Understanding your unspoken role as Chief Storyteller

Will Richards
June 4, 2024
5 min read
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The role of a founder is many things, but one common thread connects them all: being the Chief Storyteller.

For founders getting started, the power of storytelling can help bring others on the journey when there is no traction or product.

For founders at scale, storytelling is a device to keep high-performing teams engaged, new customers excited, and investors on your side.   

Founder who can confidently tell their story, craft a narrative around their startup and communicate it with their audience is a league ahead of their competitors. 

For a business to truly resonate with its audience and build a lasting brand, the founder must be at the forefront of its storytelling.

This article delves into why embracing this role is non-negotiable, drawing inspiration from some of the distinguished speakers from the Startup Speakers' network.

Building Emotional Connections with Customers

Consider Reuban Williams and Ryan Walker, co-founders of SportsGrad, who help individuals secure their dream roles in the sports industry. They're both exemplifiers of building emotional connections through his narratives. 

By sharing stories of personal success and the positive impact it has had on others, the boys create an emotional bridge with their audience, fostering a connection based on shared dreams and aspirations.

Inspiring Teams Through Powerful Narratives

Grace Brown is a Gen Z founder building social companion robots. She's relied on storytelling to bring investors and teammates with her on her mission. Her robot, Abi, arcs back to animations from Pixar and Disney to give users a sense of familiarity and nostalgia. 

With her companion robot, Grace plans to help solve staffing issues in some of the fastest-growing sectors, like aged care. This ambitious goal feels ever more tangible after Grace shares her plans for the future. 

Grace Brown

Painting a Picture for Customers

Consider Sam Almaliki, founder of Startup Speakers. 

One notable aspect of Sams's story was as the Head of Commercials at Acusensus, where he secured over $120 million in contracted revenue in four years. Sam was selling revolutionary technology to large governments.

To convince all government layers, Sam needed to tailor the Acusensus story to each individual. 

Crafting Culture Through Stories

Frank Greeff's journey is characterised by resilience and the importance of fostering a high-performance culture. 

Once a chef, Frank left everything to start his PropTech business. Frank scaled his business, Realbase, to 350 staff and a $180M exit to the Domain group. 

Frank now combines his passion for food, storytelling and business acumen with his mission to raise $1M for charity. 

What stories can you use?

The narratives founders share can profoundly influence the perception and engagement of their brand.

Below are various types of stories that founders can leverage to forge connections with their audience, enhance their brand, and motivate their teams.

The Origin Story

These are potent narratives explaining why and how a business started, often leveraging personal experience by the founder. 

Take Nikki Tugano, founder of SeenCulture, who shares her experiences as an underrepresented entrepreneur. Her journey humanizes her brand and makes it relatable.

Customer Success

Reuben Williams, who launched SportsGrad with his partner Ryan Walker, emphasizes the importance of networking and taking a chance on a side hustle.

Their success stories spotlight how their services help individuals achieve their career goals, emphasizing the brand's commitment to customer satisfaction.

Build Empathy through Behind-the-Scenes Stories

Providing a glimpse into the inner workings of the company builds trust. 

Joumana Elomar's public narratives include her strategies and failures in building her design studio, Skale. 

Joumana Elomar

Reiteration and reminders

Narratives that communicate the company's vision, strategy, and core values inspire and build a strong brand identity in the market.

Matt Vitale shares his passion for supporting Australian entrepreneurs in optimising their capital-raising methods, which resonates widely with employees and customers.

Owning the Pivot

Everyone has a plan till they're punched in the face," said Mike Tyson. 

The reality is that no business or founder emerges unscathed. 

Talking about mistakes, pivots, and learning can be a fantastic way to build empathy with the audience. 

Take advantage of storytelling as a founder

Startup Speakers is a network of founders seeking to share and improve their storytelling ability. If you’re looking to join our ranks, please apply to join here.

If you’re a founder, entrepreneur or innovator looking to level up your public speaking and storytelling, make sure you register for our public speaking masterclass here.   

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