I started the day with Alltop to see what my favorite bloggers were talking about. I found a link from Guy Kawasaki to an article about story-telling–what intrigued me was the title: 7 Deadly Sins of Business Storytelling. It’s based on Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith’s book, The Dragonfly Effect. And it was a coincidental topic, since The Whale Hunters were just talking about our Chicago friend Jim Signorelli, whose book Story Selling will be out in a couple of months.
In my first career I was an English professor. I’ve grown up with stories and metaphors. Over time I’ve come to prefer true stories to fiction, so I read biography and history and science and philosophy at least as much as the made-up stories.
The Whale Hunters company and methodology relies on a true, inspiring story (we call it The Whale Hunters Story) of how the Inuit people hunted whales for more than 1000 years from a small, sealskin-covered boat called an umiaq. I love to tell this story, which I do often for prospects and customers. It’s about process, teamwork, collaboration, faith, teaching, risk and courage. Small businesses need to cultivate all of these cultural qualities if they intend to grow. The story isn’t just interesting; it’s a natural way to introduce who we are, what we do, and why we do it.
So I read through the “seven deadly sins” to see what I might be doing wrong and how I can improve my business story-telling. Most people write about story-telling from the “how to do it well” perspective, so the “don’ts” were helpful. When I tell the story out loud, I pretty much avoid all of the deadly sins. But how we represent it on our website could be greatly improved, so I learned a lot from this article about how to approach that job.
I look forward to Jim Signorelli’s StorySelling book. His company, ESW Partners, has grown very fast (founded in 1999 and now billing $50m+ per year), so I probably have a lot to learn from him. You can read excerpts at all of the links I’ve posted here. ESW Partners teaches their clients how to express their brand through stories.
Do you have stories for your business? You certainly have stories IN your business–customer stories, employee stories, good luck stories and hard times stories. You have stories about how your company started, how you’ve grown, how you invented your products and services, how and what you’ve learned along the way.
We’d love to hear your stories especially about how you’ve grown. We’ll publish them as guest posts, promote your company, and make a big fuss over you! Post a comment below or email me barbara (at) thewhalehunters.com and we’ll talk about it!