Written By
Max Brown


What stories do successful entrepreneurs tell?

What’s the secret to creating a successful startup company? It’s actually the worst kept secret: enthusiasm and grit. Everyone who works for the company, from founders to the newest hires, should feel passionate enough about the company to make that extra sacrifice. Perhaps the greater secret to success lies not just with the “what” companies need, but in “how” they accomplish this task. So how does a startup inspire their people with that elusive characteristic of true grit? How do you create a culture so infectious your employees feel like partners, and find themselves thinking of new ideas 24/7? First Round recently keyed in on an answer: Successful Entrepreneurs are able to tell good stories.
It’s important to note that there’s a difference between being able to tell good stories and having a well spun cover story (our outright lying). The latter is short-sighted and doomed to failure, as people tend to eventually find out the truth. A startup’s purpose for telling a story is to humanize the founders, communicate a company’s core values, and inspire people to work for or partner with that company for mutual benefit. With that in mind, there are three types of stories that a founder should be able to tell in order to succeed. First is the failure story. This narrative shows genuine humility and perseverance. Second, the good example story. You want to reward employees for helping the company, so being able to highlight a point in time when someone contributed meaningfully to the company encourages the behavior in other employees. Third is the inspirational story. As companies scale, this story can help preserve corporate culture and values.
Read on for more details on firstround.com.