Your business plan isn’t all about financials and figures – the story behind your business idea is also crucial. What drove you to start up, what is your passion, and what is your journey? How best to communicate this – and just why is it so important?
Alexandra Ursan is the founder of Kites and Bites, a clothing brand inspired by colour, diversity, and self-expression. Here’s her take on telling your startup story in a business plan.
Finding your ‘why’
With today’s oversaturated markets, starting a business feels like a shot in the dark. However, you do it because you trust in your idea and your potential. After all, it’s said that there is nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it. I believe that when it comes to being truly successful you should also involve your heart. Moreover, your business should have a heart, and that’s the story behind it. What is this heart? It’s the big question of WHY.
A lot of entrepreneurs I met along the way have started up into a start-up in order to solve a problem they have noticed. If that’s not the case, this is one question you need to ask yourself: what issue is my product going to help with? People don’t want to buy products, they all want to buy solutions, no matter the need - thirst, sweets craving or simply having nothing new to wear.
I, for example, never understood the ‘uniform syndrome’ (as I call it) that so many high street clothing brands seemed to suffer from, and in my heart I always knew that many women feel the same. Walking past all those shop displays and seeing the same things over and over again, I felt an urge to create an eclectic shop that would offer statement clothes that can’t be found anywhere else. Why I wanted to do this? To make women embrace their uniqueness and understand that clothes should emphasize it. There is no point of dressing alike when we’re all different.
Answering the “why” will not lead to the most important part behind your brand. That’s more about the “how”. How are you going to solve their problem? How are you going to stand out among others that are trying to solve the same problem? Because there are others out there and they are gaining territory as you’re reading this. But first…
Finding your moment
Every business begins with an event that unleashes that great idea. Some would even call it luck. The moment that inspired you to create your brand can bear different names, but one thing’s for sure: it needs to be shared. This will give your company a human side. A great storyteller needs to be able to make the reader experience the story through his or her own memories. That’s how stories connect people. Keep it transparent and don’t be afraid to expose anything that got you to this point. There is no right path in an entrepreneur’s life.
The inspiration for my business came to me after a trip to Morocco. The Marrakesh souk, Africa's one-of-a-kind market, can be quite challenging when it comes to finding your way back. You’d better buy what you like once you see it, otherwise you can kiss it goodbye. So I ended up with tons of colourful fabrics, tassels from their traditional hats and belly-dance crystal fringes. I made myself some colourful outfits with my new finds, and that’s when the idea hit me. I decided to build a womenswear brand that gathers inspiration and textiles from all around the world, merging everything here, in London, this multicultural melting pot.
Communicating your story
Within your business plan, this great idea of yours needs to be backed up by research. Why and how is it going to work? My womenswear start-up has diversity at its core and offers women an eclectic selection of clothes unlike copycat brands following trends. Moreover, I wanted to keep it affordable. Your story should translate into your unique selling points (USPs), and those are mine.
Think about those competitors out there. What do you have and they don’t? Your product should fill a gap in the market. It can be anything from price point to the way a product gets produced or delivered, but it needs to be in accordance with your target audience.
Your customer stands in the centre of your story, as you only exist because of them. So who is this customer? Who are you creating this business for? Your story should consider and reveal the people facing the problem your product or service is solving. It should show how you will reach those people and keep them hooked so they drop the competitors and purchase your product or service instead.
Explore what you value, and what you believe in. Stay true to yourself and don’t forget that big businesses often have small beginnings. The story will influence your company’s culture and the products you’ll bring in front of your customers. The best branding comes from a company’s beginning. The story of your business reveals personality and passion, and it can be the string knotting together all your future campaigns.
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