Who-What-Why-ing You Way into your Business

Storytelling is the act of telling a story, sounds obvious right? Yes, but telling an interesting, compelling, and intentional story that supports and propels your business takes a bit more work. We have so many tools, platforms, and formats to tell this story, sometimes it can feel over whelming. And the ease of access to all these tools can make it seem like it should be easy. Everyone around you has a podcast, and a video series, and is posting articles on Linkedin, and writing a book, and spending their Sunday’s updating their content calendar, AHHHH!! Make the madness stop!!!! Anyone can post and share and create content, but those actions, in and of themselves, are not storytelling. It is the intent behind them that make them a story – and ideally a good one if you wanna attract and keep customers/clients.

Humans have been telling stories forever. Although cave walls, chiseled tablets, and oral history’s have been replaced by mostly digital formats, the desire for good stories still remains. Whatever the format, stories were told for a purpose. Whether to recount a battle, embolden a leader, scare children into behaving, or carry on the culture of a community – stories are most impactful when they have a purpose. Before you can start telling a purposeful story of your business, and by extension creating (kick ass) content that leads to a committed customer, you will need to know the who-what-why-ing of what you are doing in the first place. Can you answer these questions about your business or brand?

  1. WHAT: What is the product/service you sell. What does your business do? What problem does it solve?

    Be specific. Every business or brand is selling something. For profit, non profit, etc. There is always something changing hands, and there is (should be) a revenue stream attached to that. Do you know what you are selling?

  2. WHY: Why did you launch this business? Does it come from your life experience? Is there a personal narrative attached to the start of your business? Why is it necessary that your business exists? What is the purpose?

    Now that you have written down what you do, write down why it matters. Was the problem something that you encountered and therefore you created the product or service to help yourself or someone you know? Your Why needs to justify the What. The What by itself is just a thing. The What with a Why provides meaning and context for your storytelling.

  3. WHO: Who is the product/service for? Who is the audience, who needs your help?

    This needs to be specific, the answer isn’t ‘my community’ or ‘my followers’ or ‘my customers.” Who are your followers, your community, your customers. Be specific. Where do they live, age, education, income level, race, gender, etc. This isn’t a guessing game, be intentional. Each answer will have an impact on your product development, pricing, marketing and yes, your storytelling.

    more WHO-ing and WHAT-ing to explore: Who else is solving this problem? What makes your product/service different than theirs?

If you can’t answer these questions, or aren’t interested in answering them. Why not? Take a second to think about it, and add this question to the mix:

  • Is what you are doing a Business in the first place?

    Maybe it is a personal project, or an outlet for expression, or a hobby. If it is, rock and roll, nothing wrong with that!! You might find it’s a hell of a lot more fun when you stop calling it a business. Food for thought.

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin to craft a purposeful story for your business and use all the storytelling tools at your disposal. Return to these answers often to make sure your materials and content align with What you do, Why you do it, and Who you do it for. Good Luck!

get a glimpse inside the book

a book about identity, who has the power to form them, and why it is important to be the designer of your own identity as well as the one to tell the story of who you are.

“It’s your story to tell”