They don’t tell you this in StoryBrand school, but it turns out StoryBrand’s messaging framework isn’t the magic bullet for every business in every moment.
What I’ve learned over the years is that clarifying your message (as StoryBrand helps you do) can be like adding oxygen to a fire…IF you have an existing business that’s already serving happy customers.
Basically, when you have the opportunity to look in the rearview mirror and describe what’s already been happening as you solve problems for your people, StoryBrand is AMAZING.
But what if you’re still figuring out what you’re doing?
If you’re in the early stages of starting something new, and you don’t have years of lived data under your belt, a lot of the messaging process can feel like murky guesswork.
I learned this the hard way, as I said yes to helping businesses that turned out weren’t actually ready for me yet.
That’s why I was SO EXCITED to meet Melissa Davis last year.
Melissa is a former StoryBrand guide, so she gets the power of messaging.
But she realized, as I did, that many businesses need something BEFORE StoryBrand.
(Unlike me, she actually created a solution for those businesses. I’ve just said No to working with them 🤣)
Enter: Foundational Clarity.
I’ll let Melissa take it from here:
“It turns out there are three distinct layers of clarity that every entrepreneur and business must navigate through, and they need to be in order.
Each layer of clarity builds on the layer of clarity before it.
The first is Foundational Clarity.
Skipping over foundational clarity will leave you spinning your wheels, wasting energy & money, and leave you doubting yourself.
Having foundational clarity keeps you focused, passionate, and always heading towards your vision.
You have Foundational Clarity when you can answer these questions confidently and in detail:
- What is the ideal business for me? – My roles, central offer.
- What is the real problem I solve and how do I uniquely solve it?
- Who exactly do I solve it for? – Detailed niche, target market.
- What’s the urgency for my niche to solve this problem? Big benefits & big consequences. Crossroads, transformation.
- What drives me to do this important work? – Values, mission, controlling belief(s)
- How do I talk about it? – Core message, title, elevator pitch.
- What fundamentally distinguishes me from other people who do what I do? – Differentiation.
If you’re stuck or struggling to identify or communicate any of these core elements, your focus should come back to Foundational Clarity before jumping forward.
This will likely happen at different points in your business, and that’s completely normal.
We pivot, shift niches, change our offers, or sometimes need to get the initial clarity we skipped over to begin with.
Here are some signs that you may need to (re)visit foundational clarity before moving forward:
- Flip-flop between 2 or more niches
- Dread telling people what you do, or can’t find the words to clearly explain it.
- Can’t consistently articulate the problem you solve or find yourself changing it depending on who you talk to
- Struggle to pinpoint what differentiates you from others doing similar work
- Redesigned your website/social profile/business card 3+ times in the past year
- Can’t settle on an offer or keep changing it
- Spend money on marketing or sales strategy and never execute or keep changing the plan
- Hire a social media manager / copywriter / VA / designer / website developer and can’t give them clear direction on what to want (you were hoping they would guide you, didn’t you…)”
Pretty smart, no? (This is Rachel again).
So what now, if you’ve discovered you’re lacking foundational clarity?
Two good options I can recommend:
Option 1: Download Melissa’s free tool
The Foundational Clarity Guide and Fillable Canvas details all the points of Foundational Clarity you need to evaluate (with examples) and offers you a fillable canvas to capture them so they’re in one easy-to-reference place. Get it here. (Free; email signup with Melissa required)
Option 2: Join Foundational Clarity Bootcamp NEXT WEEK ($347)
Want more support? Melissa’s offering a rapid-fire group program to help you get clear on all the foundational pieces of your business FAST so you can start taking more aligned action towards the impact you’re meant to make.
- (3) Group Coaching Sessions, Feb 12-14, 11:30-1pm EST (THAT’S THIS MONDAY-WEDNESDAY, FOlKS!)
- (1) Private 60-min session with Melissa
Note: I will earn a small commission if you register using this link. I only ever recommend products and programs I wholeheartedly think will help you.
Melissa’s bootcamp is perfect for very new and pivoting entrepreneurs. Together, you’ll work through completing a Foundational Clarity Canvas that helps you define your:
- Values, what you stand for, & roles you play in your business
- Niche & problem you solve
- How you’re different in the market & your aligned offer
This stuff is SO important. Don’t skip it.
PS – To recap: My friend Melissa is hosting a Foundational Clarity Bootcamp next week (Feb 12-14, 11:30-1pm EST). It’s an amazing, affordable way to get clear on all the foundational pieces of your business FAST so you can start taking more aligned action towards the impact you’re meant to make. Register here.
PPS – The other 2 levels of clarity in entrepreneurship are Strategic Clarity and Execution Clarity. Read Melissa’s blog post about it all.