“Here’s my card.” Thank you very much,” you respond, as you reach out to take the card from the storytelling professional standing before you. She had come to interview you on a story she is doing on your business.
You met her at a cocktail party seven days earlier, and during discussions, she had gotten to know what you do. She had advised you to tell your value story, so as to grow your business by letting your market know exactly what you can do and how you operate. Her mission is to help you use the power of storytelling to amplify your message and increase your influence, or the volume and value of your business. Now, she had come to conduct an interview with you. As she departs, she hands you over her business card saying, “Here’s my card,” with a parting message: “Remember, as soon as you get the information, please call me on my mobile line.” “I will,” you reply. Then she departs.
As she goes, you glance at her card. On the little piece of paper, under her name is the inscription:
Storytelling for Small Business
….We help you tell your value stories to make your business grow….
Storytelling for small business, you wonder? Yes there is. It is now a field of specialisation in the storytelling business where storytelling professionals are doing big business. These storytellers are offering professional services as other professionals such as, Public Relations for Small Business; Marketing for Small Business.
Storytelling for Small Business simply means that everybody, every business, no matter the size and clout has a story to tell, to grow in influence, earnings, market size and prosperity. And for maximum impact, let a storytelling professional do the job, especially the one that specialises in small business. There are plenty of stories to tell about a small business. The small business operator may not know this, but the storyteller knows where the story is. Just let her do the job, and you will be surprised at the impact on your life and business
For the small business storyteller, charity should begin at home. That is, her card has to tell a story of what she does, what she can do, and what value she can add to your life, family and business.
The business card illustrated above tells a simple story. What InfoTell does… the speacialsation… and the impact…that is, your small business will grow. And so, what does your business card say? Does it tell a good story about what you can do, and the value you can add in a few words? Unfortunately, many business cards do not tell a good story, or do not tell any story at all. It is all name, title, qualifications and identity; no story, no indication of value added.
If this applies to you, how can you, as a professional network well? How can you get more business? Has it not occurred to you that your business card is a cost-effective medium to tell your own value story in a few words; that your card is a useful storytelling medium? With this revelation, take another look at your business card. Does it tell a story? If not, you have to rework it to tell a story and increase your marketability in the marketplace.
“Here’s my card.” “Thank you,” but what is your story? When you give out your business card, you establish a communication link with the receiver, and make it possible for her to contact you whenever the need arises.
Your card is a tool to build your contacts and network with business partners, and other professionals and contacts. People and organisations must get to know you, know what you can do, the value you add, where to locate you, and how to reach you by email, fax or telephone. This is the story you tell in your business card for give-away to other professionals and business associates.
“Here’s my card,” Thanks, but does it tell any story? If not, you have to start all over again. The world has gone beyond the information age. We are now in the age of communication and value-added, and storytelling is a winning strategy you can use to do it well in a small medium such as a business card. If you do not tell your story, the marketplace will not recognise you. Instead, the market will tell a distorted story about you and ruin your reputation and business.
“Here’s my card.” Have you examined it critically? Does your card in the real sense say in a few words all that is necessary about you, your organisation, your vision, your values, your inspiration and motivation, the goods and services you are offering the marketplace, and all you can do?
NIKE, the sports footwear maker in the USA, has a motivational payoff….Just do it! That is a positive charge, which tells a story.
When you give out your card, what are you saying with that card? Are you saying, this is my story, let’s establish a link. Or you are saying this is my identity; this is where you can reach me? The big question now is, why do you give away your business card? If the motive and content (story) is not right, then no work is done. If your business card merely identifies you in today’s crowded marketplace, that is becoming increasingly competitive, then it does not have much value. That card is simply an extension of your identity.
Some professionals have a myopic impression of their business cards. They regard it as complimentary cards. So who or what are you complimenting, when you give your card? Yourself? Not likely. Your personality? How can? Your business? Maybe. Your receipient? Never! She wants to be empowered, she wants solutions to her problems, to achieve her desires, and to get value for money, not compliments at this stage. Solve her problems, add value to her life and business, and then you can compliment her later. That is the order. Your client wants more value and less compliments.
And what do you brand your cards? Business cards. That’s more like it. If so, are your cards businesslike? How much story have you put in those cards to generate big business for you, so that whenever you give it away it away and say, “Here’s my card,” you are making an impact; you are leaving behind, an extension of your abilities, achievements, line of business, and specialisation. In other words, you are leaving behind a marketing tool with a voice that should speak for you, any time, anywhere, and even work for you while you are rest. A good way of achieving this objective is to make your business card tell a story.
Eric Okeke is a storyteller, editor, business writer, motivational speaker and author of the best selling book: I Want a Husband. He is one of Nigeria’s most experienced financial journalists. He has published several articles in local and foreign publications and in websites such as http://www.ezinearticles.com, www.ezinearticles.com and www.writingcareer.com. He is currently running Infomedia Company, a media consulting and information marketing company. Visit his blog at http://sallywantsahusband.blogspot.com