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BUSINESS

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I’m struggling with Facebook at the moment.

I just don’t see it as a good place to be at all.

Facebook.

Facebook’s content adds nothing to my life.

Because it’s either people moaning.

People showing off.

Or videos and images that make me feel guilty immediately after watching them.

Guilty because the shite that I just consumed.

Stole my time.

And gave me nothing.

Gorging.

But more than anything.

I am feeling this way because of how I observe people consuming Facebook.

It reminds me of the worst kind of gluttony.

Wide eyed, sticky palmed, messy chinned gluttony.

Like shovelling mountains of beige, luke-warm food into wet, noisy mouths.

Video after video after image after meme after video.

It’s ugly.

And valueless.

It feels like nutrition.

But it’s not nutrition.

Most Facebook content is the intellectual equivalent of Turkey Twizzlers.

Strategy.

So to save people from the dross.

And association with the dross.

I am going to change the strategy that exists inside the three brands that I own.

And those that I advise, too.

And whilst the approach I am about describe will not be exactly the same for all businesses that I influence.

There will be echoes.

Fishing. 

From now on.

I see Facebook as a place to go fishing.

I will tell lovely stories elsewhere on the Internet.

I will create great content elsewhere on the Internet.

But I won’t put this content on Facebook.

It’s too noisy there.

Instead, I will place links on Facebook from time to time.

Bait, if you like.

I’ll go fishing on Facebook.

To draw people away from the dross.

To better places.

Calmer places.

Place with less distraction.

And more quality.

Facebook.

I’m struggling with Facebook at the moment.

I just don’t see it as a good place to be at all.

If you run a business.

I assume it’s a worthwhile business.

Isn’t it?

Worthwhile.

You can test whether your business is a worthwhile business if you like.

By asking yourself two, two-word questions.

Both questions from the viewpoint of your customer.

Questions.

The two questions are:

Why me?

And

Why now?

New Business Development.

New Business Development.

You know.

Those three words you use when you’re pretending not to be talking about ‘sales’.

All New Business Development means – fundamentally – is answering just these two questions.

And if you cannot answer them both.

Convincingly and compellingly.

In your own mind and in the mind of the consumer.

You are not answering why you are worthwhile and why someone should buy from you.

Right now.

So you won’t sell anything.

Simple, really.

Any time you do a thing.

Anything.

Anything whatsoever.

It could be the last time you ever do it.

So if you need just one reason to do it fucking amazingly.

Adventurously.

Boldly.

The best that you ever, ever, ever did it in your whole entire life.

This is it.

This is not just a story about storytelling.

It’s personal.

Because it’s about your storytelling.

A Difficult Truth.

The way that you tell your business’s story is very likely to be nowhere near good enough.

This is a difficult truth.

It’s because most business leaders don’t value storytelling enough.

So they don’t invest in storytelling enough.

Which is strange.

Because it is one of the single biggest reasons that businesses don’t maximise.

Storytelling.

I am fascinated by how world-class storytelling actually works.

And I want to drag you into my world.

Just for a moment.

I want to expose you to my curiosity around world-class storytelling.

So I have explored one of the most sophisticated and difficult kind of storytelling possible.

Storytelling without words.

No Words.

TV and film Scriptwriter (and ANGELFYSH team member) Debbie Owen is currently (amongst other things) creating stories and scripts for BBC flagship, CASUALTY.

I have listened to Debbie talk about her TV and film scriptwriting experience for years.

And I know that Debbie has worked on lengthy scenes and sometimes entire productions – as a scriptwriter – that have no words at all.

I wanted to find out more.

Debbie Owen

Scriptwriting is storytelling.  And story doesn’t have to be told verbally.

Every story will have characters who need a journey, with actions, motivations, purpose, emotions. Whether those characters speak or not doesn’t matter.  We must still feel for them and care what happens to them.

As a scriptwriter, I write the words the actors say… but I also write how they deliver those words.  I write the pace, the pauses, the tone, the emotion.  I write how they feel, where they move, what they wear.  I write the atmosphere, the style of the space, day or night.

