Once Upon A Time…

An entrepreneur must be a storyteller.
Photo Thinkstock

From the dawn of language, storytelling has been a revered art form. Everybody loves a good story.

Today, storytelling is an essential business art form. An entrepreneur who cannot tell his/her story (or get it told) is doomed.

Before we go any further, let’s make it clear that we are referring to nonfiction stories – myths and fables won’t get you far in the business world.

Starting with their first business plans, entrepreneurs have to be able to translate the visions in their heads into compelling storylines. Investors absolutely need numbers, facts and research, but they also want the narrative from startup to success.

Storytelling is equally vital to attracting customers. Almost all advertising is storytelling: automobile commercials are mini-romance novels, beer ads are 30-second buddy flicks, allergy medicines spin tales of the great outdoors, and on and on.

When it comes time to turn your startup idea into a story, here are a few key pieces that will help you land on the business bestseller list:

Distinguishing variables: What sets your widget (or widget repair service) apart from the rest in a meaningful way? Being red when all the competitors are blue is unlikely to resonate, but being faster or less expensive or lasting longer are variables that will grab attention.

Benefits, not features: Talking about what your product does has some value. Talking about how your product makes someone’s life better will actually sell it. One useful tactic here is to think about why you came up with the idea in the first place – what problem were you trying to solve?

Connect to people: Place your story in the context of your target audience’s daily life. What are their priorities? Their emotions? Their dreams? Connect your product or service to what matters to your customers – this is why beer ads sell partying and car ads sell romance.

Every successful idea has a great story associated with it, but not everyone is a great storyteller. If you’re struggling to communicate, there’s plenty of professional assistance available. And if you are a great storyteller, that’s a business opportunity right there.

As a writer, I admit to being a little biased when I say that pictures can certainly help – but they’re seldom worth a thousand words. There’s nothing like a well-told story to connect your idea to investors, customers and success.

New Orleans Ranked in Top 10 Percent of Entrepreneurial Cities in U.S

A recently released study by the personal finance website WalletHub ranked New Orleans in the top 10 percent of American cities for entrepreneurism. A total of 150 cities were included in the rankings.

The city scored well in its access to resources such as employee availability, office space affordability and financing accessibility.  Not surprisingly, New Orleans lagged in areas such as workforce education level.

And they didn’t even consider the music, food and joie de vivre!

Keith Twitchell  spent 16 years running his own business before becoming president of the Committee for a Better New Orleans. He has observed, supported and participated in entrepreneurial ventures at the street, neighborhood, nonprofit, micro- and macro-business levels.



Categories: The Magazine