Stand Out From Competition By Using “Backstory”

We all wanna stand out from the competition but when we’re just getting started, we’re told to copy the businesses that are already successful because they must’ve figured out the “right way” to do things.

Wait… Huh!?

Stand out from the competition by copying them?

Little oxymoron-ic, ain’t it?

I agree with the concept of “modeling” proven leaders. But it ain’t exactly easy when we’re new and our competitors have:

  • Bigger teams
  • Bigger budgets
  • More experience

Before I share a simple thing you should do, here’s what not to do:

Don’t talk about the out-of-this-world features of your product or service.

No matter what breakthroughs you claim, you have nothing new to offer (at least, in the mind of the consumer).

You won’t stand out from the competition with features because it’s all been done before and nothing’s earth-shattering unless it’s on Shark Tank or a late-night infomercial.

Obviously this isn’t true.

But in the digital age, no one pays attention long enough to digest the juicy details of what you’re offering.

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The Problem

If you need to hold someone’s attention long enough to (A) build rapport and (B) persuade them to join the ranks of your other customers. While also not (C) modeling successful companies or (D) dropping details about your features…

What the heck should you do?

The Solution

Start with your backstory.

Stories grab attention because they organize info into an easy-to-follow, start-to-finish narrative (and when something is easy to understand, the brain can’t help but pay attention).

And no, I’m not talkin’ about being a pro-storyteller and writing novels about your business. I’m talking about walking people through the journey of how & why you got started in your business in the first place.

When you do this right, people will:

  • Buy into you emotionally (which is the main driver in transactions anyway)
  • Feel more comfortable towards making an actual purchase
  • Stick around longer as customers

Those are all things we want, right? That’s what authentic storytelling can get you.

Again, you don’t hafta be a pro storyteller to stand out from the competition with stories because this is about you and all you need to do is answer 4 questions in context to how you started in your business.

4 Questions To Build A Persuasive Backstory

Think back to when you started your business and ask yourself:

  1. What problems were you facing?
  2. What prompted you to start the business?
  3. What did you do to solve the problem?
  4. What mission drives you?

Be honest. There’s no doubt that something drove you into a project that demands an overwhelming amount of time and effort (business). So no need to be creative here. Dig down and tell the truth.


Let’s use KFC and tell the story from Colonel Sanders’s perspective

1. What problem was he facing? 

Colonel Sanders loved fried chicken.

But his problem was coming up with a unique chicken recipe that satisfied flavor hounds while also being efficient for restaurants to make & sell at a profit.

Good Chicken + Quick Production = Happy Customers = Happy Business.

He needed to crack the formula because back then, fried chicken wasn’t easy to prepare as it is today.

2. What prompted him to start KFC? 

The Colonel knew was onto something when his secret recipe of spices and unique way to cook chicken (through pressure cooking) cut down cooking times.

His recipe and new cooking method was a hit with the few diners that followed but his real problems came when a new highway pulled customer traffic from his main restaurant.

He was forced to dig into his savings, nearly went broke, and slept in his car while traveling around the country to sell his formula. 

3. How’d he solve this problem? 

While driving around the country, hitting up restaurant after restaurant, he discovered the franchise model and applied it to his business.

As the franchise model took off and as more people had a taste of southern-style fried chicken, KFC grew fast to become one of the first fast-food chains to go global.

4. What’s the mission? 

To deliver “finger-lickin’ good” chicken!

The Aftermath

Pretty interesting, right?

If you haven’t heard that story before then your view of KFC may have shifted.

Because it’s not just some fast-food chain anymore, it’s a man’s determination to spread happiness with his secret love for finger-lickin’ food.

When you humanize your business by telling people why you got into business in the first place, you stand out from the competition because more people relate to your backstory.

As a final example, read my story to get clear on how to formulate your own.

Remember the 4 questions and notice how I’ve weaved them into the narrative:

After the Navy (2009) and until about 2017, I could never build a business that would grow consistently. I invested over 100k on education and mentorship throughout those years and got zero results to show for it.

After going past broke (and several thousands into debt), I followed a young CEO’s suggestion and revisited the fundamentals. Because he made it painfully clear that I was looking for the latest digital strategies when what I needed to do was nail down the fundamentals of my marketing.

I took a step back, got clear on the exact person I wanted to help, what I helped them to do, and got clear on my message (it doesn’t hurt to learn a thing or two about copywriting while you’re at it).

Since then, I’ve started working with clients all over the world, I’ve written 2 books on marketing, and have complete control over when and where I decide to work.

And finally, the mission I’ve been on ever since is to help people avoid wasting time and money and save them from fake gurus and BS tactics because the fundamentals are what move the needle the furthest. 

Above is the story of how I adopted the business I’m in now. See how un-complicated this is? 

The goal isn’t to get people to rally behind an almighty cause, it’s to get people to simply understand what drives you, know who you are, and see you differently than just a business that blends in with the rest of em.

SIDE NOTE: The funny part about business fundamentals is that since everyone’s a consumer and since every consumer buys, everyone automatically thinks they know how to sell. This is why so many people skip fundamentals and never understand the basics of growing a business, because they already think they’re pro before they ever get started.

Answer the 4 questions and stitch your answers together to form your backstory. Build it then keep it in your pocket because you’ll get plenty of chances to use it.

If you like this, stay tuned b’cuz more bite-sized tips are on the way.

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