Know Your Story: How Entrepreneurs Can Show Themselves for Win-Win

Sep 10, 2019

Do you know your own story? Do you know how you got to where you’re at now? If you’re an entrepreneur, do you know the story behind your business? Why is this important? Because we buy from and invest in businesses that we know, like and trust. And that trust is built over time as part of your brand promise.

This morning I had a the privilege of listening to @Emma Hannigan of Curly Top Media, speaking about ‘Knowing Your Story to Grow Your Business.’ Emma reminded us that ‘stories are synonymous with the people behind them.’ Think Harpo Studios, Virgin, Facebook. Stories are everywhere on social media. Even large corporates are harnessing the magic of stories. Watch the latest banking adverts on TV.

I’ll share with you some key remarks that Emma made, that are still sinking in.

1. People deal with people, not businesses

We need an element of vulnerability in our storytelling. People don’t care so much about your accolades and degrees. They care about what you stand for and what you’re trying to accomplish.

2. Stories much be genuine

People can smell a fake story a mile away and a mediocre story that’s true is better than a spell-bounding one that is fake. We want authenticity and vulnerability. As @Brené Brown says, “Stories are data with soul. “ So show a bit of yourself in your pitch, show a whole lot. People want your emotion, not just the information.

3. Work on the ‘About Us’ section of your website

We all do research online. Apparently people spend more time on this page than any other page, so this is where your story should appear. Viewers want to get to know you before they meet you. They’re deciding whether or not they like and trust you. They cannot make a decision by looking at product categories and service delivery information.

4. Ask Yourself the Key Questions?

Emma handed us a non-exhaustive list of questions to help form the story. Some of these included-How did your business get started? How and where did you get the idea from? Why do you do what you do? What’s your passion? What’s your background? What do your customers say? What’s your vision? If you’re never thought about the answers, now’s the time? As Emma suggests, just get it down on paper. Then take time afterwards to edit and refine.

5. The Customer is the Hero of Your Story

This is especially powerful in storytelling. Imagine how compelling it would sound if you describe your product or service through the eyes of the customer. Emma suggests following the lifecycle of the customer from when they were fairly comfortable and secure in their world, wanted more, went through some challenges, built resilience, and returned to their initial position having changed. This is where you can mention how your product or service helped them.

So the next time you’re at a networking event, looking for a new supplier, meeting a potential new client or editing your website or LinkedIn profile, remember to tell your story. Tell it with heart so that people are interested in you, not just the data.