The best things in life come attached to a story.
Think back to time before paper and books. In order to keep traditions alive, groups sat around a fire and told stories of times long before. They filled in the details, knowing the more they could generate a feeling for the story, the more it would be remembered by others within the tribe.
Even today, if I asked you for specifics about certain times in your life, you would remember then and share them through the art of stories.
If I asked you about your first kiss, your details would include who it was with, where you were, what you were wearing, who old you were.
If I asked you to describe where you were at a specific moment in time – 9/11 perhaps – again you could fill in the story with the details. You would begin to talk about where you were at the moment you heard the news, what you were doing, who you were with.
As humans, we are wired to process things in different ways.
When we sit through a lecture, certain parts of our brain are activated. The words hit the language processing parts in our brain, where we decode the meaning. That’s where it stops; nothing else happens.
When we are told a story, things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts activated, but it goes deeper into our brains and begins activating other processing points as well. Our sensory cortex lights up and ignites as the details begin to emerge. Compare:
She ate the strawberry.
The juicy, red strawberry was by far the best she had eaten this season. As she sunk her teeth deep into its delicious fibers, she closed her eyes in sheer delight as the juice made its way across her lips.
Which one makes you scream, “MORE!”
And it gets better. When we tell stories that allow us to shape the way we think and react, we can use those same skills to help impact those around us too. The brains of the person telling the story and of those who are listening can synchronize, all being able to activate emotions, plant ideas, even change thoughts and processes of those around us.
A story in its simplest form is cause and effect. Its how the human mind works; how we think. In fact up to 65 percent of our daily conversations are made up of personal stories and gossip. When we want people to remember, we choose to do it with a story.
So why do we make transforming our Big Ideas into a business so clinical?
Using The 5 W Approach
Whether you used it in English class in high school, or a communications class in college, chances are at some point in your past you used the 5 W approach to writing a story. The 5 W approach gives you all the details you’ll need to create a factual story that answers the most important questions a reader will have.
It’s easy to do when flushing out a story, but how about using it to generate a storyline around your Big Idea?
Chances are your story is what gives your Big Idea the passion you have for it. What makes you hold on to the dream of creating a successful business opportunity from it is the details behind it.
But there is a difference between the details that help you hold onto the dream, and the details that will convert it into a viable business opportunity. And those few differences can be the difference between making the business work … or not.
Let’s change the 5 Ws to tell the story of your Big Idea.
- Who would be your absolute perfect client?
- What would you sell them?
- When would you conduct your business?
- Where would you conduct your business?
- Why are you doing this?
Simple questions on the surface. Yet the more time you spend with them, the more you can begin seeing why others around you should be excited about what you’re doing as well.
Who would be your absolute perfect client?
What makes your ideal client special? What makes them unique? How can you help them over all others? Again, think of it in story format rather than putting the details in bullet point. By telling your story through the eyes of one perfect client, you are opening up the opportunity for people to see who you really are and how you can help them best. Compare:
Women 30 to 50 years old
A thirty year woman who has just had her first child. She spent months, maybe even years getting pregnant, and this child means the world to her. She reads every parenting book she can get her hands on, making sure she is doing things as best as she can for her child …
See the difference? By adding a story to it, you can quickly see your clients in a way that makes them more real. And also makes it easier to reach out and connect with them.
What would you sell them?
Have you heard the expression “people don’t like to be sold to, but they love to buy”? People today don’t buy for the sake of buying. They purchase from people they’ve developed a relationship; someone that gives them more than what they set out to accomplish. And once they build a strong relationship, they’re willing to buy again and again.
Think beyond your basic product or service. What would sustain a business? What would give you the ability to work at this business full time? The ideas and knowledge you have learned has value. People are willing to pay for something that will help them solve their problems, however small they may be. If you can do that with speed and efficiency, you have the opportunity to sell them what they truly need.
When would you conduct your business?
This is the great thing about being an entrepreneur. You can choose exactly how to organize your business and service your clients in a way that matters most to you. For many years, I provided an email coaching program where all of my coaching was done through email. I provided email classes. All questions and answers were handled by email. Even the booking process was done via email. This allowed me to work when I chose to work; play when I chose to play. And my clients still received top quality care from me because I chose to give them my all when it was the best time for me.
Once I saw the benefit of this program and how well it worked for both my clients, and me it gave me an easy way to promote it and to book more of them. Busy mom’s appreciated to be able to get specific help where they needed it most, without having ongoing classes they needed to call in for and attend. It was a win/win for everyone, and it sold very well.
Where would you conduct your business?
Have you ever thought where you would most like to work? Would it be from your kitchen table of your current home? Would you go high up into the mountains, or look out over the tranquil waters of a beach? Would you work from a coffee shop in your current community, or would you sit in a café in Paris? This can easily influence people around you, especially if they live a more traditional lifestyle. In today’s world, we live in a very mobile society. We also live in times where travel is doable for just about everyone. Instead of offering standard programs, you can dream as big as you possibly can.
When I began dreaming about offering VIP coaching products to my clients, I knew part of the experience I wanted to provide was to create an environment unlike anything they experience on a daily basis. You can’t learn if you remain in your home or office environment, so I chose to up the experience. If you want to be a part of my VIP experience, your first decision comes in choosing where you wish to play. Portland? Denver? Vancouver? Puerto Vallarta?
The great thing about creating a business your way is you can do so anyway you choose. What do you want it to look like? Then just do it. The more unique your offer, the more people will want to play in your world.
What’s your why?
Why are you doing this? What motivated you to take this path in the first place?
One of my favorite Ted talks spoke directly to this question. And with over 27 million views, I’m not alone in thinking its message is relevant to building a strong business.
If you don’t have your why, it’s difficult to bring in people that choose to be your raving fans. People don’t just want to buy anymore; they want to be a part of a culture. They want to take part in something they can believe in. When you have your why, you can tell a deeper story. And when people connect to that story, that’s when your business begins to flourish.
So what’s your who what when where why? I’d love to hear how you’re incorporating stories into the process of building up your business.