Business narratives are creative exercises designed as a precursor to a formalized business proposal. The purpose of a business narrative is to allow you to organize and express your business ideas freely and creatively. Elements of your business narrative can even be used to draft and compose your final, formal business proposal. Writing a business narrative requires you to brainstorm and organize your preliminary business ideas before piecing them together in a cohesive story.
Prepare and plan for your business narrative. Daily MBA suggests brainstorming about your business idea for at least 15 minutes, writing about everything, including product, staffing, management, location, target audience, concerns, problems and competitors. Award-winning business expert Steve Denning suggests gathering together all notes, email correspondence and even doodles you've naturally generated while mulling over your business idea.
Gather recurring ideas about your business into a list format. Daily MBA emphasizes the importance of key terms, phrases and concepts related to your business idea, while Denning encourages you to focus on the recurring problems you experienced that inspired you to dream up your business idea.
Highlight recurring themes, trends, phrases, ideas, terms, problems and solutions in your assembled notes. These concepts will likely become crucial components of your future business narrative.
Develop a name for your business based upon your initial idea, as well as the highlighted concepts from your brainstorming activities. The named business will be the central figure or “character” of your narrative. If you are struggling to develop a name for the business, give your business a generic name, but don’t forget to fill in your chosen name later.
Craft a description of what your business does and why it is unlike other businesses. Start each sentence with action words, such as “prepare,” “gather,” “highlight,” “develop” and "craft."
Identify the specific market and customers that will be served by your business and the specific needs of the customers your business will address.
Describe your business goals and the different resources and actions you will need to accomplish those goals. Qualify each required resource or action with a description of how you will acquire or accomplish it.
Conclude your narrative with a description of why you are confident your business will succeed. Denning believes you should draw parallels between yourself and other business leaders and your business model and other successful businesses in the world.
Assemble your business narrative. The Daily MBA suggests following a basic bildungsroman format, in which you introduce and describe your main character (business name), which is then confronted with a challenging quest (business goals), including obstacles the character (business) must overcome (reaching the specific market and customers) and how it achieves success. Other narrative ideas include a parable that aligns your business plan with other successful business ventures, identifying the similarities between the two, and a biography, which follows you through the formulation, development and nurturing of your business plan.
- The Daily MBA: Writing Your Business Narrative
- Steve Denning: Mastering the Discipline of the Business Narrative
- "A Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art & Discipline of Business Narrative"; Steve Denning; 2005
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