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Why Entrepreneurs should master the art of storytelling

Entrepreneurs have to deal with people of different background – clients, employees, media, investors and vendors.

Everyone has different interest and expectations from you. Therefore, as an entrepreneur you need to gauge their interest and tell them your story in a way which excites them to get associated with you and your startup.

Let’s break it further on how you can try to target each one of them?

Telling Story to the Clients

Synopsis – Your story should revolve around your client’s benefit. And you must tell them a solution that will solve their problem.

Clients are your bread and butter. One common mistake which entrepreneurs make is that they brag about their qualifications, experience, knowledge and/or command over technology. Honestly clients do not care about your qualification, your struggle, your technology. They are only worried about a solution to their problem for which they are happy to pay.

For example: Do you ever care who is running Ola or redbus or flipkart or do you know what is their technology stack? You may know their names, but what you care most about is that ride which you booked through Ola or Uber and that your ride should be hassle free.

So you need to tell clients the value you bring to table, the benefits and the solution you are bringing on desk. You could use references of previous clients in form of testimonials. You can also add credibility by mentioning media coverages. And these are good to be bragged about but don’t tell anything to client which is not going to add value to them.

Tip – They are the reason you started your business. Do a thorough research about your target market, make a proper buyer persona and tell your story to your focused clients.

Pitching Story to Investors

Synopsis – Your story should revolve around the capital size of your target market and your team’s capabilities to solve a complex problem of this market.

There is a saying in startup world

“Don’t sell your solution to investors, instead sell your solutions to your clients, come back and sell ‘no of clients’ to investors”.

It’s true, investors care about traction. This is the foremost thing in their mind. They do care about why you are driven to make a product or you are solving this specific problem because you faced hurdles in your life and you want to change the world.

But for investors it is more important to judge your execution capabilities, ability and willingness to learn and adapt and implement your thought into the product.

Tip – Do not waste time in looking for investors unless you got some traction. You will always be on an investor’s wishlist if you have good number of prospect head count to show.

Story for Employees

Synopsis – Your employee story should be mainly around you (who will kill it) and other founders (who have killed it in the past).

Startup hiring is the most difficult job. And the success of your startup entirely depends on the team you are making in the process. Early stage employees join you because they are passionate about what you are building and they want to be part of a next big thing.

Founders could be another reason they join and stick with a startup. Your never dying passion, focus and execution will what actually make them stick. For them, which investors invested in your product doesn’t count much.

It also does not matter if you are a superhero in the media outside because after some time they know all about your flaws and weaknesses so bragging all good things about yourself all the time will not help.

What excites an employee is the growth which they see happening over the time period. A major client win, media coverage, investors coming on board, achieving a milestone and your (founder’s) energy keep them interested in game. Never ever let them feel that you as a founder are losing it.

Tip – Be friendly and be human. Be a leader and inspire them to take risk. Let them learn from you but do not teach.

Note – The story will be different once you start hiring more people like Co-founders/ senior level or creative people, middle management, junior guys. Then you have to similarly gauge a person’s interest and prepare a value proposition for her.

Media

Synopsis – Your story should have hooks. Remember, if your story is not sticky, it will not bring anyone to your product even if you are doing a high budget PR. A media story with emotion is always a hit.

A media person do not care about your solution, technology or product so do not sell them your service.

What they care about is your story, your struggle, your emotional breakthrough, your failures, people who have invested in you, brands who are associated with you and people who are following you. Tell them a story which is interesting for their audience.

Tip – Traditional media guys do not understand technology but love it if you are involved in some high end technology like Artificial Intelligence or Energy Saviour. So do not be shy in throwing jargons around technology.

Read how we acquired 100+ customers in five months.

Story for Vendors and Partners

Synopsis – Your story should make them believe that you are a stable and reputed business entity.

Vendors are those people who are looking to get a long term business association from you. Partners are those people who have same target set of users/clients but different services/ products and you both can become mutually beneficial.

So what both these entities like to see in you is your stability, trust and if you are mature enough with the industry rules or not. They do not care about your qualification and technology but how grand your company is and whether they will get good and repeat business/ users from you or not. So tell them that you are here to stay. Tell them about your media mentions and your team strength.

Tip – Do not oversell and do not try to exploit your partners.

Society

Do not tell them anything as they do not care, do not understand and do not want to understand. Have few friends who understand your work. And avoid those who does not show any interest in your idea. It is better to ignore them and also be ignored by them.

Please note, I am not recommending you to tell lie to people. What I am saying is that – you can choose to tell your story in a way others are conditioned to listen. But do not act over-smart. Do not pretend to be superhuman. Respect other people’s intelligence and give them a chance to share their story with you. The only way people will associate with you is if you tell them an honest story about your intentions and targets and listen to what they have to share with you.

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