The Importance of Positive Storytelling for Young Entrepreneurs

The following post is by Muhammad Danish, an app developer and founder of DANamic.ORG. Currently, Danish is also a YouthSpark Coordinator at Microsoft’s Asia Pacific Area Headquarters, focused on empowering students in Singapore to take up computer science and programming.

Despite being born into the digital age, there are many young entrepreneurs who do not understand how to effectively broadcast themselves and their brand by taking advantage of this interconnected world that we live in today.

So, how do you get the word out about your awesome product, startup, brand and self; especially if you’re not keen on spending a single cent? Because, let’s face it, as a budding entrepreneur, you really don’t have much of a budget to work with!

First, get the attention of the people who want to hear your message. Everyone’s focus is moving fast, making ‘time’ and ‘attention’ two of the most valuable resources you’re ever going to get. One inexpensive way of doing this is through social media. Instead of using these channels as “loudspeakers” to bombard people with information, use them more effectively with a two-way conversation.

That means, don’t talk about yourself 90% of the time. People only pay attention when you engage with them – that’s how you give others value and respect. The best way to do this is by learning how to properly tell your story positively on each and every platform.

Smart and savvy entrepreneurs understand that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect product’ and that you can’t grow without competition. With that in mind, here are seven suggested keystones to live by when crafting your own story:

1. Take the high road. If you want to beat your competition, establish an uplifting image of your startup, brand or self. Don’t try to put down your competition; no one likes a sore loser.

2. Pick a meaningful message, and stick with it. Pick one that represents your brand well, or even better: you, and then stick to it like superglue. Don’t switch messages if you think it’s failing, because trust takes time.

3. Speak in simple language. You may have been taught in school that sending people to the dictionary every two sentences is a good thing. It’s not. When you use simple words, people understand your story more easily, and develop a closer connection to you.

4. Acknowledge your competition. We like to believe we’re the best in our space, but where there’s far worse, there’s also far better. Becoming successful isn’t just about being critical of the weaknesses of others, but also being critical of yourself.

5. Get everyone on the same page. We like to believe that our successes are always our own. In reality, it’s usually a result of all the support from the people and ideas around us. When you take the time to explain your message to colleagues, family and friends, it makes believing easier.

6. Kill the ego. Maybe the best advice isn’t from yourself, but from the people who receive your message. Take the time to ask them what they’ve been hearing about you. It may not always be pretty, but it’s a darn good reality check.

7. Strive for humanness. Your startup – and sometimes that means you as an individual – needs to speak, think and feel like a human being. We relate better to people than to objects, and sometimes in the pursuit of trying to get ourselves out there, we forget that.

In short, reputation and brands are built on what people are saying about you, and not what you’re saying about yourself. Anyone can be a storyteller when they put in the hard work and do a lot of listening!

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