It’s quite clear why some of the top business incubators worldwide today gives workshops on startup storytelling. Your ideas won’t sell themselves. If you don’t know how to effectively communicate a vision, whether it be to customers or a possible investor, your product itself won’t be enough to stand out from the competition.
Startup Storytelling Provides an Experience
Experiences matter to people. In an earlier post on storytelling in financial services we explored the importance of this experience where there is no tangible product. The emphasis in promoting and marketing a product has evolved away from facts in order to embrace a vast array of human experiences as a result of the development of technology and the enormous expansion of social media over the last fifteen years. It is crucial how you close the gap between your product and these experiences.
One of the great examples of evolving from an idea to startup storytelling is TOMS.
After experiencing the tragic reality of children in a small hamlet while travelling the world, Blake Mycoskie came up with an idea for how to assist. Once put into practise, his concept not only gave children all across the world much-needed shoes, but also brought stakeholders together and established TOMS as a household name.
Why does a good tale sell?
Human nature has a built-in preference for telling stories.
Since the beginning of time, people have created a variety of ways to tell stories in order to communicate, inspire, and, more precisely, to move other people to action. Whatever the overarching objective of your startup may be, you must take into account certain facets of the human condition while crafting your message.
Many of the advertisements you encounter every day while walking down the street or scrolling through YouTube videos use this rhetoric. This is due to the fact that discovering the most crucial aspects of the human psyche requires probing the audience you hope to engage by using the appropriate questions.
Entrepreneurs need to be good storytellers
If you think about the startup process then so much of it relies on the story that is being told. As the entrepreneur you might start with creating a story in your mind about the business.
If you have read any of Richard Branson’s books on the story of Virgin, you would have seen how he used storytelling in the early years to convince his friends to work for the business for free. Later on he talks about the power of stories in attracting artists to Virgin Records.
Your entrepreneurial story might not come naturally to you at first, but much like any other entrepreneurial tool, it will get easier with time, trial and error, and refinement. Eventually, it will become a potent tool in your toolbox.
The Influence of Stories
People who put their time or money into your business are, at the very least, investing in your story. Companies are positioned inside a narrative; they are not merely moments in time. People’s perceptions of that story will affect how they view your development and potential. If a company’s story paints a vivid future that its audience wants to be a part of, it can attract clients even at an extremely early stage.
Storytelling Will Encourage
Externally, stories can encourage important stakeholders—employees, investors, and customers—to support your business.
Entrepreneurial stories are becoming more significant to your clients. New values that are influencing purchasing are emerging as a new generation joins the workforce. For instance, 70% of millennials say they will spend more money with companies that help causes they are passionate about.
Similar changes are being observed in B2B purchases, where non-c-suite personnel now account for 81 percent of purchasing decisions.
You’ll quickly find that entrepreneurial storytelling is able to persuade stakeholders in a manner that growth charts never can if you master the art of delivering a compelling narrative.
Your Own Original Story
Your business story holds the key to gaining your consumers’ support and igniting your own personal passion and purpose.
Undoubtedly, starting a business is difficult, and reflecting on your personal story might help you remember why you started. Your story will be the only thing you turn to throughout time to serve as a reference point and steer your efforts.
Entrepreneurial stories help you comprehend where you’ve been, where you’re going, and most importantly, why you’re on the journey in the first place. You can make decisions and choose your future course using your story, or personal quest.
It’s not as difficult or frightening as it may seem to learn how to tell good stories, but you must start right away.
The Timing of Your Stories
It matters how, when, and where you communicate your story. When selling your tale, there are numerous aspects to take into account that contribute to a rich experience.
It is now much easier to spread your message through different media channels at little cost thanks to social media.
However, the first step in developing that message is to be aware of what you want to convey (vision) and who you want to convey it to (target audience).
When writing a story, be imaginative but keep it close to home.
What am I referring to here? Consider the emotions-related sensations and experiences we all share, such as the flavour of a home-cooked meal, visiting a friend who lives far away, hearing a child giggle, or smelling your significant other. The narratives that evoke the senses are the ones that stick with the audience.
Of course we know that there are many different types of entrepreneurial stories.
