By Alexander Carbone
Crafting your story to be concise and clear is essential, especially if online selling is your only option. In this article, we provide some tips about how to tell your business’s story in a compelling way.
Storytelling is a critical skill for any entrepreneur. By the time you’ve launched your business, you’ve likely told your company’s story to a number of different people and in countless different ways. You have talked about the source of your inspiration, how you turned an idea into action, and your goals for the future. Each time you interact with a prospective partner, client or vendor, you’ve proudly told them about your journey to business ownership.
Think About the Problem You are Solving
All businesses set out to solve a problem, or else they will cease to exist. For example, ACCESS provides funding to aspiring entrepreneurs or existing entrepreneurs who are unable to secure funding from traditional sources. Your business is ultimately solving a problem – for someone or some entity – by providing a needed or desired product or service.
When telling your story, focus on what problem you are trying to solve. If you offer a product, why would someone buy that product? What challenge, problem, void or need is it solving? For example, if you sell clothing, you could emphasize the fact that the niche or market you cater to has been underserved in your community. Maybe you are trying to help your customers gain better access to a high quality, local products at a competitive price. In doing so, your story can double as marketing material, making it clear why a customer would want to buy from you.
Tailor to Your Audience
If you’ve been in business long enough, you’re probably used to telling your business’s story to prospective clients, partners, investors, distributors, vendors and maybe even the media. Each one requires a different version of your story. Don’t forget to take the needs and wants of each stakeholder into account as you craft your messaging. This will affect the words you use, the length of your message and what you focus on. For example, when speaking to prospective partners, talk about your potential for further expansion and growth, and the financial state of your business. As noted above, for customers, talk about the problem that you are solving for them.
However, it is also easy to fall into the trap of being inconsistent in the different versions of your story. If you do so, it could damage your brand, reputation and potential business performance. Be honest and genuine in your messaging, and make sure the core elements of your story – why you are running your business and how it can help others – ring true.
Don’t Forget About You
Your background, experiences and inspiration for starting your business are all critical parts of your story. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs are motivated to start a business by their own experiences, frustrations and challenges. When telling their stories, many small business owners focus too much on the business itself, forgetting about the most important asset – you! When telling the story of your business, whether it is online, in a LinkedIn bio, or for a website that is giving you coverage, don’t forget to add in the uniquely human element that is yourself.
Human connection is important, particularly for buyers who are looking to shop local and support small businesses. Offering information about your inspiration and motivations can be a great way to personalize your story and strengthen your connection with prospective customers.
Storytelling is a skill perfected over time and with practice. As you talk to various stakeholders about your business, don’t just tell them the what – remember to include the why. Treat every chance to talk about your small business as an opportunity to tell your story. After all, people tend to remember stories better than lectures, and if people remember your business, you will find yourself one step closer to financial success.
As always, if you are looking for help with your storytelling or other business skillsets, consider taking advantage of ACCESS’s Women’s Business Accelerator program or if you’re an ACCESS client, our business coaching program. You can find more information about our support for entrepreneurs here.