Are you a champion storyteller?

Are you a champion storyteller POST


Some people are nuts. Or short-sighted. Or something. And they make me wonder why they make it so hard for themselves in business. I came across a business with this mentality recently and just wanted to take the owner by the shoulders and shake him to say: “Can’t you see what you’re doing to yourself?”

His attitude was all the more pronounced because I had just come from a store that did everything right. The minute I walked into this store I was mesmerised.

Soak Bathecary in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria

It was a couple of weeks ago and I was in a little town called Sassafras in the Dandenong Ranges. I wandered into a store called Soak and it was like walking into a fairyland of pastel hued gift boxes, fragrant candles and softly scented soaps. It was not only a visual feast, it tantalised all the senses – you could smell the shower gels, touch the loofahs, taste the hint of lavender on the lip balm.

Beautifully presented luxury bath products

It called itself a bathecary – kind of like an apothecary but for luscious luxury bath products. And I was so impressed that I found myself snapping away on my iPhone, then sharing on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. My pictures were potentially shared to thousands of followers. Some responded saying they wanted to visit the store themselves.

Unsurprisingly, I did not walk out of that store empty-handed. I stocked up big time on beautiful bath products.

Then I walked over the road into a gift store – the kind that sold trinkets, photo frames, stuffed toys and knick knacks. And intrusive signs in big red writing all over the store: “NO PHOTOS” … “NO PHOTOS” …. “NO PHOTOS”.

This was insane. It was a gift store. It wasn’t NASA constructing the next generation Space Shuttle. They weren’t housing any state secrets. I mean, they sold stuffed toys and trinkets!

Needless to say, I didn’t take any photos. Which meant I also didn’t share them on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest. In an era where sharing photos on social media is an everyday occurrence, you’re nuts if you put obstacles in the way of your customers who want to champion your business for you.

I also felt so weird with huge red “NO PHOTOS” signs glaring at me from every wall that I walked out without buying anything.

When it comes to your business, are you making it easy for your customers to champion your story?

To see how you can make it easy for your customers to share your story, check out my book Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business.

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.
  • Colleen Filippa

    Same thing happened to me at a chocolate shop near Daylesford, the signs begun from the car-park (‘do not park on grass’) through to the foyer (‘please control your children’) to the shop (‘do not touch the walls’ – I kid you not!) and finally, ‘do not ask for free samples and do not be rude to our staff’. It was like someone had gone crazy with a printer and laminated everything every thought they had. I too walked out – without buying anything.

    • valeriekhoo

      I mean really, these people are so short-sighted huh?

  • Belinda Weaver

    Great post Valerie. I often shake my head at businesses who are so concerned with “protecting their IP” that they miss out on the opportunity to draw new business in by sharing their knowledge and experience.

    Protecting your IP is important but many business have a rather skewed view of what is worth protecting and what is worth giving away in buckets.