Three ideas to capture the real power of your founder’s story

by IdeaTransfer on May 22, 2011

Why do we make such a big deal about the founder’s story?  Isn’t it just a three-minute chronicle of how the business got started?  And doesn’t everyone eventually become tired of hearing it?

On the surface the founder’s story may seem a little trivial.  But in our experience, once you capture the power it holds, your founder’s story becomes foundational.  It immortalizes the ideas and values that drive the company’s growth and its culture, projecting a vision of success into the future.

Do you want that kind of story?   Here are three ideas that will transform an ordinary history into an extraordinary statement of stewardship that assures your business and personal goals.

  • You have coded messages imbedded in your founder’s story—turn them loose!
  • What’s best advice you ever received while building your business?
  • What are the most important lessons you learned from your successes and your mistakes?
  • What were your big challenges and how do they foreshadow challenges ahead?

Entrepreneurship is the soul of the American dream.  Entrepreneurial wisdom remains simple and resonates with anyone.  The values expressed in your story are effective motivators for your employees and natural trustbuilders for customers, suppliers, lenders, advisors, successors and buyers.

So give those proverbs and mottos the significance they deserve.  Not just in the story—hang them on the walls, insert them in your marketing and branding, make them live in your commitment to service.

  • Your customers are major players in your story—give them star billing!
  • What made you so sure your ideas would solve your customers’ problems?
  • When your customers’ needs and desires changed, how did you respond?
  • If your customers ran the company, what would they do differently?

We keep using the phrase “your story”, but this is not about the founder’s ego.  The idea that started the company came from some need in the marketplace that that wasn’t being met.  You saw how to make something better—not for yourself, but for potential customers.

So your story is really their story.  And when you tell it from their point of view you create a bond with them that can be unbreakable.

  • Your story is still a work in progress—document it!
  • What parts of your story are now ancient history?
  • What parts of your story are just as current today as they were in the past?
  • What parts of your story hold the promise for a successful future?

Most founders can tell their story with drama and passion up to the moment when they first turned the corner of success.  But most of the people who work for you today see themselves as an important part of this chapter and the chapters that will follow.  And everyone connected to your company through the business community and the industry feels the same.  They will keep this story moving forward with you.

So these are three examples of what makes the founder’s story so meaningful and how you can power-up your story.

Do you have any examples of how you powered-up your founder’s story?  Share them with the rest of us.  Are there unanswered questions you want your peers to answer?  Add your comments.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: