Virgin’s Richard Branson is one of the UK’s best known business storytellers; his own character arc follows the classic 'quest' plot. From student mag, through record company to airline, telecoms, ballooning adventures, and potentially space travel for tourists, the story he shares tells us about him, his company, and the values of both. Branson's journey hasn't been classic 'rags to riches' by any stretch, but it reveals to investors, employees, and customers far more than any balance sheet or dry set of objectives ever could.
At home on Necker Island, Branson lights a fire-pit on the beach some evenings, to encourage stories to flow, alongside the ideas he knows that stories nurture.
Of course, you may not (yet) be able to afford 74 acres in the Caribbean, or a handcrafted fire-pit depicting the antics of your family and friends, but there’s still plenty to take from Branson’s belief in the power of story.
When you’re pitching your business, a compelling tale that sticks in your listener’s mind and gives them a reason to remember you is worth a fortune. Yes, your professional credentials are important and people will want confidence in your skill set. But using stories to demonstrate drive, determination, and a belief in what you are doing… Well that makes you so much more impactful than presenting bare facts.
In fiction it’s called ‘show not tell’. In business, it’s the difference between making the connection, closing the deal, persuading people to believe in you – or not.
Good storytelling gives your potential customers and partners the chance to understand and empathise. It explains why you do what you do, the passion that spurs you on each day (even on those days when you feel it would be easier to get a 9-5 and let someone else take the risks). Good storytelling gives people a reason to click through to your website, dial your number, and ultimately to shake your hand.
Over to you
Need to make the leap from presenting facts to telling compelling stories that get your audience hooked? Have you shared your story in the past and want to improve your impact? Come on over to Twitter and let us know.
Ready to tell your story?
Perhaps you have the nub of a story and need help to craft it into something that others will find compelling? Maybe you need help to find those nuggets that explain your business motivations? Or is it that you simply want to discover how business storytelling can make the difference and take your business to the next level?
We know it can be hard sometimes to figure out what your business story is, and feel confident about expressing it. It's why we developed our Lead, Influence, Inspire package; to support passionate business people who are ready for the challenge of engaging and inspiring their people and their customers, by telling their authentic stories. Find out more, and book your place – click here.
If you're not quite ready to sign up for the full Lead Influence, Inspire package, how about snapping up one of 5 FREE half-hour calls that Julia is offering this month, to explore how storytelling could help with a challenge your business is facing just now? Simply click the button below to leave your name and email address, telling us why you want a slot, and we'll be in touch!
Want to know our Storyteller?
Meet the author of this post, our talented Storyteller and Coach Julia Wheeler, here.
The Hello Potential story
We made this colour-rich video to tell the story of how Hello Potential got started in 2014, as the 'daughter' brand of successful consultancy firm, TSO Consulting Ltd. It was the scariest business leap we ever took; figuring out who we wanted to work with was the missing piece for us. Watch the whole story here and get to know us better.