Many businesses have famous stories of how they began on their way to creating something significant – it’s called an origin story.
Think of one of the hottest brands in the world, Apple and you’ve probably heard a story of how Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created the first personal computers in their parent’s garage.
Or what about Fedex?
That started as a school project to create a business plan – and founder Fred Smith reputedly even got a low grade for his efforts. That teacher must feel as foolish as the A&R men who rejected The Beatles.
We like to hear and read stories. It’s why we read novels, watch films and follow the soaps on TV.
And to understand the “now”, we like to know the past and that’s why origin stories are gripping.
The Core Myth
Internet guru Rich Schefren has extended the origin story into a concept he calls “The Core Myth” (not to be confused with the Core Concept for positioning products.)
I call it differentiation by who and why.
Basically your Core Myth is your business story – from the beginning all the way through to the present day. It gives your stakeholders – and especially your customers and employees – a stronger more powerful reason to believe in and commit to your business.
Your Core Myth is inspiring because it covers your big reason for existence – your differentiation by why.
And it’s not just about making you rich.
Neither your customers nor employees care about putting an extra nought or two on your bank balance. Or about you having a fancy car and living in a posh house.
They want to believe that you have a bigger cause which inspires you. Which gives you passion to do what you do.
Your Core Myth goes further than that.
It tells about the struggles you had to achieve what you’ve done.
How you’ve overcome obstacles – sometimes things that would have stopped a lesser man or woman in their tracks.
The Core Myth creates an emotional bond between you and your customers, prospective customers and employees.
It tells the story of who you really are.
It builds understanding and empathy.
And admiration for your achievements.
Most importantly it makes you stand out.
Different from your competitors who either don’t have a Core Myth or haven’t shared it.
It tells of your values.
What’s important to you and what people can rely on from your business.
Learning More About The Core Myth
Rich Schefren goes into great detail on the Core Myth in one of the reports available from the Founders Club. It’s 96 pages long and billed as…
“The Single Story That Sets Your Business Apart: How to leverage a core myth to rally your team, attract and retain more customers, build a powerful brand and grow free”.
It does take some reading because Rich goes into so much detail on how to build your Core Myth and how to tell the story.
My Overall Thoughts On The Core Myth
The Core Myth is a concept I like very much.
Done well, it will differentiate your business along the who and why dimensions.
We may differ on how long it should be.
The impression I get from Rich is that your Core Myth is long and detailed.
That may be where you start but I think you should have different versions of your story.
The same fundamental truths but in different lengths as you vary the level of detail and descriptive passages. I have to admit to being one of those readers who skip over the boring stuff to get to the action when I read novels and even giving up part way through if I don’t get gripped.
I’ve also read enough business books that were 200 plus pages long with a powerful concept that would have made a great 15 page white paper.
People are different and the more you cater for their preferences the better.
The Core Myth is a very interesting way of communicating your business in a way that it’s seen as different – dramatic, exciting and with a compelling purpose.
It builds on the idea that your business can be different and special because you are unique. No one else has the exact same experiences, values and motivations as you do.
My Core Myth goes back to my times as a trainee accountant when I saw nice people with their own businesses earning much less profit than you’d expect. You see much of what you see if is a front – an illusion – created to impress. But doing their accounts meant that the business owners couldn’t hide the reality from me.
I also saw nice people with great little businesses which were making excellent profits.
I became fascinated by what made the difference.
Often it wasn’t down to hard work.
Most small business owners work incredibly long, hard hours that would make unionised employees walk out on strike… and especially when the rate of pay is so low.
My purpose is to make a difference for the nice people who own businesses. Not the ones who are out to scam or con naive customers but those who take pride in what they do and want to do right by their customers.