We are now in part five of the series of how to market a business from scratch.
I know that a lot of this stuff and really everything that we’ve been doing so far has been largely strategic. We’ve done the competitive research, you’ve identified the core personas that you want to work with and bring to your childcare center, and we’ve picked a name for your childcare center. And again, if for whatever reason you haven’t listened to the last couple of parts, I’d encourage you to listen to those. We’re using a childcare center just as an example for consistency. In the last episode, we talked about building a painted picture, or a vivid vision of how your business looks like—what your childcare center will look like over the next three years. Basically, looking out three years and putting pen to paper, or keys down on the keyboard.
In this episode, we’re going to talk about what I like to call your core story which is largely a branding based document that’s going to help you continue to build out the brand (to be discussed in the next episode). But it’s just really going to help you tell your story so when someone asks you kind of what you do and how you do it, you will have a good answer.
Your core story is more along the lines of the origin story—the origin story of why are you starting this child care center. And I don’t want it to be generic, because you’ve got to know that there are lots of other competing businesses. From the competitive research that you have done, you know that there are lots of other childcare centers that are within 5-10-15 minutes of yours. So I want you to really start to look at deep down what are some of the things that you can put into your story that are going to make you stand out?
Here are some of the, I guess, tips and steps to build this core story. First off, it’s got to be true. If there is no truth to this, and you’re just slapping things down to make it sound good, it’s not going to resonate. But again, it’s my hope that you have a larger purpose as to why you’re starting up this childcare center—a larger purpose than to just help kids. Is it because you really had a great experience with your kids at the childcare center that they attended? Is it because you wanted to bring faith-based back to the community? Is there something that you want to do in order to give back? Is this your second or third act in life? I mean, what are some of the things that are going to make it memorable. And that is really, the key to this is that the content has got to be memorable. It’s got to be unforgettable that it just resonates extremely, extremely well. But, what it’ll do is it’s going to quickly build trust—people want to know why you do things. There’s an amazing, amazing TED talk by Simon Sinek about how people don’t buy what you do—they buy, why do you do it.
These origin stories and this core story really—it reveals the true character behind yourself and your business. It really starts to help people just learn if they should trust you or not quite frankly. But at the heart of every great origin story is some kind of event that really helps kind of change the trajectory of the business.
Let me just give you an example of kind of my origin story for my current agency, No Joke Marketing which is my second digital marketing agency. My first agency was a company called Taz solutions which I started when I was around 15 or 16 years of age. I grew the company but there came a point where I was working 70 hour work weeks, and I was running out of cash. Despite the fact that we were making a lot of cash, we were burning through just as much and I decided to pull the plug and sell the business. And every day, for three years I regretted selling that business. The day that my non compete expired, I started up a new company. And that is the origin story behind No Joke Marketing—that I wanted to do everything right to prove that I wasn’t a failure.
In terms of the kind of crafting this a lot of times its kind of once upon a time. So once upon a time, I had this agency, then one day, and that’s really that life-changing event. And you want to get as vivid and as descriptive as you possibly can. And then because of that, this is what I did, until finally and that’s really the turning point. And then you would say so now, for example.
So when you look at crafting the story, it just takes you through the “why” behind everything. And I will tell you that most businesses don’t do this when they’re starting out. But I’m trying to give you everything that you should do to open a new business. And if I were opening up a childcare center, I would want my origin story. I would want something to be vivid and clear. And you might be thinking, “well, Michael, what if I don’t have something that I would encourage you to do one of a few things.”
I would encourage you to consider why are you actually taking this step and moving in this particular direction? Why are you actually opening up this childcare center? You have to have a reason—you don’t just all of a sudden one day wake up and say I want to open up a preschool or a childcare center. It’s a huge commitment, so there has to be something other than just money. You might say, “Well, I’m an investor, and we’re looking at this as an investment.” That’s great, but I would push back and challenge you again. What made you want to invest in childcare? You might say, it’s a good investment and it’s recession-proof. Okay, tell me more. Tell me more. It’s my magical question—tell me more. And what else? Then I’ll circle back and say, tell me more again, drive people bonkers. 95% of the time, the first answer that someone gives is not the real reason, and I’ve done this to myself many, many times. I’ve asked myself, What do I want? Just a general I guess, personal development type question, what do I want, and then I’ll write something down and look at it. And I’m like, “No, there’s no way this is just surface level.” Ask the question over and over again and you get deeper and deeper and deeper.
In conclusion, your core story document is a critical document, it can go along with the painted picture. This then is going to help us craft the brand that’s going to help craft the colors and the taglines, if needed and how you’re going to name the different rooms in your childcare center and the type of employees you’re going to want to bring in this painted picture document. Combined with this document that we just talked about your origin story/core story are two of the most important documents that you will ever write.
Get out there, make a change, and take some action.