I’m at the midpoint of the book Winter of the World by Ken Follett and I am having a difficult time putting it down. It’s an absorbing story of World War II as told by individuals on all sides – German, Russian, English, and American.

I originally learned about WWII in history class where it was presented as a list of dry facts, dates, and names. Frankly, I remember very little from my history classes. What I do remember was the difficulty I had trying to figure out how the pieces fit together and memorizing names of generals, battles, and relevant dates. In fact, at this moment in the book, we are in 1941 and I am wondering when WWII ended.

What I did not learn in history class was the story of WWII. The information was dry and removed from me. Yes, the things that Hitler did were evil but they were never brought alive to me. So, it was an evil that didn’t touch me, that seemed otherworldly and unreal.

Ken Follett’s book, on the other hand, has made WWII and all its horrors come to life in a way that I will remember for a long time. Mr. Follett did this not by reciting dry facts or by trying to present all the atrocities of the war but by telling the story of people and how these fictional individuals were personally impacted by one or two of those facts I ‘learned’ in school.

What is your story? As small business owners it’s our responsibility to tell our story in a way that resonates and attracts customers and clients.

Your story is deeply rooted in your brand – your vision, mission, values, and company belief systems.

  • Your vision explains why you do what you do.
  • Your mission defines what you do.
  • Your values describe how you do what you do.
  • Your company belief systems delineate how you succeed.

Your brand is the soil that your story grows out of. But it is not your story.

What is your story? When you share your story is it a dry recitation of facts and figures like in history class? Or is it a grand and sweeping story that draws in potential clients like metal to a magnet?

As I experienced recently, we are frequently too close to our own story to effectively get beyond the history class recitation. To my own embarrassment, I found myself so embedded in the daily details of what I do, that even though I can also clearly see the big picture of what I provide, I was unable to consistently express it in a manner that captivates and enthralls my audience – potential clients.

If you are like me, don’t worry. There is a simple fix. It’s called outside perspective. A good way to get a new perspective is to work with an expert or consultant who is trained to remember that your story is really about people, not facts and figures.

What is your story? Are you stuck trying to clearly express the benefits of your services and products? Or perhaps you have never thought about having a story at all?

Either way, I challenge you to:

  • Identify the elements of your brand
  • Document them using words that ignite an emotional response, and
  • Use this as the basis for your story.

Create a story that makes you unforgettable and compels people to return and buy.

Now, if you don’t mind, I need to get back to my novel. Have a great day!