When I say my profession involves business "storytelling" sometimes small business owners just don't get it. I see their gears turning and I can tell they are trying to understand what that means exactly. And I get it... because small business owners have a lot on their plate!
They wear all the hats -- sales, marketing, client management, customer service, accounting, etc.
So, let me just say for the record: using storytelling as a business owner means you can increase your pricing, build brand loyalty to have long-term customer relationships and ultimately drive more sales from your ideal clients.
One of my favorite examples about the power of storytelling in small business involves a cigar company. They started with their most expensive cigar at $30 and once they instituted the practice of storytelling, they were able to raise that price to $500. And the production costs associated with that story only increased $1. This is from the book How Do Stories Work? Business Storytelling from Hype to Hack: Unlock the Software of the Mind.
Here are a few more success stories about how brands that started small, used storytelling to scale.
Warby Parker: The eyewear company Warby Parker has built its brand on the idea of storytelling. They tell the story of how they were founded as a solution to the high cost of glasses, and how they are committed to making eyewear more accessible. This story has resonated with customers and helped the company grow to become a leader in the online eyewear market.
TOMS the a shoe company, has built its brand on the idea of giving back. For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair to a child in need. The company's founder, Blake Mycoskie, tells the story of how he was inspired to start TOMS after a trip to Argentina, where he saw children who didn't have shoes. This story has helped them build a loyal following. By sharing stories about the impact of their donations, TOMS is able to connect with customers who value social responsibility.
Airbnb has built its brand on the idea of community and connection. The company's founders tell the story of how they started the company as a way to help people connect and experience new cultures. This story has helped them grow into a global hospitality giant, with millions of users around the world.
Patagonia is a clothing company that has built its brand on the idea of sustainability and environmentalism. The company's founder, Yvon Chouinard, tells the story of how he started the company as a way to make climbing gear that was more environmentally friendly. This narrative has helped the company build a loyal following of customers who are passionate about sustainability and the outdoors.
Blue Bottle Coffee is a high-end coffee chain that has gained a loyal following by focusing on the quality of their coffee beans and the craft of coffee brewing. They use storytelling to share their expertise and explain the higher prices of their coffee. By sharing stories about the farmers who grow their beans and the baristas who make their coffee, Blue Bottle is able to connect with customers who value quality and craftsmanship.
- The Honest Company is a company that sells products for baby and home that are free of harmful chemicals. They use storytelling to explain the higher prices of their products by sharing stories about the importance of using safe and natural ingredients. By sharing stories about the health benefits of their products and the impact of harmful chemicals, The Honest Company is able to connect with customers who value health and safety. And because of their values, they will pay more.
Most small businesses aren't working with a big creative agency to craft their story. But they can still create stories that further's their mission to gain new customers, keep loyal customers longer and hire the right people, for example.
The success of a small business brand is built on a compelling narrative that resonates with the right people... your ideal clients. You know the ones who are a dream to work with, the ones that don't nickel and dime you, the clients who give you rave reviews.
If you're a small business owner... Have you developed your origin story? Do you know your why story? Do you have a story for overcoming objections?
If you'd like to get started on building your stories for business, book a free 30-minute call and get started applying storytelling to your business.