Why tell your story?
Every business owner has a story. Some are so well known that the business is the story.
As a leader in your business, your story inspires others. It identifies the core values of your brand. It makes your product or service memorable. It describes who you are at your heart and why your business matters. It connects you to others and helps you develop authentic relationships.
Maybe you think you don’t really have a story…
Maybe you think your life is too
What if it’s possible that you are using the wrong lens for viewing your business story?
Five Questions to Craft Your Story
- Where did you begin? Think about what life was like for you before your business. What were the changes that you hoped to create in yourself, in others or in the world? Tom’s shoes founder, Blake Mycoskie, started his business after visiting South America and witnessing the hardships experienced by children growing up without shoes. He began a business where every shoe you buy, provides a pair of shoes for children in need. What inspired you to start your business?
- What are the challenges that you have faced? This could be a physical, interpersonal or mental challenge. Perhaps you overcame confidence issues. Maybe you’ve had financial difficulties or health problems. Your story is how you have faced these issues and the lessons learned. Shawn Stevenson of the Model Health Show Podcast became a fitness and nutrition expert after overcoming a degenerative disc disease that doctors told him was incurable. He has gone on to inspire others to live a healthier life. What is a hardship that you overcame?
- What breaks your heart? It could be a need that you saw in your community or the world that touched your heart. Adam Braun started the for purpose organization, Pencils of Promise after a conversation with a child begging in India. When he asked the child what he wanted most in the world the children responded, “A pencil.” Based on that eye opening conversation, Braun started an organization that has now built 300 schools all over the world. What experience touched your heart and inspired your business?
- What makes you smile? What experience has made you laugh? I know this one sounds out of the box, but it doesn’t all have to be serious or gloom and doom to write an inspiring story. What is the craziest most laughable thing that has happened that you have also learned from? Erma Bombeck was a writer that took an ordinary suburban life and wrote about it in a way that found humor and amusement in the everyday. What is a crazy laughable experience that shaped your business?
- What is authentically you? What is something about yourself that you ignored or saw as a deficit but now recognize as an asset? Susan Cain tried for years to deny being an introvert. Once she embraced it, she researched and wrote the best-selling book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. What is the real you that no one knew that is at the core of your business?
What Do You Do With Your Story?
Now that you’ve identified your story… what do you do with it? There are lots of ways to use the story to brand your business but here are a few:
- Your about page or bio: Create a shortened version of your story to introduce yourself.
- Your trademark talk: This is a great way to start your talk and generate interest and connection
- Interviews: Whenever you are interviewed on podcasts, radio, TV
- Creating culture: Use your story and the mission of your business to inspire employees to do work that matters
- Inspiring customers: Encourage customers to participate and become part of the story through buying products, following your example or contributing in some way.
Your story matters and telling it should be at the heart of your business.
Want to read my whole story? You can find it on Amazon: