The BayLeaf Blog: Telling Your Story

By: Gail Summers 3 years ago

The iris are in bloom now and each has its own story. The Dutch yellows came with the house. Greta gave Dark Raven to Ellen, then Ellen gave it to me and now I give it to others. Slovak Prince survived the bad winter. I brought Immortality from Holland. I found Blue Batik growing on an abandoned property. Secret Rites strangely resembles an orchid. I found Fashionista at an iris show.

As an entrepreneur and as a founder of your business, what is your story? Entrepreneurs need great founder stories. People relate to these stories and become customers. “In a world where people have a lot of choices, the story may be the deciding factor,” says Nick Morgan, a communications consultant and author of How to Tell Great Business Stories.

Before it has investors, customers, profits, press coverage, or even a perfected product, every startup has at least one valuable asset: its story. So you might want to ask yourself: Who are you? Where did you come from? How did you get into this business? Why are you doing this? Keeping that story alive, keeping it true, and keeping it relevant–these are the challenges an entrepreneur must contend with as their business matures.

Even when a business outlives its founder, his or her story should remain woven into the company’s culture. The celebrated entrepreneur Jerry Greenfield, who is no longer involved in running his namesake ice cream company, says the founding story is something that necessarily evolves over time. “A big part of the story of Ben & Jerry’s is not just that it started in a gas station from humble beginnings, but that it made a conscious decision to be a different kind of company that tries to integrate social and environmental concerns in the day-to-day business,” Greenfield says. “The story about the founders, Ben and Jerry, makes it human. But the key for the future of the company is a vision of what the organization stands for. The founders–charming as we were–we’ll be gone at some point.”

So when you come to my garden when the iris are in bloom, I’ll take you along the meandering path and tell each iris story. When I am done, you will relate to the stories and ask me to save you a Dark Raven when I separate the next clump.

Me? I’d traveled the world working in the wrong job for 20 years, not unhappy, but not happy. One day, someone said to me, “Why don’t you become a coach – you’re good at it.” Well, here I am.

References
How to Tell Your Company’s Story, by Adam Bluestein, Inc Magazine, February 2014

BayLeaf (Laurus nobilis): 1. A herb used to enhance flavor then removed so flavor stands on its own; 2. A symbol of victory, honor or triumph

The BayLeaf Blog is posted every Monday, unless it is gardening season, then it’s posted after dark on any day, unless I get headlights installed on my wheelbarrow, then who knows what will happen. Enjoy.

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