Video Credit: Jared Nichols, Jared Nichols Group
Why Your Business Needs to Tell a Compelling Story (and What Your Story Should Say)
Everyone has a story– a narrative of their life that describes who they are and how they have evolved into the person they are today. Your story illustrates what makes you, well, you: your past, your priorities, your choices, your values and your growth– how the people, events and experiences you have known and the choices you have made have shaped you.
How Your Story Helps You
For you, your story is a way of owning and declaring your unique value by saying, “This is who I am and how I got to be this way, and these are some of the things I know.” It’s a powerful affirmation of your worth.
Your story also helps you weave your individual experiences over time into a broader narrative that makes sense and that you can learn from– it helps you see how past decisions impacted later events and created future opportunities, so you can hopefully make good choices going forward.
It also gives you a justification for the difficulties you have encountered along the way– the hard times feel more like they are worth the struggle when you can see in hindsight how you grew from those experiences.
How Your Story Helps Others
For people who don’t know you, your story is powerful shorthand– it helps them quickly know and understand what you’re about, what you know and how you can help them. It also provides meaningful context for what you say and do, so they are less likely to misinterpret your actions or intentions.
For those who only know you superficially, your story gives valuable insight into what makes you tick on a deeper level– knowing the bare bones of what someone has done, like reading their resume, is not even close to understanding who they are.
Your story fills in some of the blanks and can help people know and connect with you in unexpected and rewarding ways.
Your Business Has a Story, Too
Just as every person has a story, so too does every business— no matter what you make or what service you provide, your business came to be for a reason (or reasons), and it continues to be for a reason (or reasons). The story of your business tells people why your business is here, and why you do what you do the way you do it.
How Does Telling a Compelling Story Help Your Business?
Your business’s story serves the same purposes as your personal story: It helps outsiders and insiders know your value, your approach and your purpose, so you can build meaningful relationships more quickly and serve everyone better which, in turn, serves you:
- Prospective customers get both a quick read on what you can do for them and a deeper understanding of why they should work with you instead of a competitor, which helps you build long-term relationships and ultimately make more sales.
- Employees see the big picture of your vision and your unique value proposition for your customers, so they can feel like a valued part of something bigger than themselves and can contribute in ways that further your business objectives.
- Suppliers understand their role in your operations and can seek new opportunities to support your mission and your growth.
- Investors know what their resources are being used to create and why you are worth their investment.
Having a compelling business story also benefits you in one very important way: It helps you focus on what really matters as you make decisions each day. With so many options and opportunities coming at you so quickly, it’s easy nowadays to get sidetracked and end up spending valuable time and resources going down a rabbit hole that sounded tempting at the time but doesn’t ultimately further your objectives.
Having a compelling story makes it easier to avoid the distractions and stay on-target so you are more likely to achieve your goals.
Your Business Story Certainly Helps In the Here and Now– But What You May Be Missing Is How It Will Help in the Future
There’s one aspect of having a compelling business story that many people don’t think about but should: Your story is about more than just the past— it’s also about the future. It’s a way to say, “Now that you know me and understand why I am the way I am, you should have a pretty good idea of what to look for and expect from me in the future.”
If your story is done right, it doesn’t just explain how you got to where you are; it provides insight into and guidance about what you will do one, five or 10 (or more) years from now. And in a fast-paced, rapidly changing world filled with uncertainty, that kind of insight is priceless– not because it makes the future predictable, but because it enables you to plan for and adapt to the unforeseeable in predictable ways, which inspires confidence in others that you (and they) will be able to successfully navigate whatever the future brings.
As Deep Futurist and Business Strategist Jared Nichols points out in the video above, there’s comfort in that, and a huge strategic advantage:
“People aren’t looking for certainty; they’re looking for inspiration. And rather than just giving them some off-the-shelf inspiration that’s maybe manufactured and has no real basis in reality, how much more important is it for us to be able to give people a compelling vision of the future that is rooted in real implications and real, actual things that are taking place today, and helping them understand what that might look like over 5 or 10 years?
“Being able to do that gives any person or organization the ability to start constructing a narrative about how the world is going to unfold, and more importantly, how they see themselves evolving along with that, to either anticipate the change or to meet a demand that hasn’t even arisen yet.”
A compelling story doesn’t just follow the breadcrumbs you trailed behind you; it serves as a guide star that lights the way forward in the darkness of future uncertainty.
Part of your job as you craft your business’s story is to share your light– your vision– with others, so they know they can walk with you on the path to the future with confidence.
Abiding Wealth Advisors provides Strategic Business Planning assistance to businesses in the Charlotte area and across North and South Carolina that want to plan wisely for a long and prosperous future. Learn more about our Strategic Business Planning services.