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Tuesday Tips | Real Life Storytelling Strategies for Small Business Owners

Find Your Signature Story | Real Life Storytelling Strategies for Small Business Owners | Tuesday Tips | With a K Writing Services | Kris Windley | Writing Coach | Moncton

Nobody told you when you opened your business that you would have to learn how to write effective stories, but good storytelling is the best way for you to connect with your people and communicate your genuine marketing message to them effectively.

It’s also a great way for small business owners like you and me to find the right message to begin with. Truthful and effective brand identities often begin with a great story. In fact, if you answer some leading story-building questions honestly, you might be surprised by what you what you really want your business to stand for.

It could be a turning point for you and your business. No joke.

Asking the right questions – and answering them honestly – will help you find your Business’ Signature Story:

1. Why do you do this, instead of say raising wild turtles for sport?

If you don’t know the answer to this one, you have some serious splainin’ to do. Not many people start a business because they had nothing better to do – and if they do, they don’t just choose an industry at random.

What do you love about what you do? Are you drawn to something about the art or service you provide? Is there a greater cause you feel you can help by doing this thing? Did you have a mentor or did someone you love pass the skills or tradition on to you?

What kinds of experiences have led you to doing what you do instead of any of the other wild and wooly things you could be doing?

There is always a really good “Why” for small business owners. You may need to work a bit to articulate it, but I think we can all agree that it’s key.

I do what I do because I want women to feel great about sharing their real voices with the world – proudly. I love the new confidence in women who realize their stories are significant and amazing, and I love being a part of sharing them.

2. What will force you to continue, even during the dark night of your small business’ soul?

Because you will have some dark nights kitten, and your clients need to trust that you won’t get going when the tough stuff hits the proverbial fan (you probably need to know this too, because you will need to remind yourself at some point).

This one might even help you articulate your first answer even better. Both answers are related to the passion that leads you to do what you do – the thing that will make you more magnetic, trustworthy and exciting for your clients to work with.

3. Think of the moment you realized that opening your small business was possible – that you would take the leap and make your own life. Describe it according to your 5 senses.

Just that. This turning point will tell you a whole lot about where your story wants to go or where it should come from.

I don’t want you to go into great detail about losing your job or getting sick or being hit with a childcare situation you couldn’t fix and keep working for someone else. Those are reasons you stopped doing something.

I want you to think about the moment you realized you could start something even better. Yup! That one, kitten.

Now remember where you were, who you were with, what you were talking and thinking about, what you were eating or smelling and what sounds you heard around you. Describe that moment in the most delicious, slow motion close-up way you can; those details make your moment even more real and beautiful for your readers, and it inspires hella trust.

4. What about those times you tried doing something else instead?

We grow. We change. We make mistakes (oh yes we do), and we become better for having survived them. I want you to think about the things you tried before you realized that you could be the captain of your own lifeboat.

Those challenges, conflicts, crises and mistakes brought you here. They taught you things you could never have learned otherwise, and they are invaluable.

Explore those hard times and figure out what particular point of pressure cooked up the diamond that you are now. No doubt, it’ll be a combination of a lot of factors; explore them all.

I had a lot of these, myself. I’m exploring them all for the book I’m writing right now called Pyjama Year about the year I started “With a K” and “Keyboards and Kickstands”. I started that year in my pyjamas, under the blankets on my couch, shivering madly, filled with mortal terror that I had ruined my and my kids’ lives.

*HINT* I didn’t 🙂

Errrrr…That’s not a whole story, Kris. It’s just a bunch of answers to some questions.

I know! Be patient. Remember? You have to follow the steps in the Writing Process.

We are gathering information right now that will help you to build a beautiful and effective Signature Story for your brand; this is Prewriting in action, kittens, and it is going to be GREAT!

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Jeeze!

Go grab a coffee, or a glass of wine, and curl up with your favourite notebook and pen. Have fun with this stuff and be honest. Your story will come together after you have explored these pieces of the puzzle.

And next week, I’ll give you a nifty printable to help you put these tidbits into a simple story arc outline that will feel satisfying and exciting for you and your readers. Easy Peasy!

Sign up for Tuesday Tips in your inbox (the little green box in the sidebar, above my face), so you don’t miss a thing.

Comment below with one of your story-building answers. I’d love to hear what makes your business such an important part of you.

See you next week!




Kris Windley

Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.

Kris Windley

Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.

You mad? Excited? Have a perspective to share? Please do!


  1. […] talked about this a bit, when I wrote about exploring your Signature Story a little while ago. It’s really the most important thing for you to identify before you […]

  2. […] Find your story – the one that tells the world, honestly and with absolute sincerity, the reason you need to do what you do. […]

  3. […] you that you have an amazing story to tell, and telling you why I want to help you tell it, and how to find your story, and even giving your a free worksheet to help you share your Signature Brand […]

  4. […] and we have always had stories. But nowadays it is being stressed as a skill or a tool to make a message […]

  5. Charlene on October 7, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Hey Kris,

    This was just what I needed to read right now. Life has been crazy and hectic with problem after problem mounting up that draws away from my time to work on my business and leaves me mentally and emotionally exhausted when all I want is to come to my desk with energy and creativity. But I need to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing and find the creativity and energy I need FROM my work, even if I come to the table worn out. I do what I do because I LOVE stories, I love telling them, I love how they’ve affected my life, and I’m passionate about creating a life where I can tell stories people will love for a living, so when work starts to feel like a burden instead of a joy because of how drained I feel, that love is the story I’ll retell myself!

    • KrisWithaK on October 7, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      Beautiful words, Charlene! I totally agree. It takes a lot to get back to hat place of warm and comfortable writing sometimes, but it is so satisfying when you hear your own voice the way it was meant to be. Take a deep breath and imagine Dr. Mantz doing something Mantz-ian. That ought to help too 😉

      Glad you liked Bailey’s and my story!

  6. […] stories to tell; I think I’ve proven that to you over the last month: here and here and here and […]

  7. […] your website for your business into a warm and welcoming online home, and you’ve heard that storytelling is the single most powerful way to reach your clients sincerely, and that you are a legit expert with an interesting and helpful […]

  8. Sage Grayson on September 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Nice prompts! I love sharing stories in my blog posts, and they help me illustrate my points so much better than giving my readers a bulleted list. My clients often tell me that they knew they wanted to work with me after I shared a personal story that they could relate to.

    • KrisWithaK on September 30, 2014 at 7:55 am

      It’s SUPER common for people to say that, and finding a strong signature story behind your brand identity makes your *whole* business feel more human, connected and trustworthy. Keep telling those stories, Sage!

  9. Jen on September 24, 2014 at 12:22 am

    I love this post, Kris. It is so true! As much as I am loving working on my blog, the real reason I have such a passion for it is because I came out of a marriage that made me feel bad about myself. This blog is the story of picking up, moving on and owning my awesome… A chance to help other girls and women (especially my daughter) feel empowered to live a happy life they are proud of. I haven’t said that in the blog yet, not the marriage part. I feel like I will get in trouble. Ugh, old patterns are tricky to break. But, I am growing as a writer and truth teller so yay for that! Xoxo, Jen

    • KrisWithaK on September 24, 2014 at 12:25 am

      YES! Finding that motivation beyond the work is huge. Empowering women – and your own daughters – to live a life they’re proud of? Yup! That’ll get you through the dark nights 🙂 Love it!

  10. Erika on September 23, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    These are some very good questions to ponder. I think I became a nature photographer because as a kid my family used to go hiking in the woods a lot. It was so much fun and a great way to hang out with the family. We were a curious lot, so we always found interesting things on our hikes. Photography gives me an excuse to hike and be curious again but with an element of artistic wonder.

    Thank you for these wonderful prompts, Kris! I look forward to the next post!

    • KrisWithaK on September 24, 2014 at 12:08 am

      Great start, Erika! I used to go hiking with my family a lot too, as a kid. I feel so at home in the woods and near the ocean still. It must be a beautiful to work outside every day 🙂

  11. kathy mercure on September 23, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post, because, I am a storyteller who helps people and businesses to tell their stories. I always say “we all have a story to tell” and here you are telling me to tell my story. I’m going to give it a try and look at it from a different perspective. Thanks Kris!

    • KrisWithaK on September 24, 2014 at 12:10 am

      Do it, Kathy! Like a dentist with bad teeth or a cobbler with bare feet, professional writers like to leave their own stories untold. Let’s hear it!

  12. Nancy on September 23, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Love this post, Kris! It is just what I need right now! I am in the process of reinventing and rebranding my biz and want to be clearer and more in tune with what I really want “it” to be! Thanks for the insight . . . I’ll stay tuned for more tips & it looks like I should check out your site for more valuable info! 🙂

    • KrisWithaK on September 24, 2014 at 12:05 am

      That’s exciting, Nancy! I can’t wait to see where you go from here. It’s so interesting: the process of looking back and finding your self from an experienced vantage point.


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