Every business has a story, but not every business tells its story.

It is this business story that originally set you apart from others doing similar things. Your business started because you were going to do something different. A unique combination of skills, passion, insight….and guts!

And so you opened your doors, and time started to tick. Phones rang. E-mails drowned you. Government red tape chipped away at your energy. Sales either exploded, or more likely, struggled to pick up. Competitors popped up. Customers became difficult.

Before you knew it, the original story behind starting your business was long forgotten. You became like everyone else, trying to survive by playing the same game, in the same way. You discounted your price. You over promised and under delivered. You did work for people whom you didn’t like. You became a beggar; not a chooser. Or, in some cases, you were scrambling to keep things together amidst a rush of growth.

This is the story that plays out before my eyes many times. Owners losing touch with the business-story that started it all. They’ve gone from passionate story-tellers when it all started, to mere actors in a boring soap opera, called the market.

It is when you lose touch with your original “founder’s story” that your business starts down a slippery path to irrelevance. Just another quote on the table.

A lot of what I do in my work with owners is to try and find that original story that started it all, way back in time, and capture it in the form of a brand identity.

Today we talk about mission, purpose and values, but really, all that these academic terms try to capture is the unique story of your business. It is a pity that so few owners have theirs written out, because it is so easy to forget and become like everyone else. Boring.

Image credit: Flickr