Telling Your WHY Story to Connect

by Michele Trent

Finding the perfect pair of pants that look great from every angle —that’s an age-old quest with a modern solution thanks to Sara Blakely. Her coveted shapewear solution became Spanx, a now billion-dollar company. Blakely experienced a problem and created a solution. That’s what entrepreneurs do! You started your business to somehow address a need or overcome a problem. That journey is your WHY Story and it’s an important part of your company’s DNA.

Telling your WHY Story can connect you with your customers in a powerful way. It also tethers you to your purpose as your company grows. So the question is, what have you done to preserve your WHY Story? Sure, you know it well and have probably told it a hundred times, but have you written it out or communicated it in a brand video or audio recording? Doing so preserves this unique story, gives you an appreciation of how far you’ve come, and allows you to share your story with potential customers.

People want to do business with those they know, like and trust. We’ve all heard this and yet you may wonder how to go about positioning yourself that way. Here’s one suggestion: Let your potential customers “know” you through your WHY Story. Your WHY might be the connection a customer needs in order to feel like he or she can trust you and your product/solution. Your WHY also differentiates you from the competition. Share it!

Your WHY Story is as much for you as your customers. We’ve all had those days or seasons when building the business is a struggle. During those times, go back and read or watch your story. A WHY Story anchors you when times get tough. It reconnects you with why you’re doing what you’re doing and helps to rekindle the passion you once had when you knew that your business would absolutely solve a problem and meet a need in the marketplace.

Here’s a handy S.T.O.R.Y. Formula you can use to organize your WHY Story so that you can share it and revisit it.

S – Situation
Every story requires a little set up. Provide a brief description of what is going on and who the main characters are. It could be as simple as, “I was a frustrated mom, with three kids under the age of six. I hadn’t showered in days and the walls of my once charming home now represented a prison of my own making.” Give your customers a sense of who you are and what’s going on and remind yourself of how far you’ve come.

T – Trouble
Into this serene (or not so serene) setting enters some sort of trouble. That trouble builds and builds until it must be addressed.

O – Overcome
This is the third step in the S.T.O.R.Y. Formula – overcome. This is how you overcame the trouble by finding a solution to the problem.

R – Realization
By overcoming the trouble, you’ve learned a thing or two. You are now wiser. You have a solution to share.

Y – Your Victory
This is the happy ending we all want. This is what you uniquely have to offer (the solution) to a problem others face. Hearing your story — and how you overcame a shared problem — gives your customers hope that they can do the same.

A story personalizes you and your business so that you are relatable and likeable. Even Spanx, a billion-dollar company, has a relatable startup story. It’s a woman wanting to look good in a pair of pants, finding a solution for the panty-line problem, and making that solution available for others. We can all rock that perfect pair of pants with Spanx. Likewise, what you do makes the world a better place. Preserve your WHY Story and then use it to connect with customers and to remind yourself why what you do matters.

Michele Trent owns Remembered Well, a story recording business. She works with families to preserve personal stories before they are lost. She also provides public speaking coaching and specializes in helping business owners identify and communicate their WHY Stories. Michele Trent is also co-chair of Scottsdale Neighborhood NAWBO.

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