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Why Entrepreneurs should master the art of storytelling

Entrepreneurs have to deal with many and different people – clients, employees, media, investors, vendors, etc. Different stakeholders have different interests and expectations. Therefore, as an entrepreneur you need to gauge other person’s interest and tell him/her that aspect of your story which excites him/ her most to get associated with you and your startup.

Entrepreneurs-storytellers-stagephod

Clients

Synopsis – Your story should revolve around client benefits and how will you solve his problem.

Clients are those people who are paying or who will eventually pay for your service/ product. One common mistake which entrepreneurs make is that they brag about their qualification/ experience/ knowledge or technology they have made. Honestly clients do not care about your qualification, your struggle, your technology, etc. He/she is only worried about the solution which he will be getting and is it worth the amount he/she is paying.

Do you (as a typical user not as an entrepreneur) care who is running Ola or redbus or flipkart or do you know what is their technology stack? What you care about is that ride which you booked through Ola/ Uber should be hassle free. As a recruiter/ employer you do not give a damn about naukri.com’s technology etc. but your main interest is in hiring the right candidate.

So you need to tell clients the value / benefit/ solution you are bringing/ adding in their life. You could use references of previous clients in form of testimonials. You can also add credibility by mentioning media coverage. Last but not the least you should mention previous case studies/ success stories.

Tip – They are the reason you started your business. Never underestimate them and their expectations

Investors

Synopsis – your story should revolve around your team’s execution capabilities and big/ complex problem you are trying to solve.

There is a saying in the startup world that – don’t sell your solution to investors, instead sell your solutions to your clients, come back and sell ‘number of clients’ to investors. Yes, so investors care about traction. This is the foremost thing in their mind. They do care about your team’s qualification/ experience/ knowledge but more importantly your execution capabilities, ability/ willingness to learn/ adapt/ implement etc. One thing to which they do not give much weightage is your media coverage.

Tip – Do not waste time in looking for investors unless you’ve got some traction.

Employees

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

Early stage employees join you because they are passionate about what you are doing/ building and they want to be part of next big thing. Founders could be the sole 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 you does not matter as after some time they know all your flaws as a startup or in your technology so bragging about these things all the time will not help either. What excites them is the growth which they see happening over the period time. A major client win, media coverage, investors coming on board, achieving a milestone and your (founder’s) energy keep them interested in game. Never never let them feel that you as a founder losing it.

Tip – Be friendly and show humility. You are because of them and not the other way around.

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

Media

Synopsis – your story should have emotions/ sentiments

They do not care about your solution/ technology/ product so do not sell them your service or benefits. What they care about is your story, your struggle, your emotions, people who have invested in you, people/ brands who are associated with you. So tell them those things which make an interesting story for their viewers/ audience/ readers.

Tip – Traditional media guys do not understand technology completely but love if you (as a modern day entrepreneur) are involved in some high end technology. So do not be shy in throwing jargons around technology 🙂

Vendors and partners

Synopsis – your story should make them believe that you are a stable/ big/ reputed business entity.

Vendors are those people who are looking to get business from you and everyone likes a long term business association. Partners are those people/ entities who have same target set of users/ clients but different services/ products and you both can help each other on mutual benefit basis. So what both these entities like to see is that as a business organization how stable and big you are. They (like clients) 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, about your employee strength etc.

Tip – Do not oversell. Do not try to exploit.

Society – Do not tell them anything as they do not care, do not understand and do not want to understand. Basically not very much interested in your startup. It is better to ignore them and also be ignored by them 🙂

Please note – by telling different stories to different people, we are not recommending you to act over-smart or to disrespect these people’s intelligence. The only way people will associate with you is if you tell them an honest story about your intentions and targets.

Follow me – @losesaga/ @Stagephod

 

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8 Comments

  1. interesting piece nikhilesh. i really like how you’ve broken down the kinds of storytelling required 🙂

    (by now everyone knows that storytelling is a must – but it’s refreshing to hear how you need to change it for different folks!)

    pls add your first published link and twitter handle at the end.

  2. Thanks Asha!

    Have done that.

  3. Worth reading 🙂
    Thanks Nikhilesh..
    Good points to end post.. society and authenticity.

    Thanks Asha for letting us know through Newsletter 🙂

  4. You know, I have a slightly different view.

    If you can just CLEARLY crystallise on WHY you are doing what you are doing, the story believe it or not becomes credible for everyone…

  5. Thanks Megharaj !!

  6. Yep right thats important.

    What I am trying to say here is that our entire story is not relevant for every stake holder so we have to customize it as per our audience.  

  7. Nicely written Nikhilesh. Everyone wants to be a part of a bigger picture, we need to show them. Same context with different content.

  8. Thanks Amit!!

    Yep ‘Same context but different content for different stakeholder’ is the line 🙂

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