Write Your Business Origin Story
Updated: Jun 7, 2019
Superman isn’t the only one with an origin story. Or Wonder Woman. Your business has an origin story too. Get grounded in your humble or not-so-humble beginnings, and tell the world why you do what you do, and how you got here. It will keep you honest and real.
Ask yourself these questions:
What brought me here, to this point in business?
Why do I want to flog these particular services or products, in this way, to these lovely folks?
What do I think I can help with?
Why would anyone care?
Don’t get bogged down by listing every date and milestone. And don’t get too carried away. You have to be real. No magical unicorn encounters please (unless that really happened of course).
You Are a Big Deal
I don’t have delusions of being a superhero, let’s just get that out of the way right now. I’m not on a mythic quest to save humankind with my clever words, mad spelling abilities, or epic virtual assistant skills. But I do like to think I have a little extra somethin' - somethin’. We all do, of course.
Your talents, skills, or special knowledge, combined with your unique history and perspective, make you different from the next person. Your parents were right when they said you were a special little meatball.
The point is, you are a Bigger Deal than you think, my friend. And writing your business origin story helps to anchor this belief in your mind--and more importantly, in your heart--so that others might believe in you too.
My Origin Story goes something like this:
As a child I fell in love with Africa through the likes of Wild Kingdom and musty stacks of National Geographic magazines. Fast forward a dozen or so years and I found myself marrying a guy who was born in Africa into an expat family. Several years and two kids later we found ourselves living in rural Tanzania. On the side of working in the family hospitality business, I put my admin expertise to use working remotely with other businesses. I learned that it’s possible to work efficiently, collaborate with teams, and provide cost-effective business support without being in the same location--or even on the same continent. I tested this further and continued to develop and use my remote work skills as I travelled the globe. Now I get to enjoy my dream lifestyle while helping others run their dream businesses.
Focus on the why. Why did you get into this? What drove you? And then sprinkle in a few details about your inspiration. Your aha! moment when it all changed, or came together. And it’s a story after all, so describe the setting, the key characters, and some of the drama or challenges along the way to your arrival.
If you’re a business owner in the travel space, you might have a story about your first visit to the island paradise that so enchanted you, you never left. Or you might share the memory of how your love of train travel was inspired by stories your grandfather used to tell of riding the rails as a youngster.
Put your origin story front and centre on your website, not just on your About page. Put it in your brochures, or write a condensed version for your menu. In a few sentences, explain how it happened that you ended up here and most curiously, why.
Remember to answer those questions from the beginning: Where am I coming from? Why am I doing this? and Why should people care? After all, it's that why that keeps you going. Your answers may surprise you. But they will unearth truths that will help you market your business from an authentic perspective--its origin story.