Let’s be honest, the web is full of gobbledygook-filled mission statements, conjured up by committees with the only aim not to offend anybody. Big corporations can afford to be boring. Because they have tons of money to buy brand awareness.
But for small businesses and freelancers, life is different. We don’t have heaps of money, so we have to fascinate our audience and spark action.
A good business founding story takes readers on your journey, gives them a glimpse of who you are, and helps gain an emotional buy-in. Just reading your story makes people feel better already, so they start imagining how good it would be to work with you.
Understand why your version of your story is different.
Sure, many competitors are all trying to provide products and services to alleviate the same challenge. So, what makes your resolution to their conflict different? And why is that compelling?
This differentiation can stem from:
- Background: Why did you launch your startup?
- Beginning: How did you found your company?
- Process: How do you do things differently?
- Product: What does it do that none else can?
For example, there are plenty of other small business branding and marketing tools out there. Our differentiation is that we started from nothing. Every one of our customers is in the exact same position we once were. And just like our startup and small business owner customers, we’re a small business. So, we truly understand their challenges.
Stories emotionally connect people and create loyalty.
Storytelling connects us, helps us make sense of the world, and communicates our values and beliefs. A good story makes us think and feel, and speaks to us in ways that numbers, data, and presentation slides simply can’t.
The strongest stories tap into people’s emotions, genuinely connect with them, and help them believe in a business and what it stands for. Businesses should not be afraid to tell the full story – the struggles, conflicts, setbacks, successes, etc. to help people understand the passion and heart that went into creating and building the brand.
Long-term brand loyalty is created by businesses that understand this inherently human craving for connection, can wrap their vision into a beautiful and captivating story, and clearly communicate this story to their audience using an effective and heartfelt marketing strategy.
Your story will attract the audience that relates to you.
Statements about your product’s amazing capabilities or your service commitment, or testimonials about how awesome your company is, are generally not stories because they don’t relay events. They are just someone’s opinion about impact which still belong in marketing collateral, but won’t make you memorable.
If possible, every entrepreneur should craft a unique story, or tune their story, for different audiences, such as investors and customers, to convey your values and your commitment in their specific context. Add emotion, surprise, dialogue, detail, data, and other elements to make your story fresh and effective. Always close stories with succinct lessons and recommended actions.
A compelling story is best used as a “grabber” to get people’s attention and make your venture and brand memorable, but it doesn’t replace any of the new venture basics, such as the business plan, investor deck, or financial model. It can be your competitive advantage over peers and existing players, and it’s fun to do.
Tell me in the comments below: What’s the most important actionable insight you’re taking away from this article?
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