3 things that make it hard to tell your story

It is my business to help entrepreneurs and small businesses tell their stories. Telling your story with great, compelling, consistent content builds trust among your audience, and helps them know that you have a solution to the problems they face every day. Most entrepreneurs don’t think they can tell their story, and they also don’t think they have enough great content. Both are incorrect; however, there are several things that make it difficult for anyone, let alone an entrepreneur in the thick of building a business, to tell their story on a regular and consistent basis.

Here are three things that can make it really tough to create great content on your own behalf in a way that is compelling and credible to your audience.

  • You’re too close to the product. You invented this thing, this solution to a market problem. You know it inside, out, and backwards. You can explain every feature, function, and bug. You know where it’ll be in 2 months and 2 years. But your customer can’t see any of that, and, for now anyway, doesn’t care. They want their problem solved right now, and you are not able to see the flaws that your customer sees instantly. It’s not a hit against the entrepreneur to be “too close to the product.” That’s your job! But it may mean that you can’t tell the story, explain the problem, or empathize with the customer objectively.
  • You are not your user. Just because it looks right to you and sounds right to you and seems right to you doesn’t mean that your user will like it, know how to use it, understand it, or even care. How can you share what you’re dreaming of from your perspective, when you really should be looking at the solution from your user’s perspective? It’s interesting to see how often an entrepreneur will fall in love with their own product. “I love this app!” they’ll say. But the app is not for you. It’s for your user. Do they love it? They might, but they might not, and the reasons they love it may be very different from your own.
  • You speak in your language, not the customer’s language. One of the funniest and most entertaining things in every small business and startup I’ve been in is the jargon, the language, the acronyms. At the telecom startup that was acquired by First Data, we once named a module “Ope”, which was really an acronym for “Order Processing Executive”, and yes, there was also an “Andy”, though I can’t remember what that stood for. Someone actually said these things in a meeting with a customer. After some very strange looks, we explained what it all meant. The customer got a good laugh, but couldn’t care less what we called our internal systems. They just wanted their information to get disseminated quickly and properly.
While you really must tell your story, especially if you’re a startup or small business, it can be difficult, and these are some of the reasons why it can be hard. But that’s ok, because “you” doesn’t always have to be “you” personally. Your organization needs to create great content that tells your story as it unfolds and brings customers closer, and you can outsource that process or dedicate an internal resource to it.
The vision should still come from the one who holds the vision, but the words do not have to be typed by you personally.

What do you think about that?

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