Startup Storytelling: How To Get Started Telling Your Story

Over the next few weeks I plan to write a series of posts that are aimed to help business leaders develop, format, and design startup story. Once I've got them all together, I'll format them into a PDF for easily consumption. Until then, just go back in the blog to start from the beginning.

Part 1: Getting Started

It is no secret that founders have too much to do and not enough time to get everything done. Spend time with just about any startup and the phrases ‘fail fast and fail often,’ ‘nothing has to be perfect, just ship it,’ and ‘I’m winging this presentation’ are likely to come up.

While there is some merit to this, don’t assume your story and pitch deck will just happen. In my opinion startups are built on three things:

1. Identifying a problem
2. Creating a solution
3. Communicating your vision to the audiences that matter

Founders spend a lot of time on the rst two but often leave the third to chance.

My goal with these posts are not to slow down the speed at which you build your business, but to make sure you build the foundation you need for a long-term narrative and consistent story arc.

The stories you tell early investors and employees will change as the business evolves, but the core of those stories should remain the same.

And these stories can do some great things for your business including:

  • Finding the right investors faster

  • Helping you recruit mentors

  • Signing up early partners and customers

  • Recruiting and hire top talent

  • Galvanizing your team during times of struggle

Before we jump into starting your story, lets take a brief moment and highlight a few of the elements a great story has. If you can include as many of these in your overall business story, there's a good chance you'll be more likely to succeed.

  • Something happens

  • A clear point

  • Relatable

  • Appropriate for the audience

  • Includes details

  • Well paced

  • Con ict

  • Practiced

  • Can be retold by the audience fairly easily

Which now leads us to the first exercise in this series. Figuring out from the start what you want to accomplish and why it matters.  So take a few and answer the questions below. First drafts are great, but don't overlook the power of letting it marinate a bit. 

Exercise Questions

In a perfect world, what does the story you're trying to tell do for you and the business?

Why is this the best story to tell right now?

Are you building off a currently crafted story? Or are you starting from scratch? 

Where do you feel this story needs the most help?

How will you determine when your story is ready for an audience? 

Upcoming Workshops

Want to learn more? Check out the workshop I'm doing with Pitch Lab at General Assembly on November 13. We'll be focusing on how comedy can help you be a more engaging storyteller!

* Thanks for reading. I didn't do this in the past, but it's time to just admit it-- I'm dyslexic, can hardly spell my own name at times, and miss basic grammar every once in a while. So, please forgive me if there's a typo. What I do know is how to tell a story, which luckily for me doesn't always require writing.