You want to have a great business. You have taken those important first steps: incorporated your company, hired (or partnered with) the right people, developed a great product, created a killer website…but you probably have missed one important task, which is:
Sharing the story of your company
The response to this might be “Are you kidding me???? I’m working 18 hours a day to get this thing off the ground! Do you think I have time for storytelling?”
Well, I know you don’t have time for it, but I think it is really important that you make time. The story of your business is the story of your personal odyssey. Think of all the great chefs who are inspired to open restaurants by the passion for cooking they learned in their mothers’ kitchens. But telling the story goes beyond a few happy memories. It is important and these are the reasons why:
1. Every person, and every business, has a story.
The way you frame the narrative of what your business is will allow you to understand what you truly want it to be. Your true objectives will be more visible to you. You will be operating from deeper motivation, which will make you more effective. The lore of Nike begins with Phil Knight trying to make a better shoe for the runners of the University of Oregon using a waffle iron.
2. Your perspective affects your success.
Do you see problems as opportunities? Or will allow yourself to break down at the first sign of trouble? The great Indian entrepreneur Rakesh Kapoor knew he could overcome adversity when he understood his own willingness to endure (literally) bitter pills for his health. Frame your story so that you are always going forward!
3. Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end.
And so does every business. Your startup is still at the beginning, but how you shape the early days will be important in understanding what you want the middle and even the end to be. Mark Zuckerberg was a shy guy but set up The Facebook at Harvard. He wanted to meet girls. The success that followed that simple objective is legendary.
4. Let others share your vision.
Whether they are investors, employees, suppliers or customers they are elements in your success. Understanding the story that you present may inspire them to share your positive outlook and even your passion.
In short, you need to tell the story of your business because it will help you understand why you are doing this particular business, at this particular time. The story of your business will help you understand what your goals and how to reach them. And finally, your story, if it is told with depth and sincerity, will invite other people to join you in your venture, as investors, employees, suppliers or customers, and help them feel confident that they have made a wise choice in backing you!
Once you know what your story is, where and how do you tell it? Well…everywhere and in every way. Tell it on your website (The ‘About Us’ section can be a little more interesting than listing your 17 advanced degrees), tell it on your blog, tell it in your advertising. Use it to make your marketing personal and dynamic. You may feel that this may be too personal, perhaps not professional enough. However, think of how many businesses are associated with one iconic figure. Charles Schwab and Donald Trump are two universally known persons deeply identified with their businesses.
At Inc. Plan we use many videos. Part of this is because they are an effective way to communicate. But more than that, we want our clients to be able to see and interact with a principal of the company. We want you to know who we are. We want to know who you are.