A Story Makes A Difference

In her bestseller, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, Annette Simmons describes how stories are essential to communication in business leadership, marketing, and decision-making.  So it is in the marketplace of buying and selling healthcare businesses.  On more than one occasion I have seen a particular story about a seller’s business “baby” become influential in a successful transaction.

Here’s why:

  • The seller’s story about building a business often reflects the seller’s values, whether hard work, entrepreneurial thinking, or even success at all costs.  “Values” is another word for “foundation.”
  • All successful healthcare businesses have critical moments in their history when the seller had to make an important decision.  The seller’s story about the decision and what was considered in the process can tell you a lot about where the business is today.
  • The seller’s stories about the future (“if you were staying on what would you do next to build the business?”) can be a great initial guide for the buyer.  The buyer may already know the general market, but the seller usually has a more intimate understanding of significant customer relationships and what has transpired to date.
  • The seller’s stories about the company and the people who built it give vital information about the organizational culture and how to integrate the buyer with the enterprise.  An attentive buyer uses this information in the transition process.

Buyers don’t buy based on a story.  Financials need to reflect the real value and the business model needs to be applicable to the future.  But stories add humanity and they can help buyers fully appreciated what you have built.