When I was a trainee reporter, the job I dreaded was writing business stories. Piles of impenetrable press releases were handed over to me.
Was a new financial director joining the company interesting? People seemed to think so. Would people know what a whole load of industry jargon meant? I didn’t. But hey, this was business and this was how people spoke. I endeavoured to find stories among the very bland announcements.
I assumed business was dull. I pursued politics instead and went on to report on local government where stories were in constant supply. Thirteen years later, I became a business person.
I started going to networking events and found myself in conversations with people for whom the world of newspapers was just as baffling as I had found the world of business. What did people want to know? What made a story?
I would be having an interesting chat with someone about their work, but then they would change the subject and pitch me a story like one of the dull ones I used to dread. Why hadn’t they asked if there was a story in the project they were just telling me about? Maybe, I wondered, maybe the business pages don’t have to be boring. Maybe business owners, and the people marketing businesses, just don’t know how to talk about themselves.
And so I started talking about stories.
Businesses are full of stories because people are at the heart of every company, whether you are running a lifestyle business on your own, a family business, trying to build a Fortune 500 company, or are on a mission to change the world through a non-profit. You might have a high street store, hot desk in a coworking space, travel the world with your laptop or be sitting on your sofa, like I am now.
Your business has stories to tell and those stories are interesting. Why? Because they tell people about you, what you do, and how it can help them. Whatever your business, you are doing something people want to buy.
You might think a story needs to be ‘dazzling’. The new James Bond (whenever we finally get to see it) is an event because it is totally out of the ordinary.
But most stories are about people going about their everyday lives. For every James Bond, there are many more Love Actuallys. And we watch Love Actually time and time again. We love getting to know the characters and how each story ties in with the others.
It’s the same with your business. Your story is tied to your clients’ stories and the stories of your community, whether that’s people you work with, where you live, or your wider network.
You’re not fighting terrorists while riding a motorbike on top of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul but you are fighting for your clients. You’re solving their problems. You’re making their lives easier. You’re there when they need you.
If I could sum up the change I want to create with my business, it would be: no more boring business stories.
- Do you want to attract more of your ideal customers?
- Do you want to help others?
- Do you want to come up with more entrepreneurial ideas?
- Then you need to tell and listen to stories.
If you would like help telling your business story, get in touch with me.