As a self-employed business owner, your company is probably at the forefront of your mind at all times. You’re incredibly excited about your business, and you want others to share in that excitement. When people ask you to tell them the story of your business, you may be quick to recount the long hours and endless headaches that came with getting your little startup off the ground and out of the red.
…personal aspects of your startup’s story are the things that make it unique…
If you think about it, however, there are probably much better things you could be talking about. People already understand that a new company is a fragile endeavor, and that hard work and long hours come with the territory. In fact, when it comes down to it, you’re probably never going to beat, “Two guys named Steve used to build computers in a garage…”
So then, the question is this, “What do you talk about?” While another story of a business that “made it” might not be as captivating to everyone else as it is to you, the unique challenges your business has faced and the solutions you came up with to overcome those challenges certainly will be. Your job is to make your story feel less like a sales pitch and more like a learning experience.
Was there a certain action you were taking that wound up being detrimental to the growth of your business? Share that! Has everyone who has listened to your secret time-saver exclaimed, “I’ve never thought of that!” By all means, tell everyone about it! These personal aspects of your startup’s story are the things that make it unique.
When you create value in someone else’s life, whether it’s personal motivation or a deeper understanding of business, you’re building credibility both for yourself and your company. If you approach your company’s history as something to be used for PR, you’re going to alienate the people who stand to benefit most from your experiences.
If, however, you use it as a teaching tool, and offer insights that will inspire others to take the same risks you did, while helping them avoid a few of the mistakes you made as well, then you will have truly accomplished something.
To help get you started, here are a few questions to ask yourself to help begin outlining your story:
- What’s one thing that you learned from someone else that helped you make your business successful?
- What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
- If you could go back and change one business decision, what would it be?
- Name three things you’ve had to deal with that you would have never thought about before they came up.
- How would you explain your business to your children or grandchildren?