by Maisie Smith on September 16, 2015
“I own a logistics company. We offer integrated transportation solutions for mid-sized corporations.” He then reached into his pocket to grab a stack of business cards.
I smiled politely and began the process of slowly extracting myself from the group I was attempting to mingle with. It’s not that I have anything against logistics. I imagine that moving stuff from Point A to Point B presents an interesting challenge, where every cog in the Giant Wheel of Getting Things From Here to There needs to crank along in exact precision for delivery to happen.
It’s probably a lot like running the Death Star.
If he had said that, I would have still been standing there “Ooooh-ing” instead of “Oh-ing.”
• • •
I am fascinated by “boring businesses.” The world is full of them… businesses that solve problems and fill unmet needs, and yet blend into the wood paneling of society like one of Grandma’s macrame owls. Selling homeowners insurance. Providing cloud computing. Manufacturing nails/crutches/croutons/stereo knobs/any other thing people use all the time and yet never give a second thought about.
Perhaps yours is one of them.
You love your business. Like Joanie loves Chachi. Like Mac loves Cheese. You’ve been its champion since it was the inkling of an idea scribbled hastily on a sticky note. But it’s not sexy. Heck, it’s not even Sexy’s wingman. People would rather rally around Escape Rooms, the newest photo filtering app, or the artisanal hot dog scene.
Now what? How can you stand out in a world that’s obsessed with glitter, glamour, bells, whistles, asshole cats and door number three?
“We distinctively formulate next-generation technologies through intuitive niches, dynamically conceptualize customized models with functional ideas, and seamlessly strategize inexpensive interfaces via multimedia-based potentialities.”
Sooooooo… what is it, exactly, that you do here on this planet? Because all I know from this blurb is that A) you might possibly be a robot, B) you are distinctively, dynamically and seamlessly out of touch with your People and C) you might like to meet a guy I know who’s really into integrated transportation logistics.
A common denominator among humans is that we want to feel important. Understood. Included. We enjoy doing business with companies that make us feel good about ourselves. We want to know how the service or product you provide is going to make our life just a little bit better.
Think “benefits over features” and ditch the annoying buzzwords and complicated lingo. Transform your stiff content into compelling stories. For example, explain five cool ways your spreadsheet software will make me look good in front of my boss. Show me how your crutches make a bad situation a whole lot easier to endure. Tell me about the time your customer’s laptop got run over by a streetcar in San Francisco but because their presentation was backed up on your Cloud software, they were still able to seal the deal at their meeting an hour later.
These are the things that will make me love your business.
You know, the one that few dare explore because it requires sifting through everyday life to extract the gleaming details needed to craft a compelling business story.
Stories are integral to interesting businesses. They possess a spark, a power to connect, persuade, entertain and transform. A good story relays information in a way people will understand. A great story sticks in their minds long after they first hear it.
In my research, the most important thing I discovered is this…
There are no boring businesses. Only stories waiting to be told.
If you dig through your business, you’ll find that stories are everywhere.
~ How the song “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was the inspiration for your newest product
~ Mary Waffenschmidt (aka “Waffles”), your most surprising customer
~ A childhood fantasy about traveling the world in a shipping crate
~ Something your kid said at breakfast when he was four that changed everything
~ Your employee, Dan, who is a world-class Lumberjack Log Roller when he isn’t crunching numbers
You know what “boring” really is? Doing nothing. Sitting around waiting for someone else to solve the problem. Not taking a chance because others might not like “your thing.”
But you did it. You hopped in the arena, knowing there’s a chance your ass would get kicked. You’re rolling with the world, figuring it out and course-correcting when needed.
And if that’s not the most awesome, interesting, compelling thing in the world, I don’t know what is.
Now… get out there and tell us your stories!