Why startups need to build a great story

Ideas are plenty. And they are all about changing the world. But ideas alone do not make a good story or at least the story which investors want to hear from you.

Here's what one of my favorite investors, Tomasz Tungz from the world of SaaS says about the kind of story he looks out for:

When I’m meeting a startup for the first time, my goal is to understand as much about the business and team as I can.

Founders/Team: How do the founders know each other? How do they interact with each other? Are they passionate? How qualified are they? What would it be like to work with them?

Business: In some form, I walk through the Business Model Generation framework: value proposition, key activities, key partners, major assets, channels of distribution, customer segments, cost structure and revenue streams. Is the problem worth solving and if the startup succeeds, how valuable would it be?

Go to market: Can the company articulate their value proposition simply? Can the team explain how they will go to market? Do they have a good understanding of the competition?

The angle: What secret, what insight has the founding team made that the rest of the market hasn’t yet realized? What discontinuity in the market can they leverage to win large share?

So how does one transition from a set of ideas to a great story ?

A great story evolves as you develop clarity on what your startup is about:

  1. A startup needs to understand who are the users and what is their world view. Observe what they do, not just what they tell you.

  2. A startup needs to understand in depth not just superficially what kind of problems users have. If these problems are really important for your users then they would be trying to solve them already. A key question is when do users face the problem. It is not just what the problem is but why the problem is being faced.

  3. Do you really have the right solution to solve your users problems ? The right solution might be an electric sports car, not a barely fit into kind of electric vehicle. Though both resonate with the user's world view of a greener planet.

  4. Apple is not just a great product company. It is also a great marketing company. Apple makes the user feel special by telling them a great story. People connect with each other over their love for Apple products. Is your marketing about your users or is it about you ?

  5. Everything your startup does should be measured in terms of impact. Great stories are not built on theory alone. They are built on a base of experiments and metrics to track all that you do. You have to build a learning organization.

  6. Lastly a great startup story is about its team. Leonidas I took 300 men up against the huge Persian army and prevented the Persian invasion of Greece. There will always be that Persian army out there. The point is whether in your story you have a fight to the death team or not.

Building a startup is also very much a roller coaster ride and founders need to be natural optimists and super confident people to go on that ride. And even when startups already have a product and some traction, it is not done till it is done. The story still has a few unfinished chapters and one needs to keep evolving that story to greater heights. If there are a million users already, that's nice, but the story is just getting started. It is now time to figure out what worked and double down on that, or come up with new ideas to try and scale to the next level.

A great team will not be satisfied easily, will stay focused and keep pushing the bar. So what is that story that you will plan to build which will inspire a great team to come together?

It is not just the investors that you have to have a story for. It is for everyone. Your team, your customers, and most importantly, you have to have a story for you too.

Our own still unfolding story is to help create thousands of successful startup stories by helping each of you build a great story for your startup.

We do this by helping you go from unstructured but good ideas to a structured and great execution plan based on validation and metrics. Yes, adding structure to ideas may appear to be too much effort and it is definitely not straightforward to figure out how to approach the whole execution thing, but that is where UberStarter's smart tools, and community of entrepreneurs steps in to guide startups through the process of building a great story !