In your small business’s marketing story, you probably talk about how you first imagined your product, how you brought together your team, and how you created your business culture. However, what few businesses fail to mention is how they could afford to do all that.
Funding is an essential step in building a business: Without money, you cannot gain the tools and talent you need to generate success. Yet, money is a tricky topic when it comes to storytelling marketing. Consumers are often all too aware that small businesses are seeking profits, and any mention of the green stuff might put them off. Still, not only is it possible to tastefully include stories of your small business’s funding adventures ― it is beneficial to be transparent about how you get the money you need.
If you are eager to add more detail to your business narrative, you should consider telling your funding story. To do so without offending your audience, you might reflect on the following questions:
Where Did You Get Your Startup Funding?
Maybe you made a successful pitch to a powerful venture capital firm. Maybe you convinced your friends and family to contribute to your cause. Maybe, even, you scrimped and saved for years to have enough cash to make your business dreams come true without anyone else’s financial help. Somehow, some way, you procured the money to fund your business, and somewhere in those experiences there is a fascinating story.
As with any part of your business narrative, the way you tell the story is just as important as its content. It is possible to add drama and squeeze meaning from nearly any experience. For example, rather than mentioning your crowdfunding campaign, you can describe the backbreaking effort of shooting and marketing your video as well as the emotional highs and vindication of seeing contributions stack up. Indeed, successful crowdfunding shows that you are mindful of your audience and interested in creating products that your customers truly want. Similarly, a successful bootstrapping story will illustrate your determination to accomplish your goals, and a tale of venture capitalists or angel investors proves that your business is exceedingly promising. Your initial funding story can be a valuable tool in explaining your brand.
How Are You Funding Growth?
Funding is rarely ever a one-and-done endeavor. Especially during the first few years of a business’s life, you must constantly look for new sources of cash. These experiences might also be part of your funding story: For one, it can highlight the struggles your fledgling business continues to overcome, and for another, it might entice some angel to support your business.
What’s more, it might encourage you to find alternative forms of growth funding — ones that might better fit your business narrative. For example, you might look into obtaining a business line of credit for your imminent construction effort or asset purchase because it tells a better story than another boring business loan. Alternatively, you might apply for more competitive funding opportunities, like contests, incubators, or government grants, if any are available for your industry. As with your initial funding story, you should strive to describe your growth funding in an exciting and interesting way, to hold your customers’ interest and encourage them to engage with your business.
Why Do Your Customers Care?
This is a common question among business owners who are struggling to pen their business narrative for the first time. Why would a consumer care about a business’s financial roots? Don’t most consumers prefer high-quality products or outstanding deals over companies with compelling funding stories?
It is true that some audiences are swayed primarily by price and characteristics, but a growing number of consumers are paying closer attention to the businesses they support. Study after study on consumer preferences demonstrates that consumers are willing to pay marginally more for products from a company that aligns with their ideals and beliefs. Your business narrative explains your brand’s values, and your funding story contributes with messages about how you acquire and spend money. Businesses that are less transparent about their financial practices might boast dubious practices that consumers don’t agree with; the more information you can give your audience about the goodness of your business, the better.