Tell Them Your Story

By Mark Riffey

One of the things I help business owners figure out is how to tell their story (and why they should bother).

Sometimes, business owners don’t have a story, or at least, they think they don’t.

Many times, the work people do is a means to an end, or at least it seems that way on the surface because they just haven’t thought about it in a long time.

There’s a story in almost everyone. Who doesn’t have an answer to “How’d you get into this business?”

Sometimes they got there by happenstance or by being in the right place at the right time. A family tradition leads others into a line of work after a parent sells or leaves them a business they didn’t even consider being in (right, brother-in-law?). Some folks “grow up” in the business and follow in their parents’ footsteps – even if that requires years of college.

For others, a business might have come out of something they’d done forever and decided to turn that activity into their way of making a living – say, a serious fly fisher starting a fly shop or a fishing guide service business.

More often than not the story is rooted in their passion for the work, for solving the problem their business solves, or the people they work with while doing so.

Your story is what sets the stage for a well-worn quote: “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (Attributed to everyone from FDR to a soccer coach from UNC to John Maxwell).

It does that because how you got to where you are today says a lot of about the “how much you care” thing.

But sometimes, the answer isn’t so exciting:

At Our Company, we strive to stay current with the latest products and techniques. We consider ourselves experts in our field and we invite you to take advantage of our expertise so that you can be assured to have the equipment, accessories and service that meets your needs.

Please take a look around our website. You’ll find information about the comprehensive line of cycling products and services we offer to maximize the fun factor in your outdoor activities. And be sure to check out our Resources & Links page where you can access all sorts of valuable information for cycling enthusiasts.

Stop by and visit us at Our Company … we’d love to get to know you better.

Check out Our Company online and add your ‘Like’ on facebook.com/ourcompany

Only 2 things in all of that give you any idea what they do: “cycling” and “outdoor activities”.

Why you?
I can buy cycling gear in a lot of places, including WalMart and Amazon.

I buy it from locally-owned stores for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that I want access to someone who can do more than just hand me the bag with my stuff in it. I want access to an expert who will base their answers to my newbie questions on their 27,438 miles of riding.

I’m no different from people who play World of Warcraft, restore mid-1950 Chevys or manicure Bonsai trees. They don’t want to buy their stuff from someone who doesn’t know anything about those things – and they sure don’t want to buy them from someone who doesn’t CARE about those things.

Something like this (which I just tossed together) tells people WHY you care:

We’re cyclists. The finest moments of our lives are memories of eating dust on single tracks only we and the bears know about, getting air at BMX events, riding in kiddie seat on the back of our parents’ bikes on a trip to France we’ve otherwise forgotten about, and doing the same with our kids right here at home.

Every piece of gear and clothing in our shop is tested and personally approved by our staff. We don’t just hire salespeople or mechanics. We hire cyclists. We know you want help from someone who’s been where you’re going – or wants to.

Our riders have a combined total of 74 years of road racing, BMX, trail riding and cross-country touring experience. We can’t wait to meet you and talk bikes.

Tell ’em your story.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him via email at mriffey at flatheadbeacon.com.