An integral part of being a successful and impactful entrepreneur is in telling your story.
Storytelling isn’t just something you should do, but it’s a skill to cultivate. It’s how others connect to your mission and business as well as how you understand where you’ve been and are going.
Most of all, you can start telling your story now: no waiting until you’ve made it big.
Craft a Story That Keeps You Grounded
Your story isn’t just there to tell. While your story can be a great tool for generating leads and establishing a loyal customer base, it’s for your sake, too. Getting your story down and refined allows you to see your life in the full picture rather than in fragments. It grants you some level of distance; a chance to see your past, present, and potential.
Show What You're All About
Storytelling is essential to modern branding. More and more, people want to engage with businesses that they see as operating with authenticity and a greater, higher purpose than simply fulfilling a capitalist dream. They want to root for the businesses they like rather than passively consuming a product. Your story is the perfect place to show people what you’re all about and who you are as a real person. Help your audience understand and support you.
Your story should be something that anchors you to your business goals, your entrepreneurial ideals, and your core values.
Be Honest and a Smart Editor
We all have messy parts in our stories. On one hand, honesty and authenticity are key to crafting a truly resonant narrative. On the other hand, too much honesty can be detrimental. Be cognizant of which details are worth sharing and those that just muddy the waters. It’s not about hiding your past. It’s about maintaining a clear story. Be honest about your shortcomings without oversharing! You want people to be able to focus on the mission and message behind your story – not the salacious details.
Tell the “whole” story as it is in reality – not overblown, not overemotional, and not too clinical.
Keep It Concise
Nothing is worse than a story that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Be sure you have a crescendo in mind. Not necessarily an end, because ideally, your entrepreneurial story is ongoing and ever-changing. Be able to deliver an “elevator pitch” version of your story. Write down the essential points from beginning to the “end” in order. Each point should build on the last towards a cohesive message.
Authenticity Over Shock Value
Emotion is a key element in any good story. We want to feel something! While pathos shouldn’t be the only thing your narrative hinges on, you want your audience to be as involved and engaged as possible. That means that need to be invited into your narrative as active participants. They should be able to empathize with the main character – you – and see themselves in your struggles and triumphs.
By showing your audience the ways that you are like they are – a person with similar hopes, dreams, and ambitions – the more willing they are to listen and support you. That relational element is what inspires and ignites passion.
Focus on What Makes Your Journey Unique
You might think that your story isn’t worth telling until you’re famous, until you’ve made your first million, or once you’ve reached some untold echelons of excellence. Hear this: you don’t. Sometimes the most impactful stories don’t come from the guys on top: they come from the underdogs.
Don’t be ashamed of your own authentic story. You don’t need to make more of yourself or your business. Instead, make much of your mission.
You are in a unique position to speak to and resonate with your audience. The trials and challenges you’ve faced may mean more to others than you could possibly anticipate. So share those parts of your story. Include the setbacks and failures.
Instead of presenting yourself as a business guru with all the answers, be the real you: the one making mistakes, overcoming personal struggles, and striving to be your best self through your business – not just for your sake, but for a better world.