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Backstory, Authenticity & Drama: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Reality TV

I enjoy reality talent television. Even if you don't there's an essential element of reality TV that every small business can all learn from.

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2. You’re Thinking in the Present

Sometimes as entrepreneurs we are so busy with the daily management of our businesses it’s hard to think about why we started in the first place.

But your backstory isn’t about where your business is today. A compelling backstory builds your company’s narrative — it informs consumers of 1) What made you who you are today, and 2) Why you started your small business in the first place.”

Here’s an example:

“As a kid, during the summer holiday, I can remember my Mom and Grandma Sarah making fresh fruit pies in our small kitchen. My Grandma taught me how to make the dough from scratch, clean the fruit; she taught me how to sprinkle the sugar in too. We always had the radio on, dancing in our aprons to the Beatles. To this day, I associate apple pie with Paul McCartney. So today, when I look at my company ‘Sarah’s Pie Shop,’ I always think about how much fun and love my Mom and my Grandma Sarah put into their pies. I hope I do the same.”

To create an effective backstory, think about your life to-date.  What ideas, places, people or events shaped you?  Take these ideas and weave them into the story to your present-day accomplishments.

3. Your Past is Kinda Normal

Some of us are just normal people with short attention spans and no intriguing or captivating backstory to share. Now what?

Use a mentorship story or share a story about something that happened to someone else that influenced you. Make it unique and infuse your personality. For example:

“I got into computing at a late age. I’m no child prodigy. I didn’t have a lemonade stand when I was four years old. I didn’t program my way to a multimillion dollar company by the time I was 12. I have never worked out of my garage. But I have kept up with the late Steve Jobs. I share a few quirks with him – very creative and very focused. I watch too much TV and I read too few books, but I can speak three languages in the country of their origin, so watching the Spanish soap operas is a challenge of time, not skill. I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

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