Your business story and knowing how to tell it and share it with colleagues is the talk of the Internet. Why? Who doesn’t like a story? Would you rather hear a story or a well-rehearsed elevator pitch? Give me a “Once upon a time…” any day of the week. Don’t take that too literally.
Your business story is what makes you unique. It shows a potential client what you bring to the table that the competition might not. Your business story is the real reason behind why you jumped into entrepreneurship. The business story is the impetus for everything you do. For example, prior to my breast cancer diagnosis, I worked 16-hour days, sometimes seven days a week and I still never seemed to get caught up. There was always some pressing task that I didn’t get to that day that I HAD to get to the next day. I didn’t sleep because I worried about how much I thought I’d left undone. I was in front of that computer all the time. To the exclusion of friends, family and my health.
Cancer came knocking and my life became consumed with oncologists, surgeries, treatment and bone-crunching and spirit-quashing physical and emotional roller coaster. What I learned during that time was that I had to work on the oncologists schedule, not the other way around. They didn’t care if I had a deadline or a client call. So, guess what?! I learned to work more efficiently. I got more work done in a shorter amount of time. I was more productive. I didn’t work 16 hours a day. I took weekends off. How did that happen? Because previously I wasn’t really working as hard as I thought I was. Oh, I was certainly working long hours, but they weren’t productive hours. There were days I got lost in Pinterest or on Facebook for hours to the exclusion of getting actual work done.
The bottom line.
My experience — my story — is what provides me a unique standpoint from which to talk with you about your time and goal management issues. It is what allows me to help you conquer the overwhelm. I have in-the-trenches experience.
How can you tell your business story?
Here are some items to consider when considering the power of story. Storytelling is the oldest and most long-lived method of communication. Is there any need to reinvent the wheel? I think not.
What will telling your business story do?
It will generate curiosity.
Just as writers leave you hanging at the end of a chapter so that you simply have to turn the page, your business story can do the same. It can leave a cliff hanger so your audience simply has to as, “What happens next?”
Share your differences.
Your story is as unique as you are and no two stories are alike. I have yet to work with a client who has the same business story as another client. Even though I know entrepreneurs who have had breast cancer, I have never met one who’s story is the same as mine. Your differences will set you apart.
Story telling is easy.
Okay, crafting your business story may take time and practice, BUT it’s easier to tell a story, I think, than it is to stand up and give an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch always feels very “selly-sell” to me and a story is more intriguing and less pressure to make me feel I have to buy.
Use your story as your brand.
Do you want to be known as the Storytelling Social Media Guru? Why not? Are you the Pet Groomer To The Stars? Love it! Do you consider yourself, “The Business Coach With The Midas Touch”? Tell us why and make it part of your business story brand.
Crafting Your Business Story
Storytelling is a strong business tool but you need to know how to use it with artful grace. If you’ve ever read fiction you know there are several elements that keep you reading even though you may not be consciously aware of those elements. When crafting your business story, keep these thoughts in mind.
Create a hero.
Your business hero doesn’t have to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he has to be the person at the center of the story who overcame something and that is why he is where he is today. Whad did you do to become the hero of your small business?
What obstacles did the hero face?
Unless you won the lottery on your first time trying to play it, chances are you didn’t wake up to a wheelbarrow of money and, like the rest of us, you have had to struggle to get where you are today. Share that struggle. Let us know the conflict, struggle and strife your hero faced. Did he get fired? Leave a fantatic job to strike out on his own and live off of ramen noodles for a year? Did she have a family who didn’t support her dream but she persevered? Share that conflict. Make us root for the hero.
Make it relevant.
If you have a story that has nothing to do with the business you’re in, you may want to craft a new one. If, for example, you’re a dog groomer and your story is all about your struggle with depression and being homeless or failing out of college or losing all of your money in a stock market downturn, you have to ask yourself, “How does this story relate to where I am and what I am doing today? How does my story show the relevance between what I do for a living and how I can help you?” Spend time with this step in the process.
Tell a story.
Remember, a story is a sequence of events with a beginning, a middle and an end and hopefully it is intriguing and keeps the listener on the edge of his or her seat. You didn’t have to scale the Alps to have a riveting story. The way in which you craft and share your story is what makes it a riveting listen for the audience.
Make it personal.
Many times when I am sharing my business story I will shift it a bit so that I gear it more toward my audience. If, for example, I am speaking to a group of business people about how to blog, then my time management and productivity story probably isn’t as relevant. However, my story on how I pursued the editor of the local newspaper until he gave me a chance to be a staff reporter and how I have been a writer for decades would be relevant. Make certain you have a story to fit the situation.
Do you have a business story?
Have you considered your story? How did you get to be the hero of your business story? What is it in your story that sets you apart from the competition? If you need help crafting a business story, drop me a line and we will find out what makes you the hero of your business and why people should work with you!