An important part of a successful business is connecting with your audience. One way to connect is to share your business story with your audience. Just like any good Marvel superhero, you, too, have a fascinating origin and evolution story. Like a superhero, you’ve made mistakes and have grown from those mistakes. Meanwhile, you go above and beyond to help others with your business. These are the stories that compel audiences to fall in love with superheroes, and these are the stories that will make your audience want to join your team.
Reveal Your Business Origin Story
Whether your inherited your business or dug it out of the earth with your bare hands, your business has an origin story. Someone had a nugget of an idea and grew it into a solution for its client’s or its customer’s problems. This is a great story to start with. In telling it, answer these questions:
What was the problem that inspired you (or whoever started the business) to create it?
How did you (or whomever) go about creating it?
Audiences love to know how something came about. Don’t be shy about highlighting challenges or obstacles you had to overcome; a good story will involve conflict.
Connect Emotions to Your Business Story
Even if your business origin story doesn’t involve physical conflict, it no doubt has emotional conflict. Even if you had investors lined up to fund your business or you had an unlimited source of funds to launch your concept, you still had some concerns about whether or not it would work. What were your fears during those sleepless hours when things were getting started? Those are the aspects of your origin story your audience will relate to.
Show How Your Business Solves Audience Problems
Another important part of your business story is what you do—how do you solve your audience’s problem(s)? It doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, a sponsored ad on Facebook recently showed a new laundry product that eliminates use of chemicals in the laundry cleaning process. For customers concerned about chemicals in their laundry, this product solves a problem.
Tap Your Employees to Share Their Stories
Employee stories are an incredibly valuable part of your business story. If you are a good company that treats your employees right, then ask them to share their stories. Use social media, your website, your e-mail newsletter, etc. to let them share. Employees can share stories about:
How they came to find your business
What they love about being on your team
Why they love your customers
What they like about your brand
Think innovatively about what your employees can contribute to the brand story, and then encourage them to share it widely.
Show Your Audience’s Role in Your Business Story
Your audience is an essential part of your business story. New audiences emerge as the result of your existing audience revealing how they complete your story. This is often explained as “make the audience the hero of your story”, but what does that mean?
You went into business to solve a problem for your audience. This means the focus of the story is and should be on your audience. As you tell your story starting from problem to happy resolution, show how your audience is able to accomplish their goals, achieve their dreams, overcome obstacles—whatever it is, as a result of working with you. Existing members of your audience sharing their stories will serve as social proof for your business story.
Be Honest about Where You Are Right Now
You’ve shared your origin story. You’ve gotten your audience and your employees involved…what’s next? Now share your current business story with your audience. What’s your focus? How has your business grown? What are most proud of?
This part of your business story is a great opportunity to use data as well as video in bringing people in to your business story in media res or “in the middle of things”.
Shed the Spotlight on Charitable Organizations You Support
One of the most rewarding things about running a successful business and interacting with an audience is that you are in a position to do good for others. If your business supports or works closely with a charity, then highlight that organization while revealing to your audience why that charity is so near and dear to your heart.
Give Audiences a Visual of Your Workspace
No matter where you are or your audience, you have a home base, whether you’re hand-sewing hats out of a cool garage shop or you have a corner coffee shop or you ride around in a van all day, there’s a space where the magic happens. Grab your camera and invite your audience into your day-to-day workspace. It’s an important part of your business story that allows audiences to feel like they’re right there with you.
Champion Your Partners and Your Community
While your business may have started out as you and a dream and an idea on a napkin, it has and will evolve. You’ll end up working with people in your community that help your business grow. If you’re in the nascent stages of your business, start by sharing the story about how your daily coffee from the local coffee shop keeps you sane. Later you can talk about how the local printer or UPS service or whatever is integral to your business jiving and striving.
Look Ahead to the Future
Lastly, your business story has a future. You’ve talked about the past and the present, so why not look ahead, too. Tell your audience where you want to end up. Consult your one, three, and five-year plans to ensure you’re on the right track. Not only will telling this part of your business story help keep you accountable to even the loftiest of goals, but it will also encourage your audience to want to support you, to ensure you achieve your goals.
One of the best things about storytelling is that it creates bonds between the storyteller and the reader so that the reader becomes part of the story, too. By boldly and openly sharing your business story across social media, newsletter, and on your website in various mediums such as writing, images, and videos, you are creating a powerful bond with the strength to stand the test of time.
As you can see, we at The Storyteller Agency believe in the power of stories. We believe this because stories work, which is also why we practice what we preach. If you are a business and want help finding your business story and reaching your audience with it, click here to contact us, and let us share our passion with you.