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3 Reasons Your Startups Story Is Fundamental

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A few weeks ago, in my corporate job, I was asked to participate in a sales training session that was all about creating compelling stories After completing the session I remembered times when my own founder / startup story attracted me to new clients.

When I go out to visit businesses every day, my entrepreneur journey connects me with my clients because they know that I have been in their shoes before and can give advice from my own personal experience. It’s very common for startups to be receiving advice from people who have only learned through traditional education, what it’s like to face a particular problem, but they have never actually faced it themselves. It’s this real world experience, told via your own personal story that attracts people to you.

So many times I have gone to visit a business and the problem that I came to talk to them about is completely forgotten because they are so engaged with my personal story and want every last detail – who am I to deprive them? There are times when I win business and I don’t even know why, yet all I can put it down to is that they feel connected to what I do in some way and that compelling stories are responsible for this.

1. Stories are the key to selling any businesses offering

Over the last few years, businesses have realised the importance of story telling which is why there has been such an increase in content marketing. When you’re trying to solve a solution for a customer, talking about products and benefits is just not powerful enough. When you tell a compelling story of a real life scenario that subtly highlights the benefits of your product, you instantly have a better chance of the prospective client understanding your value.

If you think about the marketing world for a minute, the most successful advertisements are the ones that tell a great story. This is no accident stories sell. In this current age where everybody is fighting for attention and people have very short attention spans, a story that is short, sharp, and succinct will be much more likely to sell your products or services than a page of features and benefits.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity”

2. Your compelling story makes it personal

Like any good story, it is important to show the conflict that has occurred on your journey. Don’t shy away from talking about the failures; in fact highlight them as much as possible. This will show that your story is human and make it even more personal. When someone shares with you a personal story, you’re drawn in and it allows you to experience the transfer of emotion that is so crucial in selling. As the founder of the business, your story is the most important of all. The reason you decided to be the 1% of people that start their own business is what your clients are interested in. Your story can build a bond with them that can only be broken if you don’t deliver what you say.

The public have a very high authenticity detector and when a company tells you that they can do something amazing, people just don’t believe it and think that it’s hype. When a company tells their audience through a personal story, the response is totally different. The story must be true though and the moment people feel that any part of it is made up; your credibility is lost forever.

The advantage that you have over corporates in this world of storytelling is that the moment they want to tell a story, it has to go through corporate affairs for weeks and weeks, who will usually end up censoring most of the good content and leaving you with something that sounds bland, for fear that if the real story is told, their public image might be tarnished. Failure to omit the negative parts of the story takes away the personal aspect, which is needed to connect to your customers.Your story highlights why you are different to everyone else.

If you want to know how to deliver a great story to a corporate then read the Thankyou Group advice, 

 “Great stories happen to those who can tell them”

3. Your story highlights why you are different to everyone else

One of the hardest things to do in the crowded, modern business world is to stand out. If you can work on your compelling story, this is a way for your startup to stand out and make people remember who you are. At the end of the day, if your startup helps business with their accounting software needs, no one will remember this when they are out at the pub on a Friday night talking to other business owners. What they will remember is the story of how your business came about and why you do what you do.

Think back to the last time you told your friends about a new smartphone app. Was the reason you told them about it because you heard an interesting story about the app? When I started telling my corporate friends about Uber, it was because of the adversity they were facing in the taxi industry and how they overcame it. I didn’t tell people about it because I found another way to book a taxi.

If you think about other startups in your industry, the chance of them having the exact same compelling story as you is very unlikely. The chance of another business having a product for the same market as yours is quite high. In the case of Steve Jobs, his story was always very compelling because he understood how to keep things simple. He didn’t talk about how an iPod could store 160gB of songs, he talked about how it could store 40,000 songs, which was much less technical and helped him talk to a broader audience.

To see just how many companies don’t understand the art of storytelling and why so many of them don’t stand out, just go to the about us page of 10 websites. You will notice that the vast majority have a very similar story and it’s very short. You should do the opposite and aim to tell as much of your story as you can with text, video and photos. To avoid making the mistake that cooperates make, focus on leaving out the jargon and cutting out the acronyms that most of your audience won’t get. This is what will set you apart.