I visualise every aspect of the scene on the page, so that the director and the actors know exactly what I have in mind.  Then they can accurately interpret my script onto the screen.

A script without dialogue, is still storytelling.  And it still has to relay all of the above.

Here’s an example:

ACT ONE – PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL WARD. DAYROOM. DAY

A sparsely decorated room.  No ornaments, the pictures are screwed to the wall and have Perspex fronts, the TV is housed inside a wooden box with a Perspex front.  Chairs, too heavy to throw, are arranged in social groups.

At the back of the room are 2 doors: 1 internal, with a spy hole, leading to the rest of the ward.  1 external, with a small window, leading to a courtyard.

Around the outside of the room, a track is worn in the carpet – someone walks the same path, over and over.

DOUG sits, nervous.  He stands, he sits, he doesn’t know what to do.  This is all new to him.

He moves to the internal door and tries the handle – locked.  He looks through the spy hole, but he’s on the wrong aside to see anything.  He knocks.  Listens.  Nothing.

He moves to the external door – locked.  The outside world is so near and yet so far.

OFF:  from beyond the internal door, a scuffle can be heard getting closer.  Heavy breathing and fighting coming from unseen, unknown people.  DOUG’s terrified.  Are they coming in here?!  He backs as far away from the door as he can… and waits.

That’s storytelling.

Storytelling.

Your business has a story.

Or if it doesn’t.

It bloody well should have.

And you need to find it.

Then tell it.

Beautifully.

Because an impressive story told badly.

Or a bad story told impressively.

Is just as bad as no story at all.

In all these circumstances.

Your business is treading water.

Connect.

Debbie shows that it is possible to connect and evoke deep emotion and connection without one word being spoken.

So what a shame it is that almost every business I see is not maximising as a business because they are not connecting.

They’re just using (normally far too many) words to tell me what they do.

And there’s no story.

It’s bland.

Unsurprising.

Forgettable.

They sound the same as everyone else in their category.

And the business owner is surprised when nothing changes.

Rewarding.

There is a really important reason that I have taken the time to write this story.

It’s because great storytelling is transformational.

It is endlessly rewarding for your business.

And everybody in it.

So please.

Focus on and invest in beautiful storytelling.

And if you cannot do it yourself.

Call me.

Jimmy Daly is a content marketer from a company called animalz.

Jimmy says:

This is how career growth feels to me.

Say “yes” to everything early on to get lots of experience.

Slowly start saying “yes” less often and eventually say “no” to nearly everything.

I’m somewhere in the middle now and learning to say “no”—but it’s hard!

He’s right.

And I am not very good at this currently.

But I’ll get better.

Trend. 

The only thing I’d add is that.

Whilst I agree that the overall trend is how Jimmy describes.

I can have ‘yes’ chapters later in life too.

Short periods where I transgress.

To explore a little.

To deviate from the path.

To help people out.

But as  general rule.

On the subject of career growth.

I agree with Jimmy.

As a very young child.

I never accepted.

That toys can’t fly.

I used my imagination instead.

Imagination. 

I’d pick up a toy.

With my little hand.

And an outstretched arm.

And one achy shoulder.

And I’d lock my eyes on the scaled down aeroplane.

Or rocket.

Or Pterodactyl.

For hours.

Because I never accepted that toys can’t fly.

Vision.

My eyes edited out my hand as it supported the tiny aeroplane’s flight.

And my young mind edited in the clouds.

And the engine noise.

And the other aeroplanes that were chasing me.

At four years old I was good  at visualising.

At four years old I was good at focusing.

And at four years old.

You were great at this kind of thing too.

Toys Can’t Fly.

So why is it that.

As adults.

Such fanciful ideas – born from visualisation and focus – are harder to muster for most people?

You see, I am still imagining.

I am visualising and focusing on growing a brand that creates the best hand knitted jumpers in the world.

I am visualising and focusing on evolving my Brand Collective to become one of the UK’s first to only work with contributive businesses.

And I am visualising and focusing on developing a publishing brand that encourages people to tell their own story, too.

