How to find your story and tell it

Recently we gave a masterclass for young entrepreneurs who are beginning their journey. They wanted advice on sharing a story that would resonate with investors and customers. It’s not easy figuring out the best way to land who you are and what you do - and in a way that makes people care, but it’s worth it.

Stories are powerful; that’s no secret. They’re the best way for complex information to be shared. And they do much more: they stick in our heads, build trust and empathy (for the characters), and they teach us. The best take us on a journey. Think of your favourite novel - did it take you to another world, through someone else’s life, or perhaps on an emotional journey?

“Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.”

Neil Gaiman

Having a clear narrative works in marketing too. Helping cut through the noise and clutter while conveying what we want our audiences to know. Let’s just not forget we’re responsible for the journey people take with us.


Whether you’re pitching yourself or work with a brand that has a great story to tell, strive to be unique and memorable in what you say and do. That’s what gives you an advantage.

Finding your story

Everyone and every business have a lead story. Sometimes it just takes some finding. The easiest way is to get some help. Fresh eyes see what you overlook, helping uncover interesting hooks that inspire the premise at the story’s heart. Here are some trigger questions to help you get started:


  • What does the brand (or you) look like on the very best day – when passions are visible, when the mission is clear, when values take control?
  • What parts of the backstory are the fuel?
  • What are those who do similar things up to, what sets you apart?
  • What would you say in an elevator when you’ve got 10 floors to get your companion to say – that’s interesting, tell me more?
  • Ask yourself why five times – this help get to a sharper answer and beyond any surface-level, generic words.


If you’re finding these hard, that’s not surprising. We tend to be good critics when evaluating others; turning the mirror on ourselves, well, that’s simply uncomfortable. Try using the words someone else would - what would your colleagues, customers and competition say?


And remember, elevate as much as you can. Your passion drives you, and that’s infectious (in a good way). Now we’re halfway through, it’s time for a Simon Sinek quote:

“People won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement or idea until they understand the WHY behind it” Simon Sinek

Crafting your story

Next up, the art of telling the story. You're probably exhausted by all that soul searching – but keep going – it's worth it.

"The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked... that's the moment you may be starting to get it right." Neil Gaiman

The first thing to do is narrow things down. The secret, as in so many things, is in what you leave out. Try writing a premise – a short statement of what the story is about. Write it in everyday language, live with it for a bit, test it out, and play with the words – try swapping in exciting or unexpected phrases.


The craft stage is vital - that the bit others experience. Aim for memorability – because a standout story sticks in hearts and minds. And is remembered for all the right reasons.


Unless you’re a follower brand, you‘ll need to bend a few of the conventions along the way. Here’s some tips and tricks for a unique and memorable story, one people can’t wait to hear.

“There is no magic in magic; it's all in the details.” Walt Disney

  • The rule of three – three benefits, three points, three acts – it’s a magic number when it comes to making stories stick
  • Bend the language – try alliteration, rhyme, and unexpected words to cut through
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat – link the start to the climax, make the main point again and again, be clear on what you’re asking people to do, and ask them again
  • Keep things visual – people process images faster than words
  • Add audio to your visuals – video is the most memorable format because the more areas of the brain that light up, the more senses evoked, the more the story will stick
  • Facts and figures help make the case and our credibility. Our brains struggle to process abstract concepts, so keep it real
  • Twist clichés; use analogies and comparisons to help people see the point - from their point of reference


If you want more like this, check out Chip and Dan’s brilliant book – Made To Stick


A well-crafted story is simple, real and true. Think of it as a guide to your journey and the journey you’re taking people on. Stories are not single, static entities - they grow and evolve. A good story is more than one chapter and it can spark a series that people want to binge on.

I hope these tips help you make the end of this story, the beginning of yours.

| The End |

Hassle-free creative starts here

Come and visit us

We're based in the old smuggling heart of London, Limehouse

London, England, UK

45 Sirius, 3 Jardine Road, London E1W 3WE

ahoy@smugglers.pro

(+44) 7957 595 419

Hassle-free creative starts here

Come and visit us

We're based in the old smuggling heart of London, Limehouse

London, England, UK

45 Sirius, 3 Jardine Road, London E1W 3WE

ahoy@smugglers.pro

(+44) 7957 595 419