Objective: You will be able to coherently tell your story to others, and get them interested in supporting your business.
Knowing how to tell your story is critical for building a successful business. Ideally, your story is exciting to people, engages them as a customer/supporter/community member, and gets them to share your business onward with everyone they know.
Your story is made up of three key components: what you want to do, why, and who you are.
First, what you want to do. What you want to do is about introducing people to your business idea and the impact it will have in their lives. What are you making for your community? What are you doing that will serve your community? What problems does your idea solve for your community? Are there comparable things out there? What’s different about your idea? How does this difference appeal to your community?
Second, why? Why, is about connecting people with the purpose of your business, which includes solving problems and also any positive social and environmental effects. Why are you doing this? Why is your business important? Why is this going to make a positive impact in the lives of your supporters, other people, and the world at large?
Third, who you are. This is essentially about building trust. The more transparent and honest you can be here, the better your relationship with your customers and community will be. People want to know that you have the experience and expertise necessary to successfully and consistently deliver on your idea. Customers want to know that they will receive the product/service they’re paying for, that it will be high quality, and that you are operating your business ethically.
In the Backers context, people are sending money your way to deliver on a business idea that may not give them anything in return for quite some time. You want to assure people that you and your team are the right people to do this. Why are you the person or team who can do this? What are your experiences that give you credibility to deliver on your business idea? This part of your story should include relevant past examples of your work as a team or individually, any relevant and important educational or work experiences or credentials, anything that builds up people’s trust in you succeeding on this mission! You need to show people you’re serious, prepared, and capable of doing a great job.
Further, you need to show your potential backers you’re going to do a great job now, and have plans to continue that into the future. Launching a project on Backers is actually a great start – it takes months of hard work to even get to that point. You want to build that trust even further. You should share with people your plans (at least anything that isn’t confidential) for building and executing on your business idea. This should include clear schedules and budgets where appropriate. People should feel when supporting you on Backers that they are joining something real and achievable – something that with their support could go a long way and create a return on their equity. That return can be financial or a mix of financial and other benefits. For example, if your business is specific to a community, say a new local hockey league, people might care more about the benefits your business serves in that community, such as people getting to play hockey, than that they actually receive a financial return in a short period of time.
Weaving it together
Once you have these three sections of your story, you need to think about how to weave them together into a compelling narrative. Fundamentally, when you tell your story, listeners should come out of it understanding what you do and why, feel excited and wanting to support the idea (financially or otherwise), and trust that you can make it happen.
- Answer the questions asked above for each section.
What you want to do: What are you making for your community?
What are you doing that will serve your community?
What problems does your idea solve for your community?
Are there comparable things out there?
What’s different about your idea?
How does this difference appeal to your community?
Why: Why are you doing this?
Why is your business important?
Why is this going to make a positive impact in the lives of your supporters, other people, and the world at large?
Who you are: Why are you the person or team who can do this?
What are your experiences that give you credibility to deliver on your business idea?
What can you show people as proof of this?
- Write out in 2-3 sentences for each: what you want to do, why, and who you are.
- Share what you have written with at least 10 people in your community – these should be people who do/might use your business, and people who do/might invest in your business. Ideally, these people are strangers, not your friends or family. Listen to these people’s reactions, and ask them a few questions: were they interested in the story? Were they interested in the business idea? Did they think the idea is useful? Did they want to buy it/pay for it/support it? Did they have suggestions for changes? Did the story make them want to share the idea with other people they know?