Story of the Business

Every business has a story. It is in the hearts of the founders and often on the walls of offices in the form of photographs and newspaper articles. It is often a story of entrepreneurial hard-work, inspiration, meeting customer or client demands, and pride of accomplishment. Often the story conveys a very favorable view of the business. Yet, often the story is not told.

There are a number of reasons for telling the story Alexander Malshakov of a business. Telling the story lets the customer or client understand some of the motivations for the business. Many times employees do not know the story of the business and are inspired and directed when they hear it. Most importantly, the story reminds the owner of the initial goals and values of the business and compels a comparison with the present status of the business and contemplation of what the business should be.

Those involved with a business, owners, employees, vendors, and customers or clients, are interested and motivated by whether the business has integrity, proceeds credibly, is concerned about its customers or clients, and is insightful. It is one thing to state directly that the business has integrity and is not only motivated by profit. It is more persuasive to tell a story that lets them perceive through their own understanding and interpretation of the story that the business is not only about the money. Saying to a customer or client, “Our business cares about its customers (clients),” is, perhaps slightly better than not saying anything at all, but hardly convincing. On the other hand, tell the business story that conveys the inspiration and work it took to get the right product or service to the customer or client, and the hearer will receive an understanding about insight and integrity from the story. Telling the business story is a much more effective way to convey a values message than merely claiming values in a statement.

Employees need to hear the story of the business in more venues than orientation at the initial day of work. In fact, employees need to hear the story, absorb it for all the right reasons, and then be able to tell the story to customers and clients in such a way that it sincerely conveys the values message of the business.

Strategic planning provides guidance and direction for the business. It needs to be based on and convey in dynamic terms, meaningful in its most recent application, the essential integrity of the founding of the business. This founding inevitably consisted of entrepreneurial insight, development of a product or service fitting the needs of customers or clients, and continual adherence to monitoring and meeting the needs of the customer or client. Strategic planning involves setting goals, defining actions to meet those goals, monitoring through milestones the progress of those actions, and revision of the plan as necessary. The story of the business should affect every stage of this process.

Listen again to the story of the business. How is it told? Does it convey the insight, strength, hard work, and grit that it takes to initiate and maintain a business? Does it convey the concern of the business for its customers or clients? Does it convey the integrity of the business? Does it convey the concern of the business to meet the changing needs of its customers or clients? If not, formulate the telling of the story in a succinct, but efficient fashion. Tell that story to co-owners, employees, vendors, and customers or clients.

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