Hollywood grosses around $10 billion every year without breaking a sweat. This is because people love stories. While your business might not be jumping from a military jet, wearing spandex, or carrying a lightsaber, it still has a compelling story that, told well, will capture an audience.
Unfortunately, your business is one of millions in the world. In 2003 there were over 19M businesses in the US. In 2017 the number of businesses shot up to 30M. To stand out in the eyes of customers and potential investors, you have to make sure they know your unique story.
You can’t just talk about your business and expect applause or customers. You have to tell a story. A business story has to touch on:
- How you do business
- Why you do it, and
- Who you are.
The emphasis on each area will look different depending on who you are talking to, but the result should be the same: a compelling, memorable story that captivates your audience.
How You Do Business
When telling your customers about your business, touch on how your business “behaves.” Branding is not just about choosing colors and using a logo. It’s about demonstrating your values and exuding personality. It’s about letting your customers know who you are.
Using real-life examples of your business experiences is a great way to convey information about how you work. Highlight testimonials, reviews, and other positive feedback. Proof of how your business practices are working well can elevate your story from something of interest to something that improves your client conversion or ability to attract investors.
Why You Do Business
This is often the driving force behind a business and it’s worth sharing it with your customers or investors. Why you do business is often the part of a story that sets it apart from others in the market.
When people know why your business exists, they will feel like they are helping you achieve your goals, at the same time as they achieve theirs.
Who You Are
Your customers and investors will be interested in the background of your business and its leaders. Make sure you mention relevant experience, such as telling your clients that your surfboards are made by actual surfers, or that the CEO of your toy firm has eight kids.
Even background information that is not directly relevant to your industry will add color to your brand. It will make your firm more solid, more real, and more like a business with which people can identify.
All’s Well That Ends Well
In your business story, as in Hollywood movies, a satisfying ending is crucial. For businesses, a great conclusion is a call to action that leads customers or investors to do something with what you have told them.
For a customer, that could look like asking if they are interested in learning more. Don’t assume that people will email you or connect with you on social media without you asking. Ask if your visitor would like a product demonstration or if he or she is interested in a consultation. You might invite an investor to set up a further meeting or to discuss making an investment plan then and there.
If you have succeeded in making your audience feel emotionally connected to your business, extending that call to action makes use of that connection while it is still fresh.
Where to Tell Your Story
You can, of course, tell people about your business in person. This works particularly well when pitching to investors. While numbers may help seal the deal, investors are buying into your brand, passion, and personality. Having that person-to-person contact is an excellent way to drive the emotional connection that keeps people captivated and motivated to take action.
Your story is an incredibly important part of your marketing materials. Look at the ‘about’ page of your website. Is it a glorified list of dates and facts? Does it tell a compelling story that makes you:
a) proud to be part of it, and
b) excited to see where the company goes next?
In brochures and advertisements, online or offline, wherever you are presenting your company as a good choice for a potential customer or investor, use storytelling to set yourself apart from the crowd and build your tribe.