Plot The Story Of Your Business Success

Plot The Story Of Your Business Success
Telling stories
Image by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash.

Close your eyes and imagine a world before the internet. Scary right? Now imagine it before TV, even before radio. That’s a bit of a stretch, but believe it or not, families would sit together and gather around the radio for entertainment.

How times have changed!

Now, keep imagining a world before any of these technological miracles because before these distractions were something called stories.

Stories are as old as civilisation itself. I’ve even come across the argument that suggests cave drawings were the earliest ways to tell stories, their messages true to the people that made them; ‘don’t go hunting sabre-tooth tigers without a real sharp spear and some trusty mates, Ogg.’

Fast forward ten thousand years and even with our addiction to the digital, stories have withstood the test of time.

Why is that?

Because we connect with them on an emotional level. They mean something to us. They touch us, they make us think. Good stories transport the reader (or listener) through time and space to other worlds, some fanciful, others so realistic they make our hearts beat faster as tension rises and we sit on the edge of comfort looking into an abyss of possibilities and we can’t help but stare into the eyes of our own demons.

It’s the connection we feel that’s so incredibly powerful.


Because when we connect with something we see ourselves. We share thoughts and hopes and expectations. We can imagine being Katniss Everdeen and Jack Reacher. We can relate to their troubles, their needs and their desires. We might not always agree with the way they deal with them, but we’re still emotionally connected.

This is why successful brands and businesses tell stories.

They’re connecting with their audiences. They know what their customers want, what they believe in and what values are important to them. And they know this because they’ve invested the time and energy to understand their customer’s journeys.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I know. For some people it doesn’t make sense not to focus on selling at all costs. After all business is all about making money right? And how can you possibly make money if you don’t sell your product? Wasting time on things like emotions, connections and journeys doesn’t sell a damn thing! Right?


Three of the most successful brands on the planet tell their stories so well you only have to say the name and you’ve already formed an opinion. It’s often emotional, an irrational love-hate opinion based on nothing more solid than what you’ve heard or read, or seen. You don’t necessarily have to buy in to what it is their saying, but you sure know if they touch you.

Apple is all about you and the power of your imagination. And you’re cool right? Apple brings an emotional, sensory experience to computing and technology. It’s the way the keyboard feels when you type, the intuitive way the operating system works – it’s practically magic;

Harley-Davidson is all about your aspirations to be part of a bad-ass brotherhood while still being able to express your own path to happiness. You don’t care if people love you or hate you because deep down you’re a rebel and ain’t nobody gonna tell you how to live your life;

GoPro makes you a hero with a camera that can go anywhere and do anything because you’re an adventurer, an explorer, a one-of-a-kind dude, a real interesting guy to talk to at parties.

Know what I mean? They’re stories!

To tell a good story businesses need to take a long hard look at themselves. And sometimes that’s going to be painful and there will be tears.

A business needs to know what it believes in and how it projects this belief to the world. This belief should impact everything it does. It’s a commitment that permeates through the entire organisation from the CEO to the Receptionists and Security Guards and Sales Directors and Marketing Managers and Social Media Planners and everyone in between. It can’t be done half-assed.

If a business believes their most important vision is to sell, sell, and sell some more, regardless of the customer experience, their customers will suffer and so will their business. This is why we have to put up with Spam and broken promises and disappointments and delays and little white lies hidden by big fake smiles. They don’t care what you think or how you feel, they only care about the sale.

This ‘sell at all costs’ mindset uses words which lead to actions and those words and actions reinforce this focus. They don’t discuss options – they drag you to the table, they don’t listen to your very real concerns – they twist your arm, they don’t empathise – they bully by making you feel you feel small and incompetent because you don’t know as much they do. Because, after all you don’t! In this mindset, you’re just another dollar bill.

It’s a very short term, knee-jerk approach.

These businesses are continually looking for new customers because those customers they’ve already dealt with won’t be coming back in a hurry. And why should they? Would you go back to the same company you felt had over-promised and under-delivered?

If, on the other hand, the business is customer-centric their story and the experience is very different. From answering the phone with a smile and replying to emails straight away, to honestly describing benefits rather than features, to walk you through the buying process rather than dropping you into a ‘sales funnel’ they’ll take care to reinforce their values and address any gaps in the journey with genuine, heartfelt and mindful solutions.

On a very basic level, people care more about themselves and how they feel than the products they buy. And this is why the story of your business has to not only include your potential market, but also engage them. You must connect.

