Do you remember going to an older friend’s or grandparent’s house and hearing the great tales they told? I do. I would sit on the porch swing and listen to my pappaw recall them for hours. Stories of my heritage, historic families that farmed the Blue Ridge hollers before him. Stories of tragedy, victory, drama, romance, hard work, wonderful harvests and everything in between. As kids, we would hang on every word. Then, when the reminiscing drew to a close, we would go out into the woods and try to relive them; our imaginations fueled, ready to contribute to the legends – even if only in our own minds! I wish I could hear one of those stories today. Even if I have heard them a thousand times – I always just want them told one more time.
This is a critical part of business growth and tangible traction that, in my opinion, is the most underutilized yet readily available tool in your success tool bag. It is the instrument into which your hand most comfortably fits. It was created for you and you alone. No one else has it. You are the only one who can wield it with masterful skill. That tool is your story.
What do I mean by story? I mean your unique journey of discovering your passion, sharpening your skills to master that passion, and then, hitching a yoke and plow to the energy behind your passion in order to monetize something you truly enjoy. It is the adventure that brought you here and it matters.
It garners respect for your willingness to pursue something you believe in. It builds trust in that you took the time to hone skill sets to master your passion. It generates a desire in your target customer or guest to support your passion and mastery through patronage and revenue.
For example, let’s look at the term, “sawmill gravy”. How did it get that name? How did this wonderful side item make it into your breakfast service? Tell me all about it. It will mean more to me when I see it on your menu. I will ask you to pour that meaningful goodness on my biscuit and probably everything else on my plate! At least that’s what my mamaw did. If you were eating at her table and she made your plate for you, everything got baptized in her world-renowned sawmill gravy. See, if I know that your grandmother’s recipe for sawmill gravy was handed down to her from her mother as a means of using bacon and sausage drippings to create a depth and richness of flavor – and that the logging men of the Blue Ridge Mountains would take a container of this to work with them and add the gravy to every offering on their plates throughout the day in order to curb hunger while harvesting timber during the early 1800s, I will stop to remember them when I take a bite. I will share that history with my friends. I will be your greatest evangelist. Others will be, too.
So, what’s your story? Tell me about why you love what you do. Describe the first days of when it all began and tell me what led you here. Why did you choose this business or franchise? It has to be more than a low barrier to entry. You had to believe in more than the clarity of the contract or FDD. Those are important too, but what I really want to hear is the story of your journey.
While your adventures may not have been birthed in the Blue Ridge Mountains like mine, your story is just as important because it’s yours. You had your own beginning. Tell it. Share it with us. It will connect us to you in ways that your coupons can’t – in ways that a Friday night special can’t. It will connect guests to their plates in a way that will make them think about you more than once per month because, when they order a plate of your story or visit a retail boutique that is knitted from your story, they’ll become part of that narrative, too. If their experience is rich, they will also become one of your evangelists.
After all, isn’t that the stuff legends are made from?
Gary’s first entrepreneurial endeavor came in his early 20’s; growing a car and marine detailing business from a couple of buckets and some rags, to a thriving company outfitted with a fleet of trucks and enough equipment to service 3-states. From that day to this, Gary has not lost his passion for taking ideas and putting them into action, whether it be for himself or someone else.
In 2013, he created and launched Thrive, a finance system and software product to benefit healthcare patients without insurance. In 2015, this system was recognized as the runner up in the North Carolina Edison Project. After that experience, Gary was presented with many opportunities to teach and mentor other entrepreneurs and from that continued momentum, Norris Ventures was born. Selling Thrive in 2017, Gary made Norris Ventures his primary focus and finally, he was able to devote 100% of his time to helping businesses grow and reach their potential, which for him, is living his dream. Gary’s 1st book, “Dirt Road Doctorate” can be found at Amazon Books. His other passions include writing, playing his guitar and working on his 13-acre farm.