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10 Ways to Tell a Bad Startup Story


A key part of startup success is being able to tell your startup story. HINT: It shouldn't be a bedtime story.

A key part of startup success is being able to tell your startup story. Yet, particularly in high-technology areas like bioscience and medicine, many bioentrepreneurs will end up reinforcing what most of us remember as the purpose of stories—to put us to sleep.

Instead, startup stories are supposed to energize, excite, motivate, stimulate, and create a call to action. In many instances the ask is to invest or contribute to your crowdfunding campaign. In others, it is to create awareness, marketing, and social media buzz, or find customers by converting prospects to leads and eventually to customers.

Here's one such compelling story.

Most startup stories are about entrepreneurs against themselves, entrepreneurs against the system, or entrepreneurs helping patients fight their disease or do a better job of coping.

Here are 10 ways to tell a bad startup story.

1. Ignore the key elements of a good story—plot, characters, setting, conflict, tension, point of view, and resolution.

2. Make the story about you, not the customers or patients you intend to help.

3. Make the story about features, not benefits.

4. Tell your story to the wrong audience.

5. Take too long to tell your story, particularly on the internet, where the usual attention span is 90 seconds to two minutes.

6. Don't use a professional looking video to tell your story.

7. Have the wrong people create and tell the story.

8. Don't have a system to manage success, ie, converting leads or potential investors as a result of your campaign. Take too long to respond to their interest.

9. Don't make your startup story campaign part of your overall repetitive, redundant, and relational marketing effort.

10. Don't tell your story often enough.

What is even better than avoiding these mistakes is having someone else give you a place to tell your story.

Once upon a time, there was a physician entrepreneur who set out to cure cancer. She had no money, no business background, and was up to her ears in student debt. But, she beat cancer herself and.... You get the story.

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