The three P's of telling your business story

Every business owner needs to become a storyteller, says founder of Sydney Writers’ Centre and start-up investor, Valerie Khoo.

In her book, Power Stories: The 8 stories you must tell to build an epic business, she’s defined the narratives business owners should be telling people.

Throughout the book, Valerie enlightens entrepreneurs about how to craft meaningful stories to effectively promote their businesses to everyone – from peers and potential customers, to investors and media.

We’ve pulled out insights from three ‘power stories’ – about your passion, pitch, and product – which Valerie believes every business owner should tell.

Power Stories by Valerie Khoo

Learn how you can become a powerful storyteller and build your business. Image source:


Telling your passion story

Your passion story explains the ‘why’ behind what gets you out of bed every morning, Valerie writes.

When you show people how passionate you are about your business, it becomes infectious.

Valerie advises business owners to show how your passion helps people, as a way to power that infectiousness.

Regularly sharing your passion story will more quickly attract people who can help you pursue your passion, Valerie writes.


Telling your pitch story

This is a particularly important story for entrepreneurs who need to convince investors, customers and even suppliers to buy into their idea.

Valerie says your pitch story should do two things:

1. Clearly express how your idea or business solves a big problem for customers;
2. Demonstrate how your idea can survive in market, long term.

She offers this advice to business owners who want to craft a solid pitch: “It needs to intrigue someone enough that they want to talk to you, but not be so wacky that it scares them off”.

Startup meeting pitch

Startup founders need to define a very clear pitch story to convince investors their business or idea solves a problem for customers.


Telling your product story

As a business owner, you can craft an engaging product story by telling customers two things: what your product is and what it can do for them.

To effectively sell a customer on what a product can do for them, it’s important to promote benefits of a product, instead of listing product features.

Valerie demonstrates how explaining benefits, not features, helps to sell the value of product to a customer.

An example in the book of selling a microphone shows the difference between feature-driven and benefit-driven language:
• Features: DVCam directional condenser microphone.
• Benefits: This microphone is great if you’re interviewing someone and you don’t want to pick up background noise.

When you list only the technical specifications of a product, you lose the opportunity to clearly demonstrate how a product can be useful to a customer, through story.

There are five more secrets to building an ‘epic business’

Follow the three Ps, and Valerie’s five more stories as your essential guide to “harnessing the awesome power of a well-told story” and you might have a bigger story to tell: how you successfully built an epic business.

Looking for more useful business advice? Find small business books that can help improve your business.