Go digging – uncover your Business Story
Is it necessary? Isn’t this just a creative thing?
People want connection. It’s that simple. We are aware by now that we are social animals. It’s a vital part of our well-being. In uncovering your Fab Business Story, there are three elements to consider:
a. Your Story is first.
This is because you need to know your values and the vision for your business. Your why you do what you do. Go a couple of steps deeper and look at your purpose and your personal life journey. This is where the real story can unfold. You don’t have to share the personal story, though for some people it’s essential for their work and business.
b. Your personal journey to get to where you are.
What decisions did you make? Remember the key moments that created a life change, or the opportunity arose, or the obvious choice for you to embark upon a business? It’s Important to review this. There will be lots of potential stories to harvest.
c. Your customer’s story
Who are they? What do they think? What do they want out of life? Research the challenges they have that your business can solve? This is business as usual.
Although the difference here I would suggest is – how can your story become a part of that unfolding connection? How does your story become a part of their story or vice versa?
Does your business need to foster a greater sense of ‘family,’ a way for others to connect and feel at home? Does it need to create an association, a professional cohort working together?
Let’s focus on Your Story First
The reason for putting this on the agenda first is because it so often gets overlooked, then the bones and flesh of your marketing can lose some really important elements. You are your best marketing copy! It may be that for you it’s just what you do, but getting conscious of that and understanding the value you bring (not just experience and skills, but personality is a key and your life journey)
It’s important to pull it out and realise the strength and value your story has to offer in your work and business.
It’s important to know your customers, but it’s way more important to know who you are and why you do what you do. You can create roots and a good foundation for your expertise. Then your messaging becomes naturally more powerful and compelling.
Often people come to the ‘know yourself well’ point further down the line, when they have grown in confidence in their business and products. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Just, why not do it at the beginning, and create confidence as part of your foundation? People’s stories change, but their fundamental values don’t. Therefore, you can expect your business story to change over time. A story has many chapters to it, so you can add to it as you and the business develop, but not lose its essential core reason for being.
Make it stand out. Be a proud owner of your story. Often people hesitate over this because it feels vulnerable to reveal yourself publicly. It’s also why using the techniques found in storytelling are great tools to help overcome this.
Understanding the flow of the market and its trends is important too, but do you know if you are an innovator, a conservative, a radical, a Leader, are charismatic, a supporter, a negotiator (to mention a few)?
Know who you are first, so you can focus on how you want to position yourself in relation to the market/segment you want to go into.
Then look at your customers. Who are they? What are they asking for? Digging deeper, what’s behind that? Next, you tailor your work, products, services to those customers. Are you aligned well with each other?
For example: (I am using a fictitious person here) Michael dresses really well. He loves fashion and is always looking at the next trends, visiting vintage fairs and fascinated with design. Michael always gets comments like, ‘Gosh, I’d love to dress like you,’ ‘What do you think would suit me?’
He wants to start up a business that helps men in their 30’s who have become a little drab in their clothes sense. Perhaps they are married, have children and getting out to shop for clothes is not high on the agenda. There isn’t any time, but they wish they could.
Michael’s expertise, and his potential client’s challenge, is a great fit for a business. His story could weave his joy of fashion into what he does and why he does it, along with why he got interested in fashion in the first place. His enthusiasm for his passion will enthuse his clients and come through the copy he delivers.
If the alignment is a great fit, the chances are you have a great story that will energise you and your clients.
You don’t know how rich you are with stories about you, your work as well as your business, as a result, you lose out on a gold mine of possible story material
In conclusion, making the connection between you, your story and your potential customer’s story, coupled with how you solve their problem with your service, is the alignment that creates a great conversation. In turn, that conversation turns into building trust, then customers.