Our CEO, Trynka Shineman, offers advice on how to tell your business story

I often talk about the fact that every business owner we work with has a unique point of view on the product or service they want to provide. They pour a lot of their personality, passion and beliefs into their business and the outcome is something that’s truly one-of-a-kind. But interestingly, one thing I find is that our business owners have a hard time articulating what makes them stand out. It’s critical that you start here when thinking about how to pitch your business.

I ask customers some simple questions:

  1. Why should people choose you versus your competitor for a similar product or service?
  2. What is most important to you in your business?
  3. What makes you proud?
  4. How did you choose to design your product/service/selection?
  5. Why did you choose to design your product/service/selection?
  6. What would your customers say about you/how would your customers describe you?
  7. Do you offer customers special benefits that others don’t (personal service, pricing, add-ons, convenience)?

I remember speaking to a woman last year about her business, an online clothing boutique. I asked her how she chose her merchandise, and she said she loved bohemian chic clothes that would look flattering on any size/shape woman. I asked about how she prices her clothes, and she told me she offers everyone free delivery every day. I asked about why someone should go to her shop, and she explained that she updated her merchandise every week!

I reflected this back to her: Bohemian chic clothes that look good on every woman. Check us out weekly for new looks and inspiration. Try us any day with free delivery.

The messages were powerful and compelling, and truly differentiated. They were also very different to the messages she was using at the time to communicate her proposition to customers. We were able to use this 15-minute conversation to create materials that truly reflected what she stood for, and what was important to her.

So, sit down with a friend or family member, or grab a cup of coffee, and don’t start by trying to tell your story or pitch your business. Start by answering these questions and from there create a story that really highlights your unique self.

About the Author

As Vistaprint’s CEO, Trynka spends a lot of her time developing a deeper understanding of micro business owners and what they need to succeed. Knowing this, Vistaprint consistently evolves the e-commerce site, develops innovative new products, and creates tools that make running a micro business easier so owners can focus on making an impact.

Trynka brings 20+ years leadership experience in market research and analysis, strategic planning, database marketing and e-commerce. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Cornell University and an M.B.A from Columbia Business School.

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