If you want an amazing compelling story then listen to Wes Chapman talk about why he created A Human Life. It’s so powerful and inspiring that you instantly want to know more about his startup. Find a way to tell your story in the same way and you could have a similar effect. Wes leaves nothing out and talks about how he was molested and the struggles he had as a child.

I hope I opened your eyes a little to the power of storytelling and brought it front of mind for you. If you have a great compelling story then please share it in the comments section below.

Aussie Blogger with 500M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.com

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Startups

How to Avoid Startup Clichés and Buzzwords When Pitching Investors

Using jargon can make you sound like you’re trying to fill space instead of providing meaningful data

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How to pitch investors better

Entrepreneurs frequently seek startup funding through a variety of channels. Yet, none seem as challenging as successfully pitching to experienced investors. After all, investors are pressed for time and eager for opportunities. These characteristics make it challenging to motivate them, especially if you’re bombarding them with a pitch full of jargon. (more…)

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From Idea to Empire: 5 Power Moves for Your Startup to Thrive in Today’s Market

As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that understanding market dynamics and choosing the right business model are crucial

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How to thrive in the startup market in 2024

As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that understanding market dynamics and choosing the right business model are crucial.

A few months into the startup, I was quick to gauge why it is necessary to go beyond the nuances of operational efficiency and the art of sustaining a business amid growing competition.

Collaboration is key.

The HR and the recruiting teams work with departments to foster a culture of collaboration, but what’s indispensable to business performance is the sync between the marketing and sales teams. What we’d consider as entrepreneurs is the need to ensure seamless collaboration to predict and achieve business goals together. In turn, this will help secure long-term recurring revenue for the business.

Besides, entrepreneurs need to focus on revenue as they gear up to take their startup from $0 to $1 million. The journey is filled with critical decisions, from identifying your target customer base to choosing the right funding strategy.

So, what next?

Read on… because here are five practical, results-driven strategies that you as a founder can implement to make a mark in their industry.

#1. Embrace the Lean Methodology

What is lean methodology?

It is all about pivoting resources to create more value for customers with fewer resources. 

This principle encourages you to be more agile and allow rapid iteration based on customer feedback rather than spending years perfecting a product before it hits the market.

Want to implement it?

Here’s what you can do.

Build “Measure-Learn” Loop: What I did was develop a minimum viable product (MVP), a simple version of the product. You can do the same since it allows you to start the learning process as quickly as possible. After launching MVP, measure how customers use it and learn from their behaviors and feedback.

Here’s what I can recommend here:

  • Identify the core features that solve your customers’ primary needs and focus solely on those to develop your MVP.
  • Know the feedback channels where early users can communicate their experiences, suggestions, and complaints.
  • Analyze user behavior and feedback to make informed product development and iteration decisions.

#2. Focus on Customer Development

Let’s talk about taking our startup to the next level. 

It’s not just about getting customers – it’s about really getting to know them. We need to dive into their world, understand their struggles, and see how our product or service can make a difference in their lives. 

It’s like we’re detectives, piecing together the puzzle of our business hypothesis by actually chatting with our customers

What would you ideally do here?

Understand Customer Segments: I’d say, start dividing your target market into segments and develop a deep understanding of each segment’s demographics, behaviors, needs, and pain points. The idea is to get into their shoes and really feel what they feel.

Ensure your Product Clicks: When starting up, think of what you offer and consider whether it clicks with what our customers need. My thought was “Does my product solve their problems? Does it make their day better?” Put yourself through a tough grilling session to show customers the value proposition and ensure that the product’s promise matches what our customers are looking for.

I’d recommend the following actions here:

  • Talk to them – through surveys, interviews, or even casual chats. The goal? To gather real, raw insights about what they need and expect.
  • Use the collected data to create detailed profiles for each type of customer. This way, everyone on our team really understood we were serving. I think this should help your startup as well.
  • Try out different versions of our product with a few customer groups. It’s all about feedback here – understanding if you’re hitting the mark or if we need to pivot.

#3. Foster a Data-Driven Culture

The digital world is highly data driven since it fuels key decisions in a startup. 

