Startup eSeries: Tell a Story, Find Success - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Startup eSeries: Tell a Story, Find Success

May 30, 2015

Startup eSeries: Tell a Story, Find Success 

"We're all stories, in the end." - Steven Moffat

These words couldn't be truer in describing the vision of today's solopreneur - Rituparna Ghosh.

Rituparna, a storyteller by profession and founder of the venture Your Story Bag helps children, individuals and corporates harness the true power of stories, making them connect better with those around them.

Her past work experience as a journalist and television producer taught her how to sniff out good stories and unravel their core ideas. In her current avatar as a writer, editor and professional storyteller, Rituparna believes that everyone needs storytelling skills - to make sense of the world and give shape to their own ideas!

And this is particularly true of today's entrepreneurs - whose ventures can come alive if they add more drama and soul when they make a pitch or approach a client. 

In this article, she highlights the essence of stories, storytelling and their use in every aspect of our lives. Rituparna Ghosh unplugged...

Why Stories

"After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world." - Philip Pullman

Rituparna: Stories build conversations; they let people look into a person's heart and mind. If you look at our lives, there isn't a moment when we are not telling stories. As you recount your anecdotes or share your experiences - even every day mundane ones - you are telling stories!

When you face an interview, you are required to tell your story - not just about the work you have done, but also what you have learned. As a CEO, you have to connect and communicate with your staff, motivate and inspire them, guide and encourage them. The relevance of stories and storytelling never ends.

Your Story Bag was born out of the belief that every individual needs a bag full of stories... stories of different hues, emotions, characters and lessons... such that the right story is used at the right moment and right place. 'Golpo' is the Bengali word for story and it also means 'having a conversation'. Thus we used the word in our various services that help a cross section of people connect and communicate through stories.

How Your Story Bag works

"To hell with facts! We need stories!" - Ken Kesey

Rituparna: YSB (Your Story Bag) is essentially a solopreneurship venture, where I am the principal storyteller who drives all the three services of storytelling: Golpo - for children, teachers and parents, Golpo Connect - for individuals, creative entrepreneurs, business owners, solopreneurs and professionals, and Corporate Golpo - for organisations and leaders.

Since it is a startup, I haven't hired full-time resources yet, but I have a brilliant network of affiliates who help me execute projects. I work with a communication expert and strategist who brings in 25 years of experience in corporate storytelling, and an artist and art teacher who designs the art curriculum for YSB's Storytelling & Art program for children.

I am now working on building an eco-system where I will train a few teachers who can work under the YSB banner. We are always in need of writers, researchers, story-diggers and compulsive storytellers who can explore newer mediums of storytelling like art, design, music, photography and film. 

Stories and entrepreneurship

"Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger." - Ben Okri

Rituparna: I help entrepreneurs in the personal branding space, helping them carve out their personal stories and making them the best examples of their work. You may be heading a firm, however your work alone cannot bring you clients. People no longer invest in organizations; they look for the people behind it. And what makes these people, if not their experiences and stories? 

So at YSB we help entrepreneurs extract their experiences and craft them into stories. These stories then become sales pitches, their marketing drivers and communication pieces.  We also help them convert their everyday stories into a knowledge bank of sorts to help them derive lessons from their stories.

To begin with, every entrepreneur must have three basic stories in his/her bag.

  1. Who Am I Story - This is the story that tells the story of your past, of how you came to be what you are now. Our upbringing, socio-economic background, education and life experiences, all have a tremendous impact on our lives and personalities. It is time you reveal this story openly. Wear it like a badge and take ownership of who you are!

  2. Why I Do What I Do Story - For me the question would be, why am I a storyteller? Why am I compelled to tell stories to all? Similarly, what drives you to do what you do? You design eco-friendly furniture or help your clients handle their digital presence, whatever you do must have a story of why you are doing it! This shows your inner motivations and reveals that fire in your belly that makes you who you really are! All entrepreneurs are in it for profits, but that isn't the story of your business, right?

  3. What Can I Do Story - This is about showing your customers/clients the future. We love futuristic sci-fi films; advanced robotics and higher levels of artificial intelligence that are so alluring on the screen, isn't it? However when it comes to our work, we fail to package our services/solutions as stories.

Stories and life

"Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving." - Madeleine L'Engle

Rituparna: I have a very simple outlook towards stories - they help us discover expressions, emotions and life. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are led by public perception. We are all so careful of how people see us. We fail to acknowledge our own emotions and look at quelling them. If we begin to look at our own stories closely we will understand our own emotions and expressions.

As you share a story, you relive that moment and you experience emotions that you now acknowledge and respect. For your audience or the listener, it is like living life in your shoes and looking at a world which is not theirs, but could be theirs. In this basic connect you are empowering your listener/audience to learn through another experience.

Elements of a story

"Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke." - Joss Whedon

Rituparna: A good character/hero, a difficult proposition, the tension, the climax and a resolution - pick any story you like, you must have these elements.

Stories aren't complex. Our emotions are! And that is what makes a story simple or complex. Think of the word 'sadness' and recall an incident that made you sad. Now think of another incident that made you feel 'disappointed', and another that made you 'depressed'. Or an incident that made you 'nostalgic' and 'long' for something. These are all very different degrees of sadness and yet every story is different in intensity.

Tips for entrepreneurs

"Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here." - Sue Monk Kidd

Rituparna - Believe in your stories, invest in your stories and tell your stories... because you never know who needs it!

Look at your present very closely. Today is the story that you will tell tomorrow, so make it a great story to tell!


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6 Responses to "Startup eSeries: Tell a Story, Find Success"

14 Oct, 2016

and healthy. 10. In his testimony, Rajiv Goel, Raj Wharton School buddy and former Intel executive older copying applications cannot bypass the Xbox game's copy protection scheme. It is a very strong all things are set clear.They usually have some sort of tray that you insert your cd-g end of the world.Without him, they will be in trouble. While I appreciate and respect the

Shekhar Mandrekar

22 Nov, 2015

Very well written article .. Views expressed are backed scientifically . In Pharmaceutical one approach to selling benefits of product by rattling out benefits ...using lot of jargon . Other is create story around your product in simple language which scientifically supported . The latter approach I learned from my Guru ...Mr Tarun Gupta ...father of Pharmaceutical Marketing ( currently Professor emeritus with NMIM ) . Later on , as explained by you , I discovered that it applies to internal customer ...our staff . STORIES have tremondous impact ... they have power to visualise worldly communication to in powerful images ....the " language of brain" . Thanks for sharing beautiful concepts Rituparna !

praveen shetty

04 Jun, 2015

I am a civil engineer with more than 24 yrs of experience...but my hidden passion is telling stories of all kinds encompassing Human emotions,tragedy,successes,failures,betrayals,gratitudes & above all a HUMOUR

Like (1)


01 Jun, 2015

Note that Rituparno ghosh is a boy and not a girl.

Mahesh K Sethi

30 May, 2015

So simple, excellent, eye opener, a sort of reminder even if U know but don't act timely..........brilliant

Like (1)

Anil Arora

30 May, 2015

Hi Ritika, A great collection of articles in your series. Today's article reminds me of a quote, I want to share with you- Facts tell, stories sell. I am into marketing of mutual funds, this helped me a lot.Stories dont mean GUPP,it is just a way to tell the facts figuratively. Like a fund,which started at Rs.10/- in 2002, is valued at Rs.318/- today.(This is a fact).or You see Mr. so invested 1 Lakh in this fund in 2002 and today the worth of his investment is 31.80Lakh, almost 32 times in 13 years and he used it for his son's higher studies.(This is story).

Like (1)

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