Everything is story. What?! If you’re a business owner you likely never think about your business story, do you? If you do, it’s probably in terms of, “I’m Susie and my company is XYZ and we do ABC for our clients and have been in business for 10 years.” I think I nodded off for a moment there. Because I am a former journalist I want to know WHO Susie is, WHY she does what she does, WHO she does it for, WHAT they get out of it and HOW she got her start and WHERE her clients are. What I don’t want is a recitation of the sentence above because it’s not telling me anything about her other than statistics.
Why am I in business for myself and why do I believe that All Words Matter, you can find that out here? How did breast cancer help me to become a productivity diva who helps other business owners gain a work life balance? Again, you can read about that. My story from journalist at a daily paper to business owner is a storied one and it is one that I share (in part) when I introduce myself at a networking event.
How does your business story help you connect with current and prospective clients? Here are some ways you can use the journalistic 5Ws and an H to share your story whether in real life in a networking event or sprinkled throughout your website, online and offline media:
- WHO are you really? Yes you have this degree and that degree and have been “in the industry” for decades, but who are you? What makes you passionate about what you do? What got you involved in your line of work when there are myriad other options available. I want to know what makes you tick.
- WHAT is it you will do for me? What pain points can you address? What solutions do you provide? What sets you apart from the competition? I sometimes find this last question a difficult one to answer. Of course you provide stellar customer service at a great price on the pre-determined deadlines, but what else sets you apart? Could it be your story? Your personality? I think so.
- WHEN should I start working with you? If I’ve been going it alone for years is is too late for me? Do I need you at the point of no return or can you and your service help me at any stage of my operation?
- WHERE do you operate? Are you online and can assist me no matter my geographic location? Do you have a store front? If so, do you offer online services or free shipping of goods? If you’re not in my back yard, why should I choose to work with you rather than someone with whom I can meet face-to-face?
- WHY do you do what you do? This goes along with the WHO you are. The WHY I do what I personally do is twofold: The newspaper I worked for closed and I realized I didn’t fit well into corporate America because I was accustomed to a loose work schedule and to being out of the office on assignment most of the day and I had a marketable skill; the reason I am so well-versed at time management is because once I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had to be better at it in order to keep my business viable and fight that fight. The WHY is the reason that makes you an expert (regardless of any fancy degrees!) in what you do.
- HOW can I work with you? How can you address my pain points? How do we begin a relationship? How will you assess whether we are a good fit and whether your goods and/or services can address my pain points?
Everything in life and business is story. What’s yours?