When was the last time you bought something, anything, because you liked the service? Or you got a smile? Is your favourite restaurant or bar the cheapest place in town? Or somewhere you feel comfortable, appreciated and understood?

Like it or not, people aren’t going to do business with you just because you want them to.

People need to connect. They need experiences they can relate to. And they need to relate to you! So, if you haven’t already worked out what your company’s story is, invest the time, the money and the resources to do it. It will pay off and it will build strong foundations for your success.

Remember, it’s not what you deliver but how you deliver it!




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Andrzej Barski

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Andrzej is Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia. He was born in the UK to Polish parents and has been living in Indonesia for more than 33-years. He is a skilled writer, trainer and marketer with a deep understanding of Indonesia and its many cultures after spending many years travelling across the archipelago from North Sumatra to Irian Jaya.

His experience covers Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Publishing, Real Estate and Training for 5-Star Hotels and Resorts in Bali and Jakarta, which has given him a passion for the customer experience. He’s a published author and a regular contributor to local and regional publications. His interests include conservation, eco-conscious initiatives, spirituality and motorcycles. Andrzej speaks English and Indonesian.

Terje H. Nilsen

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Terje is from Norway and has been living in Indonesia for over 20-years. He first came to Indonesia as a child and after earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Agder in Norway, he moved to Indonesia in 1993, where he has worked in leading positions in education and the fitness/ wellness industries all over Indonesia including Jakarta, Banjarmasin, Medan and Bali.

He was Co-owner and CEO of the Paradise Property Group for 10-years and led the company to great success. He is now Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia offering market entry services for foreign investors, legal advice, sourcing of investments and in particular real estate investments. He has a soft spot for eco-friendly and socially sustainable projects and investments, while his personal business strengths are in property law, tourism trends, macroeconomics, Indonesian government and regulations. His personal interests are in sport, adventure, history and spiritual experiences.

Terje’s leadership, drive and knowledge are recognised across many industries and his unrivalled network of high level contacts in government and business spans the globe. He believes you do good and do well but always in that order. Terje speaks English, Indonesian and Norwegian.

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Ridwan Jasin Zachrie

CFO of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Ridwan is one of Indonesia’s top executives with a long and illustrious career in the financial world. He holds several professional certifications including being a Certified Business Valuer (CBV) issued by the Australian Academy of Finance and Management; Broker-Dealer Representative (WPPE); and The Directorship Certification for Directors and Commissioners, issued by the Indonesian Institute of Commissioners and Directors.

His experience includes being the Managing Director at one of the top investment banking groups in the region, the Recapital Group, the CFO at State-owned enterprises in fishery industry and the CEO at Tanri Abeng & Son Holding. He’s also been an Independent Commissioner in several Financial Service companies and on the Audit and Risk Committee at Bank BTPN Tbk, Berau Coal Energy Tbk, Aetra Air Jakarta as well as working for Citibank, Bank Mandiri and HSBC. His last position was as CFO at PT Citra Putra Mandiri – OSO Group.

Ridwan has won a number of prestigious awards including the Best CFO Awards 2019 (Institute of Certified Management Accountant Australia-Indonesia); Asia Pacific Young Business Leader awarded by Asia 21 Network New York USA (Tokyo 2008); UK Alumni Business Awards 2008 awarded by the British Council; and The Most Inspiring Human Resources Practitioners’ version of Human Capital Magazine 2010.

He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law, Trisakti University, Co-Founder of the Paramadina Public Policy Institute and actively writes books, publications and articles in the mass media. He co-authored “Korupsi Mengorupsi Indonesia” in 2009, which helps those with an interest in understanding governance in Indonesia and the critical issue of corruption. Ridwan speaks Indonesian and English.

Per Fredrik Ecker

Managing Director of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Per is the Managing Director of the Seven Stones Indonesia (SSI) Jakarta office and has more than 25-years’ experience in Indonesia, China, and Western Europe. He previously worked in senior management positions with Q-Free ASA, Siemens AG, and other companies in the telecom sector. Over the last six years, he has been the Chairman of the Indonesia-Norway Business Council (INBC) and recently become elected to be on the board of EuroCham Indonesia.

His most recent experience is within Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS), Telecom, and other sectors within the Indonesian market. He is today through his position in SSI and by representing Norway Connect, promoting Nordic and European companies that would like to explore business opportunities in the Indonesian market. He’s also playing an active role to help create the Nordic House concept in Jakarta that will provide an excellent platform for Nordic companies entering Indonesia, where they’ll find a community that can offer support with trusted information and affordable services to enter this market.