Tag Archives: Storytelling

Two Stories Every Entrepreneurship Student Should Tell

An entrepreneur needs resources from others. Financial capital. Human capital. Social capital. Political capital. The easiest path to someone’s resources is a great story.

After hammering away at discovering a problem and identifying early adopters, I turn my focus to my students’ storytelling abilities.

Entrepreneurial Story

My students “meet” Garr Reynolds and Nancy Duarte. In particular we watch Nancy’s incredible TED talk about how great talks wiggle between what is and what could be.

I then give students a preview of a great deck: Airbnb’s redesigned deck.

The students are in no position to assemble a deck for an investor. Knowing the components necessary to tell a story successfully to an investor is a critical lesson for anyone wanting to build a scalable business. The Airbnb deck has those components. Each student must fill in a template of that deck about their idea.

They struggle with doing real research.

They struggle with estimating market size.

They struggle with explaining a simple business model.

OK, ok. They basically struggle with every slide except the first one (and some even struggle there!) They understand why they need to tell a powerful story, and how hard it is to tell a powerful story.

Personal Story

I then shock my students.

I have them fill out a second deck. They are the product.

Students need to see themselves as a product with value. They need to understand how to position that value in the marketplace. They need to get comfortable selling themselves to potential employers. They struggle even more with this deck, but past students have told me this is one of the most valuable experiences in their college tenure.

Selling Through a Story

I want my students to understand that they need to always be selling. As an employee, they are selling a product or service, to internal or external customers. As an entrepreneur, they are selling product or service, selling value, selling equity. They are selling possibility, they are selling reality (hopefully!), they are selling solutions to problems.

Talk to your students about storytelling.

Make your students tell their entrepreneurial story.

Make your students tell their personal story.

It will hurt, but it is a powerful exploration they need to take.