Home - News & Insights - Why Storytelling Can Help Tech Businesses Go Further, Faster

News & Insights

Pete - 24 / 07 / 2023

Why Storytelling Can Help Tech Businesses Go Further, Faster

By Guy Remond with special guest Dan Ilett

For any tech business to thrive, you need several vital elements – an idea, a capable leadership team, and a business plan.

But above all, the business must have a compelling story

Customers, investors, and stakeholders all want to know what your story is. The scars, badges, and potted history behind it all. 

Many tech entrepreneurs may find this whole concept overwhelming, but Dan Ilett, MD of Tollejo, is an expert at moulding strong brand narratives and aligning teams with them. He identified why businesses need to get their story straight from day one and how to actually craft a narrative that sticks. 

In this blog, we’ll explore why storytelling is fundamental to the success of any tech business, especially when seeking investment. I’ll also be sharing some of the key lessons I’ve learnt around this critical topic. 

You can catch our full conversation on the Fast Growth Stories podcast

Telling a consistent story

As a funding business, we get hundreds of pitch decks each year. This means that we’ve seen first hand some common mistakes or gaps that most founders tend to overlook when sending out their pitches. One of which is an inconsistent story. 

In my opinion, the story always begins with the team, because even the best ideas could yield disastrous results if you don’t have the right people to back those ideas and implement them. Essentially, the deck should tell the story behind the team – what they’ve accomplished, how they work together, and their continued role as the business expands. 

But more importantly, you need to make sure that the finances don’t tell a different story from what’s portrayed in the pitch deck. Identify any potential gaps or “plot holes” and plug them up.

What do investors want to see?

Too often, we receive pitch decks that are practically sales brochures. But investors don’t need a detailed list of your products and services. They want to see that the team can deliver, that the product has commercial traction and that they’ll get 10x the value they invested.

And reflecting these golden threads in your pitch deck all boils down to the story. 

When we started Cake Solutions, we had a story – we just didn’t realise it at first. In 2010, we started creating blogs, and as we grew, we expanded our strategy to user group talks and then conference talks and sponsorships. 

What’s particularly fascinating is that at the time, we didn’t have a specific sales and marketing department. So, in a way, the mantle fell upon our engineers and the rest of the team to fill in this gap. And they did it brilliantly. 

They shared what they were up to, who we were working with, and the kind of technologies we were playing with. All of those conferences and expert content put together formed a cohesive story about our company and our people. What we did, why we decided to do certain things, and how we did it.

I think there’s a clear message here for founders, and Dan sums it up quite brilliantly in one sentence: the story is the glue. It aligns all of the business’ activities, teams, and even marketing channels. From an external perspective, it also gets customers on board and ensures their maximum satisfaction.

Marketing strategy vs the story

Dan: “Most people tend to get wrapped up in numbers, leads, and things like that. And these elements are all important. But unless the glue is there in the first place – things like ‘how do we work as a team together?’ ‘how do we want customers to perceive us?’– you may not get the exact results you’re looking for.”

From what Dan has shared, it’s clear that a perfectly designed marketing strategy is meaningless if you don’t get your story right from the onset.

He went on to highlight one of the biggest opportunities available to founders:

Dan: “A lot of businesses may have identified their mission and vision, but one thing they really tend to miss is their character. Who are they? What gets them into work every day? 

I think the big opportunity is in defining the character of a brand. Once you nail that, you’ve gotten your story, and it’s really powerful. We’ve seen some enormous results stem from this.”

Getting the leadership team aligned 

Inasmuch as the story is important for driving your business forward, its success is (to some extent) contingent on whether your team is aligned in their way of thinking.

Dan: “If the leadership team is not aligned – thinking the same way, communicating, and working together – all kinds of problems begin to occur in storytelling, which could affect the share price. This can also undermine client confidence and the team’s self-confidence.

In a large B2B company, it’s the leaders who are at the forefront, telling the story. However, this is also the most vulnerable point where the story can falter. Therefore, the narrative and the brand must be embodied and embraced by both the leadership and the teams for it to work effectively.”

How do you fix the gaps in your story?

Dan’s final nugget for creating and refining your brand story involves going back to the customers themselves to identify any hidden gaps or opportunities. 

Dan: “One way we assist our clients in refining their narrative is by speaking with their most valued customers. These are clients who invest tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds in technology. What are their experiences and their perception of the company? 

Generally, most executives are remarkably distanced from client opinions and relationships to the extent that there are active silos working against the company. However, by getting client feedback, it focuses everyone’s gaze on what they could be versus what they are today. 

And I think if you could combine these two things – challenging the exec on their storytelling and getting the client to tell the company what they really want – it doesn’t take long to figure out the next steps.”

I hope this blog has helped to give you a flavour of how storytelling can help you secure funding and accelerate your business growth. When you have a clear, consistent message that runs through every facet of your business – from the pitch to customer interactions –  you’ll have a strong foundation for success and all the other pieces will fall into place.

Join the EHE community to learn more about how to set your business up for fast growth and funding. And if you’d like to hear about the specific support we offer entrepreneurs on their funding journey, let’s talk

Tags: , ,

Join our community

As well as investing in and mentoring businesses, we’re creating a community of entrepreneurs, investors and technology enthusiasts.

Become part of the EHE community and benefit from:
  • Growth focused 'how-to' guides

  • Podcast interviews with seasoned entrepreneurs and investors

  • Invitations to our exclusive webinars
  • Ask questions to our expert Investor Panel

Our community

News & Insights


Manchester Technology Centre,
103 Oxford Road,
M1 7ED

Left Menu Icon