And just as I edited out the hand that held the aeroplane as a child.

I edit out negativity.

And naysayers.

And all the other things that can potentially hold me back.

Age.

Strangely.

It’s a bit harder to believe at 51 years old.

Harder than it was when I was 4 years old.

But it’s just as magical.

And that’s why I do it.

Many great tunes start very, very quietly.

They build.

Great brands are like this, too.

Lean in.

Great  brands slowly draw people in.

They get you to lean in.

To listen.

They take you with them.

Patience.

Great tunes show restraint as well.

They’re not showy just for the sake of being showy.

Just because they can be.

We know that Christina Aguilera can hit and hold the high notes as well as anyone in the whole wide world.

But in ‘Say Something’ by ‘A Great Big World and Christine Aguilera’

She doesn’t.

We wait for it, of course.

We lean in.

But it doesn’t come.

And that’s as it should be.

Because great tunes.

And brands.

Show restraint.

And they are doing it on purpose.

So we lean in.

Brands.

So.

Brands.

Be brilliant.

Be really brilliant.

But show restraint too.

And go slow.

Because if you re worth waiting for.

We’ll wait.

And in the meantime.

Make us lean in.

And before you know it.

And before we know it.

You’ll have us.

Go here: https://www.50odd.co.uk/lean-in/.

If I were a cat.

I’d not be a House Cat.

I’d be an Outdoor Cat.

Outdoor Cat.

It’s because I think that’s what cats are made for.

Being outside.

Adventuring.

Buggering about.

Nearly dying 9 times.

Exploring.

Being creative.

Taking risks.

House cats.

House Cats, it seems to me, stare out of the window.

They stare at the world.

Through half-open eyes.

Blinking slowly.

Purring randomly.

Burping.

And all that punctuated by jumping down from the window ledge.

Sauntering into the kitchen in slow motion.

And dropping their big tummies down onto the kitchen floor.

Next to their reliably filled food bowls.

To graze.

Outdoor cat.

Whilst outside.

The other side of the window.

Outdoor Cat is going bonkers.

Successfully climbing trees.

Or successfully falling out of them.

Stalking the early bird.

That is stalking the unsuspecting worm.

Where sometimes the food chain clicks in and everyone is full.

Or sometimes the food chain fails and everyone goes hungry.

That’s the way it is with Outdoor Cat.

Cats.

So.

What are you in life, then?

An Outdoor Cat?

Or a House Cat?

And are you happy where you are?

If not.

Pop to the door.

Go on.

Give it a little shove.

It’s open.

I used to think that there could not be anything worse than having nothing.

Feeling unfulfilled.

Empty.

Sad.

And alone.

But nowadays.

I think that there is.

It’s having everything.

Yet feeling unfulfilled.

Empty.

Sad.

And alone.

Choose.

Choose what success looks like for you.

With great care.

Because chasing the wrong everything.

Is worse than chasing nothing.

I’ve run businesses for 20 years.

I’ve experienced cold, hard competition.

And warm collaboration.

I prefer the latter.

Sharing. 

When you decide to share.

And it goes well.

Business is lovely.

As is life.

Bacon Sandwiches.

My 3 year old daughter Izobel wants to share and collaborate sometimes.

The most recent example was a bacon sandwich from The Cycle Hub.

Izobel looked up at me with her big brown eyes.

And asked to share.

I, of course, entered into the agreement.

Only to discover that Izobel’s idea of collaboration and sharing.

Is that she gets the bacon.

And I get the bread.

Just Be You.

There is sometimes a gap between the idea of collaboration.

And the practicalities.

I tend to base collaboration on just one thing.

Not terms and conditions.

Not negation.

I choose – ‘Just Be You’.

What I mean is, seeing if the natural state of all parties really is caring as much about about each other as themselves.

This is the values bit, I guess.

The ‘can you look each other in the eye’ bit.

The ‘do we talk about each other in the same way when we are in the same room as when we are apart’ bit.

I don’t know what it’s called.

But do know that.

When you are sharing something.

It’s very important.