Building your entrepreneurial story requires you to start by identifying and outlining your fundamental components.
However, how you put these components together and communicate them to your audience counts.
You need your audience to be able to connect. Avoid overcomplicating it and losing them in the intricacies. To make your point remember, use real-world examples to demonstrate it. Be modest, acknowledge your troubles and obstacles, and understand that maintaining your ideals is much more essential than being perfect.
We’re ready to explore the archetypes of the entrepreneurial story and how they can help you create your business now that you have your building blocks and a few reminders to keep in mind.
While you wait, examine your own story and note the major pillars that supported it. The protagonist. Why did they do it? What did they accomplish along the way, though?
The talking points that advance their message in front of an audience, even the most fundamental elements of photographs and videos, have to be made systematically.
Entrepreneurs must constantly keep in mind this when creating their stories, regardless of the social media platforms they choose to employ. Giving your message legitimacy and substance by framing the who, what, and how of your idea within a “narrative bubble” of this kind.
It’s crucial to have characters in the story. Social media makes it simple to give people the opportunity to share and give them the impression that they are a part of the greater picture you are trying to create. Sharing experiences is, after all, the main purpose of the online community because we all want to be a part of the broader picture.
Consider hashtags, likes, shares, photo competitions, influencers, and all the other subtleties of social media as your own personal virtual messenger pigeons. Your story will be spread across platforms by them. Your vision must be complete in order to be carried around and be instantly recognisable.
What constitutes a compelling entrepreneur story?
Entrepreneurial stories come in a wide variety of forms, each of which has a specific function and may be used in a variety of ways depending on the audience and the situation.
Using entrepreneurial stories might help your staff become more unified behind your company’s principles.
Creating a brand that sells is the final element of an startup stories. If you think about it, the majority of the stories you tell involves “selling” in some capacity.
This archetype’s goal is to develop meaning for the business or brand, that resonates with consumers, investors, partners and employees. Stories underpin all successful brands.
The organisation, the product, or the client all have the potential to be the hero in these stories. It depends on what your brand’s core values are. The challenge your brand overcomes is the antagonist. Your transformational building block is how your product improves your customer’s life.
As you’ve seen, the power of stories are determined by their capacity to persuade a particular audience and direct their behaviour in a particular manner.
One of the most significant stories you will ever tell is your entrepreneurial journey. Your success in several areas of your business will directly depend on your capacity to do this well.
Distribution of these stories and entrepreneurial storytelling go hand in hand.
Using Data in Your Storytelling
Storytelling with data is critical for conveying information clearly. Data analysis can assist your clients, investors or other stakeholders to make better decisions, which strengthens your working relationship with them.
Data storytelling is ideally suited (and scientifically validated) to assist marketers in gaining distinctive insights and improving communication. You may produce high-quality content that has an impact by incorporating data storytelling into your content strategy.
Technically, the brain interprets all information as data, but the most valuable information offers insight rather than just knowledge. This understanding encourages action and aids decision-making, making it the most significant.
Data storytelling is a potent tool to make connections and offer insight in a world where we are surrounded by data but eager for meaning. We gain—and may share—clarity and understanding by giving meaning and context to data that would otherwise exist only as numbers in an Excel spreadsheet.
This is quite advantageous for brands. Your marketing operation and the target audience will benefit as a result of your ability to draw insight from data and convey it through engaging tales.
This is a way to stand out to your audience since they are looking for content that will help them learn more, solve problems, and navigate the world more effectively. Your brand offers a genuine service to the target audience by distributing this content through data storytelling, establishing you as a reliable source.
Data storytelling for your brand may direct how you work and the choices you make, influencing everything from your whole content strategy to your most recent campaign to increase ROI.
Why WHEN is your secret sauce?
Knowing when to post a message and being aware of your surroundings when you do are two examples of timing.
Think strategically about the first one. Knowing your target is key. For instance, when are they most likely to receive your post on a certain social media platform?
So we can see that the creation and distribution of meaningful stories are crucial to the success of startups at a number of level. In other words, you must first sell the experience before you can sell the product.
It all comes down to motivating various audiences through emotionally engaging and relatable stories.