I believe it’s essential for us to build a data-driven culture. This means, you’ll move from making decisions based on hunches or assumptions. Instead, the focus should be on data analytics and insights to guide our strategies and improve our outcomes.

What can you do?

Use Data Analytics Tools: You should be using these tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data related to customer behavior, market trends, and our business operations. Here, consider the adoption of pipeline forecasting that leverages AI to find patterns in marketing data. 

In turn, you’ll get areas for improvement since it can analyze historical data and predict the outcome for you to plan your.

Action Items:

  • Pinpoint key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your business objectives and ensure they are measurable and actionable.
  • Next, you can consider training your team to understand and use data analytics tools. This might involve workshops or bringing in experts to build a data-savvy workforce.
  • Once everything is in place, regularly review data reports and dashboards. This gives us a clear picture of a startup’s health and helps adjust your strategies and predict future trends.

#4. Strengthen Your Financial Acumen

A good grip on financial skills is important to steer your business towards growth and making sure it stays on track. For this, you’ll have to understand the money side of things, which helps you manage your cash flow. Think of figuring out smart investment moves and sizing up any risks that come your way.

Here’s a tip on how you can get savvy with your finances.

Maintain Rigorous Financial Discipline: I’m really focused on cultivating a strong company culture, one that truly resonates with our mission. So, I’d suggest fostering open communication and encouraging a sense of ownership and collaboration among everyone in the team.

Action Items:

  • Get to know your financial statements inside out – I’m talking about the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. These are like the vital signs for your business’s financial health
  • Use financial forecasting that helps predict your future money moves. With this, you will have a heads-up on upcoming revenues, expenses, and how much cash you’ll need. Also, research on the available financial forecasting tools that can make predictions spot-on.
  • Don’t go at it alone. Regularly touch base with financial advisors or mentors. With them by your side, you’ll have a fresh perspective on your financial strategies to ensure you’re on the right path to hit your business goals.

5. Prioritize Team Building and Leadership Development

It is crucial to focus on building a solid team and developing strong leaders. This means putting our resources into the people who are going to propel our company forward. 

What you’ll aim for here?

Creating a culture where everyone collaborates and every team member has the chance to emerge as a leader.

What I would do:

Cultivate a Strong Company Culture: This culture should mirror our mission and foster open communication. It’s important that it encourages everyone to feel a sense of ownership and work together.

Invest in Leadership and Team Development: As founders, we’ll have to make way for opportunities for teams to enhance their skills, face new challenges, and grow in their careers.

Some concrete steps that you should consider taking:

  • Begin with clearly communicating your startup’s vision, mission, and values so that every team member is on the same page.
  • Conduct regular team-building activities and workshops to boost skills and strengthen a sense of unity and collaboration.
  • How about starting a mentorship program within our organization? The more experienced team members could guide and support the growth of newer or less experienced folks.
  • Alas… encourage feedback at all levels. We should keep striving to create an environment where open, honest communication is the norm and everyone feels safe to speak up.

I know it’s one thing to get your head around these ideas and quite another to actually make them a part of your everyday business life. But that’s where the real magic happens, right? It’s all in the doing. 

As a startup founder, this means more than just being a big dreamer. How about rolling up your sleeves to be the planner who pays attention to the smallest details. Ultimately, these tips and more tactics around it will help carve a leader in you who listens and cares and the learner who’s always ready to adapt

So, as you’re either starting out or moving forward on this entrepreneurial adventure, keep these practical tips right there.

May these be your guiding lights, helping you steer through the wild and exciting world of building a startup that’s not just a dream, but a thriving reality.

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12 Things I Learned in 12 Months of Working on My Startup

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A few weeks ago I launched my startup. It took exactly 12 months from the initial idea until the moment I saw my app in the App Store. And these were some of the most challenging, fun and exciting 12 months of my whole life. (more…)

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8 Actionable Ways to Get Your Startup’s First 100 Customers

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What’s the one thing that every business wants? Is it money, fame, or endless resources? The answer is quite simple—customers. Having customers is the sure-shot way of ensuring that your business stays afloat in the long run. No matter how good your product or services are, without people buying what you sell, you won’t reach anywhere. However, establishing a customer base is one of the most challenging things a business has to do, especially if you are just starting. (more…)

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