Whilst a picture can save a thousand words, there are occasions when we all have bigger stories to tell.
Many businesses have informative and practical stories that they can tell about their founding, development and growth.
Both personally, and for my business at Yee Group, telling our story is important.
However, I have discovered during my tenure as a Chamber President that many businesses still have definite reservations about doing this. And, that is despite having for example an About Us page on their website.
There is apparently no single reason for this reticence.
I believe some are wrapped up in ideas linked to customers’ attention and interest spans. From our perspective, the presentation of the information is critical.
Here, I am thinking about case studies, white papers, discussion documents; and yes, this very blog.
Whilst the economy and the business cycles may be predictable to a degree, our responses to them as business owners are probably different.
That in itself shows how a business will have remained successful, weathering the storms that it will have faced.
Those that have unfortunately been unsuccessful and collapsed have a different story to tell.
There are lessons to be learnt, and practices to be avoided.
There will be changes to make. Some of these are, of course, very close to home to us here in the Midlands at the moment with the collapse of Carillion.
However, from these darkest times in Construction, experience can be acquired and put to good use by future generations of businesses. Back to your story-telling.
Whilst a good starting point is the use of the word ‘specialist’, purchasers of your products and services will be keen to know more about you, your business and what makes it tick.
From my experience at Yee Group, clients and customers are looking for the right chemistry within the business itself, how it interfaces outside of the walls of its offices, and what it can bring that is both special and equally importantly, the particular benefits.
Solutions to unique problems that in our case might be energy-saving, or improved operational efficiency, for example, have inherent qualities to be interesting.
They consistently receive more than just passing attention. In those cases, we are delighted to provide detail and information.
We view this as part of the process of assisting other customers, who are looking to make consistent improvements to achieve business targets.
Clients are proud to talk about their application of new technology, or the improvements made to existing processes through innovation. It illustrates close mutual and beneficial joint working, towards established goals.
Assisting in the achievement of those targets is another important part of your story-telling. We all like to be known and respected for first-class work, as well as providing answers to problems.
When did you last review the communication of your competences and capabilities?
Informative comment and observations on websites elevates the uniqueness on the one hand; and the breadth of your business on the other. Just at this point, you are probably already thinking that vast amounts of information and detail are required.
That is not the case. Simple short project files, case studies, and the like, can carry all the necessary information. Those reading scan-style will gather all the salient points in the time they are willing to devote.
Of course, the presentation is down to you; but, a few headlines and words, plus supporting images, will convey all the detail.
We have heard it said many times that ‘staff make any business’. So in your news and information on behalf of the company, the inclusion of the human story behind your operations will provide increased resonance.
Your staff will inject a depth and authenticity into what could otherwise have been dry detail. The heritage of any business provides an excellent way of illustrating your success story.
Our local and regional awards for the Best Small Business and Best Use of Marketing provided first-rate evidence of how far we had come. Judges’ citations will provide a great source of peer-to-peer rated endorsement. The preparation of an entry is an important job in its own right.
Initially, we found that word counts didn’t work well in our entries. We had a great deal to tell the judges. However they make a superb way of ensuring we focus on the key features and aspects that will win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the judges.
With the Awards Season just about to kick-off with some notable events and ceremonies, good luck with your story telling in 2018.
President of the Burton and District Chamber of Commerce
Managing Director of Yee Group Ltd.