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Blog Article: Tell a Compelling Small Business Story

From the Dog-Eared File of Interesting if Somewhat Useless Facts About Your Blogger: Entry #341.

My favourite film of all time is likely The Royal Tenenbaums. 

It would take far to long  to explain exactly why this is the case, and this isn’t a film studies blog. But the gist of it is that this film, directed by Wes Anderson, can be remarably emotionally resonant in single shots, fleeting moments, individual bits of narration, or just the right placement of a soundtrack cue for Nico’s “These Days” – the kinds of tiny creative decisions that reach deep down to grab viewers and make them feel everything Anderson knows they need to feel just at that second.

Write Your Small Business Story

Just as a skilled film director uses their craft to search for a meaningful, two-way emotional connection with the audience, so too must a small business master the art of telling its own story and find its audience. A great small business story is the kind of idea that goes beyond simple facts and figures. It connects the business to an emotion or a feeling that people value: for example, the association that TOMS Shoes have built with philanthropy through their efforts to match sales with donations to others in need. This is, effectively, one of the core principles behind good advertising: blend the information your customers need with the human engagement necessary for them to understand how your product fits into their lifestyle. Good storytelling, however, is not just about advertising in the traditional sense: a great small business story combines community, history, transparency and social engagement.

Almost every small business story starts from within a community: groups of people getting together to create innovative businesses that will give back to that same place and the people living there. Many enterprises can tell the story not only of how they came to be, but how they can continue to be part of the greater narrative of the place in which they live and work. Working together with local magazines and publications, collaborating with fellow businesses, reaching out to groups of similarly-minded customers and enthusiasts, developing unique events and ways for people to engage with your small business beyond the simply transactional: these are all ways to build your story.

A small business in particular may be able to tell its story in a personalized, subtle and creative way that takes advantage of numerous kinds of content, including that which exists online.  We have highlighted the value of social media before on the blog, and we cannot overstate its importance in storytelling for the modern small business: think of the entrepreneur who reclaims a run-down heritage building and, step-by-step, turns it into the brewpub he always dreamed of, documenting and sharing great photos and videos of the project as it comes together piece by piece through the effort of all the people involved. The narrative of this business is immediately known to the community around it.

Every small business or business idea has a story behind it waiting to be told- the critical moment that birthed a business model, the dedicated team that made it happen, and the ways in which it hopes to change the world going forward. Sharing your story, and making your customers a part of it, creates invaluable trust and confidence in your small business. This trust can be the foundation of a healthy and longstanding relationship between a business and its customers, even through the challenges and changes that you may face over time.

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