Guest post by Hub LA Member Michael Kass
As founders and entrepreneurs and generally smart people, you spend countless hours on business plans and market data. But the reality is that investors and supporters won’t care about your data unless you make them care. Unless you get them excited about what you can do for the community and for them. Unless you can connect them to the passion you have for whatever you’re setting out to accomplish, whether it’s solving world hunger or introducing a new dating app.
You have to connect before you convince. And story is the most powerful tool you have to connect with your community, whether it’s potential funders or team members.
Here are a few tips to help craft a strong story for your business:
Make it personal: Why are you so excited about this idea? What was the moment that set you on this path? Maybe you were frustrated about other services that didn’t meet your needs. Or you saw a better way to right a social injustice. Whatever that moment was, explore it, link it to where you are now.
Include conflict: What challenge(s) do you face? Every hero-whether it’s a person or a company-must overcome one or more obstacles. What are yours and how have you dealt with them?
Include your audience in the story: Marshall Ganz, arguably the father of modern grassroots community organizing and one of the architects of the 2008 Obama campaign, has a fantastic storytelling model. Every story, he says, must contain the story of ‘me,’ the story of ‘us’ and the story of ‘now.’ Once you’ve shared your passion, your reason for wanting to launch your endeavor, let the listener know how they are important to the project. Then let them know why now is the time to move forward. Because if there isn’t urgency…why bother?
Develop a clear picture of success: How will the world be different when you’ve succeeded? What will your impact be? Keep it specific. It’s much more effective to talk about how your work will impact a specific person then extrapolate than it is to communicate in generalities and percentages.
Keep it real: Authenticity is key to a strong story. Our brains are wired to suss out BS and nothing burns trust faster than an inauthentic story. Challenge yourself to stay authentic and vulnerable as you develop your story.
Stories create the lens through which we see the world. The best data in the world won’t convince someone of something that conflicts with their ‘story.’ So share your story-connect first, then blow them away with your data and plans and charts and graphs!