Every time I present someone with my business card they stop, take a peek at my title and chuckle. They’re either laughing at the Storyteller part…or the Social Media Swiss Army Knife part. Both describe what I do with True Voice Media on a daily basis. I’m no longer surprised by the reactions.
Stories Don’t Belong In Business
The prevailing thought in the business world is that storytelling is best reserved for reading bedtime tales to their children, or in whatever pseudonym J.K. Rowling is writing under these days. However, the company that you’ve either built from the ground up–or have been employed by for the last decade–must have a quite a riveting backstory.
What about those late nights where you worried about whether your product would ever work properly? What about the time that you fought to get that one meeting that changed the course of the company forever – what was that experience like?
People are curious; we want to be let in on the little secrets behind each company, each product, and each person. They don’t need to be the secret-formula, just enough to whet our appetites.
But Our History Is Boring
Well, perhaps it truly is, however, I doubt it. You’re in business today for a reason. You must provide some sort of real utility and value for a group of people in our small world, yes? Whatever your company does, be it cleaning services, construction, or dry, numerically-based financial work, your story is sitting at your feet. Today you are providing products and services for people that enable them to do something. Focus on that!
Your customers and clients have stories that have brought them to your door. Ask them why they’ve come to you. Others feeling the exact same issues will feel a strong sense of connection with these stories and come knocking at your door once they’ve seen how useful and resourceful you were for these folks. Your story is alive and it’s constantly evolving.
To Infinity & Beyond
Oh, wait, you mean you’re not closing your shop up for good tomorrow? So…your still pushing forward? Oh! Oh, okay, great! You know what that means, then? Your story is still being created! What an awesome thing to be aware of.
Think of this part of your story as one of those Create Your Own Endings books where if you skip to page 83, you sign the big client to that sweet contract and you get to move into that shiny new office space and hire new engineers. I’d invite you to take a peak at page 109 but let’s not go there; it’s a scary part of the book.
You have the chance to guide your company in direction that fits in line with how you want your story to unfold. It gives you the opportunity to ask what your company values most, how you want your customers to see you, and just why your brand does what it does? Your story becomes something of an aspiration and an inspiration. providing employees something to strive towards and allowing customers to keep you honest. Whenever something doesn’t match the goals of the story- and therefore the business- internal pieces need to be addressed.
So you see, your story is far from finished. You still have time to slay the dragon, become the hero, and get back to the kids in time to read them their favorite story of how mommy and daddy built an empire of many happy knights, ladies, and villagers. And they all lived happily-ever-after.