As a business owner, you need a portfolio of stories – and not just “how I struggled to get here” stories. You can learn more about types of stories in my book, Grow Your Business One Story At A Time.
You can also learn more on Episode 22 of the Strategic Storytelling podcast: Stories that explain, preach, or deliver a tough message. Click here to listen on your favorite platform.
We don’t hear much about concept stories, but most entrepreneurs use them. A concept story explains an idea, concept, or even a whole business model. It’s often an analogy.
The concept story explains a complex or novel idea and often teaches a lesson. This type of story often contains a twist. And the best concept stories also create an “aha” moment.
My favorite example isn’t a business story. But once you’ve heard it, you’ll be reminded every time you see people doing something useless because they can’t do something useful.
You can google “drunk lost car keys story.” It goes something like this:
A passerby (sometimes a police officer) sees a man stumbling around a lamppost.
He asks, “What are you doing?”
The man, who seems to have stayed too long at the bar, says, “I lost my car keys.”
“I’ll help you,” says the passerby. “Did you lose them here?”
“No! I dropped them over there in the alley.”
“So why are you looking here?”
“Because the light is better here.”
Once you’ve heard this story, you’ll start seeing the drunk and the lamppost everywhere.
In my book on storytelling, I talk about a woman who wanted to be a high profile keynote speaker. To reach her goal, she became active in her local Toastmasters club.
“What’s the likelihood you can use Toastmasters to become a professional speaker?” we asked.
“It’s all I’ve got,” she shrugged.
Of course it’s not. She could build a platform by writing a book, getting published in high-quality outlets, and more.
Once you start noticing, you’ll see this story in a lot of places.
“This medical test has a huge false positive rate and almost no impact on saving lives. But it’s all we have.”
“I’ll spend my time with this project which won’t grow my business; it’s something I can do easily.”
“We don’t have money to give everyone raises so we’ll give everyone a nice box of candy as a holiday gift.”
The “drunk and the lamppost story” remains a truly powerful concept story…easy to remember and changes the way you view the world. Adding some controversy doesn’t hurt either.
Do you have a concept story in your portfolio?