Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Reaves, Founder of Story Fruition LLC., located in Sammamish, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
As I was standing in the audience surrounded by Seattle's top Angel Investor community and watching the presenters drone on with charts and graphs and more charts and graphs, I realized that storytelling in business was highly under-utilized. To really connect with a customer, partner, or investor, we have to emotionally understand your mission, and graphs won't be enough. We need people having "The Problem," and your company is "The Solution." and that is a vital story every presenter needs to tell to balance out their information. That's when I founded Story Fruition to help entrepreneurs, Senior Execs, and the C-Suite shine by utilizing the core elements of professional storytelling. And since I step on stages all over the world telling stories, those skills I do on stage, I take a right to the boardroom.
Tell us about yourself
For the past twenty-five years, my entire sales and marketing career has been in advertising and technology sales. We took data and deciphered it into stories to attract clients to our data management platform sales. So storytelling was vital. And I have been an actor since I was nine, so studying the craft of storytelling has been in my DNA for over 45 years. Combining my sales, marketing, acting, writing, and love for entrepreneurship blended perfectly for Story Fruition to come to its own fruition! I get up every day with joy in my heart as I storyline the personal and professional content for my clients to shine in meetings, Ted Talks, corporate Town Halls, and just on the fly. They are becoming not just "storytellers" but, as I call it, "Mind Movie Makers!"
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Growing a "weird" idea to "an interesting idea" to a "Damn, that's a great idea!" I now mentor clients like Microsoft, Broadcom, University Entrepreneurship programs, World Affairs Council, and more. My book is due out this August, and it's called "The Storyteller's Mind Movie: The Storytelling Guide for Business Professionals." It is a hands-on guide to how my workshops work and offer.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Trying not to do it all. Hire what you're not really good at or thrilled about. There are wonderful people who are happy to take that on for you. Overall, it's great to own and build what I'm doing. I am going to scale with certification programs next!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Trust your gut. That 'crazy idea' was an inspiration within you. Run with it. Explore it. You will learn something about yourself.
- Test things and learn. My workshop structure has morphed over the last three years, but because I followed my instinct out of the gate, the core structure really was the golden ticket.
- Build a team that loves the mission and wants to contribute. Smart people will present themselves as you grow and are ready for the next level. Their input can help you see things that you may have missed or affirm new inspirations that are coming through. Your business is like a living, breathing mass of energy. Feed it with positivity for it to thrive.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Storytelling is an essential business skill. Most people really don't know what it takes to be really captivating, and that's not anyone's fault. It is not taught in school. We are taught to read and critique written stories, but how to orally TELL a story so that the audience is on the edge of their seats takes focus and leadership from someone who walks the talk. I'm an award-winning storyteller and was top of my enterprise sales game---so I understand the communication challenges corporations have---and can help them improve their messaging.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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