Your company story illustrates the essence of what your business is all about – it illustrates your business at its best. It’s what makes you and your business different and special, what sets you apart from all similar businesses in your industry and/or geographical location.
Why do you need a company story?
Your company story should be a compelling description of the “big idea” behind your company, the inspiration behind your business. It contains the words that communicate your excitement and your commitment to a winning cause. Your company story will help you win key customers, rally your employees, and attract the best recruits to your business. Telling your company story to customer, an employee, or a potential recruit should motivate them to work with you because of what your company is and what it stands for. It can also help you stay focused when times are tough or when things go wrong.
What would be an example of a company story?
A company I previously worked with produced high quality safety kits for airplanes, helicopters, etc. To the world at large they produce products that very few people will ever use or know about. I asked them to think back to a defining moment in their business: what story would they have to tell? Their reply told the story was of an 18-year-old girl who had an allergic reaction to something she had eaten on a plane. Her airway was shutting down she was rapidly losing the ability to breathe. The flight attendant quickly opened the safety kit that was on board and administered an EpiPen injection. The result: this young woman recovered from a near-death experience. The business owner decided to use this story to illustrate the spirit of his company. He started their story off with “We save lives at 30,000 feet…” All employees loved it and rallied around this story. At its core, this is what the company is all about.
What are the steps to defining your company story?
- Think back to the moments and events that motivated you and demonstrated the spirit of your company. Use these experiences to illustrate why your company is unique; describe as many parts of your business as possible.
- Read the story to employees, partners, or champions of your business. What do they think of it while they listen? What changes would they make?
- Once your company story is perfected, post it around your place of business, on your website and social media channels, and in your marketing materials. Provide copies to customers and suppliers.
A compelling company story will gather momentum with time; it will set your business apart, create loyal and vested customers, and leave a lasting impression with everyone who hears it.