Honesty. It's such a lonely word.​


Whenever I work with startups or entrepreneurs, I usually see a few things that happen:


1. They honestly believe that they have a story when we meet (only it's based on product/service only - see my previous posts about doing this).


2. When they get the point, they either run away (because honestly, who has the time and energy to really put in the time to create a true story? my story is fine, I got funded because of it, you and your stories can go fuck off, is usually what their faces tell me), or they get nervous about having to come up with an elaborate lie that will serve as a great story but won't be really about what they offer the world.


So let's make one thing very, very clear. A story that involves lying to your audience is NEVER a good one. Now sure, you might be able to fool someone like me, who might be an outsider to your core audience, but you won't be able to fool them. Not for long, anyways. And when the truth comes out (and it always does. ALWAYS), you'll be busy with trying to explain why you lied. 


Because no one likes being lied to. Not in our personal relationships, and not in our business/brand relationships. 


Why do we feel the need to lie? Mainly because as a business, in the end our goal is to make money (usually). But to tell that to our audience sounds kind of wrong, so we come up with fancy packages that try to drive the audience away from thinking about that. Basically, it feels that the truth will make us less likable or less "cool". 


Well, guess what? The truth is your most valuable asset, but there is no such thing as one absolute truth. That means that you should create your narrative - based on your truth - and stick to it. No one will tell you that a tagline that says "we are here to make loads of money" is a good idea, and I'm no different there - but if you're asked a direct question, your audience will expect a direct response. More than that, they will respect you much more if they feel like that's what you gave them.


One last thing - if you're being honest, and there's no story there, or the one that is there makes you feel like Pablo Escobar, then please stop whatever it is that you're doing and go back to the drawing board. Consider it a blessing that you caught this so early - it would be a lot harder to change it later. Go back, and understand what it is that you are really offering, why is it so important to your audience, why should they care about it and how will you justify your business model if asked to. 


Be honest. In a world fueled by social media conversations and impressions, that's your only chance of being relevant both today and tomorrow.