I am constantly asked by aspiring founders and entrepreneurs to help them raise funds for their idea or project. When they come to me at these earliest stages of the business, there is nothing more than an idea and potentially a business plan, so then the most crucial asset that investors must evaluate is the founder him or herself. Knowing that I start by having them tell me their story. And things immediately tend to go wrong.
Every founder, product, company, or invention has a story to tell with powerful elements that draw in the listener and entice them to spend time exploring it. It’s no different from the other non-business stories we all know and love, from the fairytales we learn when we first start processing sentences to the most fascinating stories of history.
Stories’ power is in their ability to surface shared values, interests, skills, emotions, and experiences that serve to facilitate strong relationships between the storyteller and his or her audience. In our world of networks and relationships, stories are the ultimate gamechanger. And in the context of fundraising, where capital isn’t raised without these relationships, it’s no different. So, why do many entrepreneurs struggle to tell their stories?