Creating a Clear and Solid Business Story
Establishing a clear business story is fundamental to your early journey as a start-up founder. Neglecting your business story, brand identity and company ethos can derail your journey to success and risk everything you have built.
In this guide, we discuss how you can identify and develop a clear and solid business story to carry your company through its next stage of growth.
Building Your Foundational Principles
You need to know who you are as a company before you can expect others to buy into your vision and your offerings.
Early-stage businesses have the luxury of adapting quickly to changes in the market to capitalise on their offering. This agility allows you to find your niche and appeal to your specific target market.
But being agile comes with risks. Pay too much attention to external factors and you risk changing your business direction so much you’re left with little identity of who you are. Even worse, changing directions costs a lot of money and if you are too frivolous with jumping on current trends, you risk burning all of that investment that you worked so hard to get.
So, it’s important to stay agile while also remembering who you are.
But how does one exactly define their business principles?
- Remember your personality: Businesses are just groups of people who each share the same passions and quirks. Don’t shy away from the reasons you got into entrepreneurism – these may be central facets of your company identity.
- What is the end goal of the company? Consider what you are aiming for as a business and why, delve deep into what makes your vision unique and capitalise on your originality to capture your audience.
- Live the values which the company was incorporated on: Reflect on the practices and processes you see as vital to the growth of your business. What atmosphere is in your office? Where do you seek out new talent? How do you define your success?
Look inside your company’s core but remember to relate this to your customer’s needs and wants – what problems are you solving for them? Answer these questions and you can create a purpose-driven story that will appeal to your target audience.
For example, clothing brand Patagonia are explicit on their goals and values in reducing consumption and waste in the startlingly unecological fashion industry. As a result, they have won hearts and minds with their company’s dedication to sustainable ready-to-wear giving tidy profits and a loyal consumer base.
Mission and vision statements
Once you have a clear sense of your purpose and values, you should be ready to craft a mission statement.
But what is a mission statement?
A mission statement is a succinct statement of our organization’s purpose and values. It says want you to want to do and how you want to do it. Brevity is important. Your statement should be quick to read and easy to grasp.
TED grasps this point better than most. Their mission statement is simple: “Spread ideas”.
Vision statements are slightly different from mission statements. Vision statements generally focus on the future. What do you want to be once you have achieved your mission statement?
It’s more important for a new start-up to have a strong mission statement than a vision statement when pitching for investment. That said, it will be useful for a company to spell out its long-term goals.
Amazon’s vision statement lets you know how they want to develop their platform. They aim “To be the world’s most customer-centric company.”
Telling Your Business Story
Once you have defined the mission and vision of your business, it’s essential to live it internally and externally.
Marketing your External Story
It’s imperative that your story comes across in every bit of communication you have with your customers.
- Maintain messaging: Whether it’s the language you use in newsletters, or the materials used in your products, establish reliable, consistent messaging that your customers will grow to recognise from you.
- Find your format: In the age of digitalisation there are countless pathways to reaching your audience. Find out which fits for you and make it make sense e.g., its unwise to target the 50+ age bracket through personalised ads on Tik Tok.
- Brand your business: First impressions count, and the pressure to stand out is greater than ever. Work with designers and marketers to create unique visual branding which compliments your brand personality, voice and tone by which you communicate with consumers.
Nike says “Just Do It” to every customer they have at every touchpoint through their customer’s journey. To Nike, everybody is an athlete, and Just Do It is their way to remind us of it.
Or take MoneySuperMarket.com, whether TV ads or newspaper spreads their consistent personable story “Dave saved money on his car insurance and now he feels epic!” instantly resonates with the customer and creates a brand that becomes memorable.
Cultivating your Internal Story
Too often do brands focus purely on externally presenting their values. You must also work to cultivate an internal corporate culture that reflects your story.
Why? Because your employees are the best reflections of your business.
Singapore Airlines built an industry-leading reputation of excellent customer-service by engulfing employees in their company values throughout recruitment, training and performance review.
So many of our impressions of successful companies arise because we perceive a genuine enjoyment from the employees that work there. Have your employees become advocates for your story and the rest writes itself.
Applying Your Brand Story For The Better
Attracting customers and uniting employees is one thing, but having a brand story is also crucial to winning the approval of investors and strategic business partners. When you recognise what you stand for, you are much better positioned to communicate and sell your vision to valuable persons of interest.
In living your brand story, you align how your customers, investors, clients and stakeholders perceive your company, putting everyone on the same page and maximising your longevity.
Learn more about how to optimise your business from Floww Guides on Getting Funded.