If you’re an entrepreneur raising capital, you hear it all the time:
people invest in your story, not your company.
Successful new CEOs seem to share an ability to share their story and engage an audience. They often have a personal tale of confronting an obstacle or needing a service that was unavailable – so they built a company to solve the problem and meet their own need. They weave a story of a big market with important problems, then explain their brilliant and innovative solutions.
And while the founding team and advisors are usually seduced with the same compelling narrative, the pitch weary CEO sometimes forgets that their story-telling skills are still needed once the money is raised.
Scaling an organization and hiring great engineers, product leaders, revenue generators and functional experts requires a incredible story. Where investors might be lining up, hoping to hear a tale of the next game-changer, your future team are busy in their current jobs. Recruiting messages just sound like noisy distractions.
Your story has to capture the hearts and imagination of this audience. You’re not asking someone to write a cheque, or risk a small percentage of their venture fund. You’re asking them to jump out of their current role and put their career in your hands.
The good news? You already have a great story, and this is where you start.
The most compelling recruiting message will sound like the plotline of a great adventure story. It will begin with the founding team, a description of genuine characters and the problems they set out to solve. As your story unfolds, the team comes together to tackle the beast of a problem, with technology and a little magic. Your narrative will highlight the battles won and challenges faced along the path. And then it will pause.
The time in the story is now and the next scene requires a key character. This hero will take the company through bigger battles, over greater obstacles and onto incredible rewards. And so, the question lingers “Could you be this hero?”
Your recruiting challenge as a leader goes beyond seeking out great people and delivering a pitch. You need to build a league of storytellers. You need to ensure that your recruiters, managers and partners all know the plot, the characters, the mission and the immediate challenges. They should know how to identify your heroes, and how to inspire them to drop what they’re doing and join your crusade.