Once upon a time, I was at an art fair in London. The space was filled with handmade bags, weirdly looking wooden plates and jewels. Everything looked beautiful and well lit but dreadfully useless.
So I passed by, showing little interest.
Until I came across a small table, tucked in an angle, only a handful of products on it and some brochures.
The banner laid on the table read mentioned something like: we create these materials in collaboration with women currently imprisoned.
I went closer, picked a flyer and noticed that it was the only table with a crowd around it. Everyone wanted to speak to the exhibitor.
Why was that?
She was the only one to have explained the story of her product and the purpose behind it.
And like me, others were drowned to it and wanted to learn more.
How do you go from having a story to actually incorporate it in your business?
If you have done this research online you probably came through a long list of templates and how-to articles that present you the different ways you can do write down or brand your story in your business.
But despite this, you still feel confused, your document is still blank and even if you have written a few words, they sound fabricated, weird, and inauthentic.
I want to reassure you, you are not incapable of embodying your story in the communication and marketing material of your business. You are simply missing a step, or ten to be precise.
Integrating your story in your business is not an activity that starts with a template. It is a process that starts offline, probably on a sofa or while staring at the sky or during a Zoom call. It’s about reflecting, accepting, owning, and deciding what to share. This is why the initial storytelling coaching session with my clients is usually a very in-depth, discovery, effective conversation.
If you are planning on creating authentic connections, building trust and develop a profitable business by sharing your story into it, start with the following ten steps.
10 steps to incorporate your story into your business
1. Know your story
“But I do know my story!” You might say. I’m not talking about your degrees, past experiences, people you have worked with. What I’m talking about is knowing the series of events in your life that led you to become an entrepreneur in your particular field. What moments, failures, confrontations, discoveries, passion have led you here?
Check this example from Ron Finley, the Gangsta Gardener
2. Own your story
During my storytelling coaching session, we go through three steps: knowing your story, owning your story, sharing your story. Owning your story means accepting the good, the bad and the ugly and come out the other side fully accepting your experience because it led to where you are now. Some people are comfortable sharing the outcome of this process, some use it to boost their confidence. That’s your choice.
But once you accept your story you can move on to find the style and voice that’s right for you.
How about how Arlan Hamilton owned her story:
3. Select what portion of your story you want to share
Not everything needs to be shared, so don’t overcomplicate and confuse your customers.
Decide which aspect or side of your story is relevant to your business and especially to describe why you are doing what you are doing. We are 360° beings made of stories but we don’t need all of them for our business.
Like many of us, founder of Good Good Good, Branden Harvey has done more than telling good stories but he focuses on what has brought him to found his company
4. Ask yourself “Is this helpful for the people I want to help”?
When you have found a story, ask yourself if that’s the one story that’s going to create an instant connection with your audience. Think about it as your introduction when you go to a party, you don’t just want to state your name, you want to connect to people who believe what you believe in. Check out how Simply Ami selects the one story that can make her relate to her customers
5. Transform what you call failures in learning moments
In the process of selecting your story focus on what you have perceived as failing moments because. You might not have realised it at the time but those were the moments you learned from most.
6. Share who you want to help and why
When you meet someone for the first time, you introduce yourself before sharing stories, anecdotes and jokes. You shall do that in your marketing and communication material, especially on your website. Check out how Yoni Luv Journey did it
7. Make sure your brand looks like you or what you stand for
You can tell your story, you can personalise your communication and marketing material even with the graphics: photos, videos, colours, fonts. What is more representative of yourself? Think about it this way, if someone will ever ask you the question “why have you used this colour or style?” Your elaborate questions will not be “because I like it” but “because it represents this and that…”
It’s Stella Rose screams personalisation
8. Perfection belongs to god and ballerinas not you
You will update your story several times throughout your entrepreneurial journey. That’s because you want to be clearer. Or maybe there’s something more or less you want to share. So don’t bang your head on the wall thinking the first time around has to be perfect because you’ll get stuck.
This is the number of times I have revisioned my about page and still, is not what I want it to be
9. Write as you speak
I still haven’t figured out why but when we are asked to share a story, many of us try to sound Shakespearean or super-formal. As if that’s what shows you are smart and capable. That will only make you sound fake.
Be you and write the way you speak. You want your story, your copies, your material to be an introduction to what customers and audience will find in person.
10. Accept critics by relevant people
Finally, ask for feedback from people who either know about business, storytelling and branding or from your possible clients. Don’t ask grandma, grandpa, the neighbours, if they are not your ideal customers or know more than you do about business, storytelling and branding their feedback might not be the most relevant.
Now breathe and go ahead and use that template you found online. And if you are feeling confused don’t waste time browsing, get in touch. I’m one call away.
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