions) is a great way to road-test a new idea. ‘If we translated this concept into marketing messages,’ the entrepreneur is asking, ‘Would it fly? Would the proposition be consistent, compelling and capable of converting interest into sales?’ Here, the discipline of copywriting can act as a useful reality check. The dark side of confidence is over-confidence, and entrepreneurs are prone to many delusions and self-deceptions. But the copywriter cannot spin straw into gold; to make convincing copy, they can’t work with unclear, inconsistent or self-contradictory ideas. As part of the briefing process, the copywriter can help the entrepreneur to iron out all these tangles in their thinking – provided the copywriter is prepared to put some tough questions to the person who pays their bill.