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Entrepreneurs: Tell Me a Story

Entrepreneurs: Tell Me a Story

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

http://www.flickr.com/photos/portlandgeneralelectric/10352727575/

A few years ago I wrote that stories are a useful management tool.

Stories are also the best way to present your company and its products to the world.

The problem is that most founders are focused on the vision can’t tell the story—at least not the whole story.

Listen to Brooke Hammerling, founder of Brew Media Relations.

“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve met with early-stage companies, and they start by telling us their big vision. They say, ‘This is what we’re about and what we want to change.’ But when we ask them what they actually do, they can’t tell us. If you can’t answer that question, don’t do anything else until you can. Nothing else matters.”

I certainly don’t have Hammerling’s experience or knowledge, but I hear the same thing.

To start with, a vision isn’t a story—it’s an overview.

Usually a macro level overview drawn in sweeping strokes that quickly degenerates into a micro description of the technology.

Worse, the vision is almost always a product of the founder(s), often conceived before the company actually started, and enshrined as stated unless there’s a pivot.

It’s a unilateral view that often misses peripheral or subtle background factors that may yield better positioning.

But if not the founders, what’s a better approach? What’s the source of the story?

When Hammerling takes on a new client, the first thing she does is separate the key members of the team, including the investors. Then she fires questions at them about the product: “What are you? Why are you? Who are you? What problem are you solving and how are you solving it? Why should people care right now?” The idea is to hear what all of them say — where are the differences? Where are the overlaps? What do the people who care most about the company’s success think it is?

While founders can’t/shouldn’t create the story alone, everyone agrees nobody can provide the passion that must permeate the story like a founder.

When a product, message and strategy align with a founder who can deliver it all clearly and persuasively, there’s no telling how powerful that can be. 

So if you’re looking for a great strategy to develop your brand’s voice use the link; the information Hammerling shares will give you an excellent, workable framework to build upon.

Flickr image credit: portland general

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