[Friday Learning] Paint your vision when pitching your story

23rd Aug 2013
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If you're an entrepreneur, you're in the business of storytelling by painting a vision. This article helps understand the importance of vision-pitching correctly, to connect with teams, customers and investors.

Articulating vision about the possible future is essential for entrepreneur's success 

As kids we were taught to imagine, visualize characters, nature, and events. Stories were about fairies, demons, history of revolution, world battles, with the help of spoken words, either by teachers, parents or written literature. We grew, we learnt truth, realities of science, and maths. On the way, we lost the craft of imagination and storytelling to a good extent. While the pitching of the vision by entrepreneurs may require the support of numbers, what really connects to audience is the possible impact of the vision. Impact of outcome evokes emotions.

We are humans, not machines, so emotions overshadow rationality with right storytelling

Painting of idea picture starts at the ideation stage itself, and then, while getting co-founders to buy the idea vision. Getting the first few customers to believe in the product requires storytelling by taking the customer on a visual journey benefits. When you try and sell clothes, it's not about the garment but how good the buyer will look wearing it. Asking investor to invest in the venture requires entrepreneur to pitch a telling tale of scale and opportunity. If you can tell a vision you can sell a vision. When there are new ideas, there is new hope.


vision

Entrepreneurship is like a big blank canvas to paint

As entrepreneur moves on the journey the blank canvas gets the colour of his business vision. When the vision is hazy or unclear to the entrepreneur the blank canvas is overwhelming to paint upon. To get the correct vision keep on challenging yourself, asking, “What is Next?”

Vision, when painted with clarity, is crisp, it gets the deserving attention

Storytelling pitch must entice the investor; inspire the team, interest the customer to become a potential successful solution. Entrepreneurs should remember to be constantly in touch with target audience. They should listen to their requirements, aspirations, and expectations. Learn about their receptiveness, likely concerns, and dislikes.

All success stories are fully filled with passion, emotions with potent content

In a company there will be dreamers who will come up with multiple idea visions. Then there will be doers which will have execution goals. In between both comes the plan of an assessor to validate the vision of dreamer and execution plan of doer. Identify in your team who are dreamers, doers and assessors to harness their storytelling expertise. It is important to know who you are and who they are.

Entrepreneur sets the vision with the team which sets the future culture of the company

Example: A technology company entrepreneur articulates the vision to his team about the company to become the largest CRM software vendor for health care industry globally by 2020. This vision must be painted with support of bright strokes, vivid hues, and clear outlines. There are possibilities of miscommunication while painting a vision. It can destroy the morale or trust in the team. What is an obvious goal to the founders might not be that obviously visible to others in team. Use the military drill method of communication. It helps ensure all action team on ground are on the same page. In military, the use of repeated affirmative request communication by strategy team on every message reply makes sure everyone in action team understood the message clearly.

Vision is all about planning to win the fight of tomorrow 

There are times when companies are at a vision plateau. This happens either due to lack of listening feedback, leadership issues or lack of accountability. Vision plateau happens even when you have a team which will say OK to every vision or idea. When vision or ideas are not challenged, then those ideas mostly turn out to be mediocre. When this situation happens harness the power of mentors or adviser to stimulate ideas. To avoid the plateau situation, entrepreneurs should always be surrounded with progress and learning.

Many times, while painting a vision with investor, entrepreneur's biggest mistake is to take his own capacity for granted, as infinite

In reality, all humans have a finite capacity to do work. Understand who you are and respect it. While it is great to have large vision, sometimes it’s good to be paranoid. It mitigates the possible risk attached while pursuing the vision. In storytelling, try and leverage human subjects to display how the offering solves the problems of real life by connecting emotionally.

Your greatest asset can be expressing, exposing your own vulnerabilities while doing the storytelling

It helps customer generate confidence that you as an entrepreneur understands own limitations very well. When an enthusiastic entrepreneur completes his vision storytelling of solving a extremely complex problem. He hears these three words “Are you crazy?” Take it as a big compliment. Help investors by connecting the dots of today with the future. Give them the perspective you have. Investors typically do not connect the dots as good as the entrepreneurs do about the future from today. But investors do understand the idea value after a few iterations of storytelling by entrepreneurs. Try to engage vision pitching by having an opening to set the context, middle to establish the solution, and conclusion with a call for next action. Correct storytelling will surprise, delight audiences while being relevant, trusted, memorable, engaged and unobtrusive.

When an entrepreneur does a compelling storytelling he engages instantly. It becomes a worthy experience hence easy to retell.

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