I grew up in Kalk Bay and in the afternoons after attending Kalk Bay Primary School I would saunter down to the Olympia cafe. Situated on the Kalk Bay main road the cafe was a haven for schoolboys in the afternoons. In those days it was a cafe and a tea room. They sold ice creams, cigarettes, cool drinks and sweets. I remember my favourite sweet was Star sweets. They were pink and hard and you could chew on them for a while and they cost very little.
I haven’t seen them for a very long time but drawing from my memory I remember a white wire round rack filled with comics that you could turn around to look at the different covers. There were all sorts of stories such as those from Casper the Friendly Ghost, Sad Sack, Richie Rich and Wendy the Friendly Witch. If I had pocket money, I could buy one or two comics and take them home to my room against Kalk Bay mountain and read them.
Stories are found in many media these days. In magazines, books, comic books, graphic novels, novels, television series, screenplays, and even computer games. Just think about the many stories that are being read or viewed right now in the world. All over the world stories of being told in these different media. It’s no wonder that storytelling is a billion dollar industry.
People all over the world are telling their stories based on present events, the past and in science fiction even the distant future. But are small businesses and start-ups telling their stories?
If you have a back story or origin story for your business, why not tell it? It helps to personalise your business and also tell potential customers the reason why you started your business, the motivation and what you are trying to achieve for customers.
But stories need to be told in a simple and powerful way to gain an emotional connection with readers, viewers or listeners. Even the so-called professional storytellers such as Hollywood screenwriters and directors can get it wrong. The other night we watched a movie called “Third Person” and in this film it was difficult to tell the story line, the characters were weak, the motivations seemed hidden and the locations jumped all over the place.
For the business person who wishes to tell their story, perhaps the best way is the simple way. Just tell how you began your business, what obstacles you faced and how you overcame them so that you could deliver a quality product or excellent service for potential customers. Make your story real, don’t exaggerate or twist the facts and don’t cauterize the life out of it as you see in the well massaged corporate success stories.
Once you have your story you can use it in your marketing collateral such as on your website, in your brochures and pamphlets, when talking to potential customers and if you’re launching a start-up, you can use it in your pitch to potential funders.
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