40 Types of Stories to Tell in Business

40 Types of Stories to Tell in Business

Holdup! Before writing one word of a business story, it's helpful to understand the type of business story you're trying to craft.

Use this list to inspire your topic when creating a business story:

1. The Origin Story

  • Beginning: Start with the origins of the company or product, highlighting the initial problem or need.
  • Middle: Describe the journey of finding a solution, including the challenges faced and the breakthrough moments.
  • End: Conclude with the success of the current state, showing how the company or product has evolved and its impact on the market.

Purpose: This story type helps to build brand identity and credibility by showcasing the company’s roots and evolution.

2. The Customer Success Story

  • Beginning: Introduce the customer, their background, and the specific problem or challenge they faced.
  • Middle: Explain how they encountered the product or service and the process of implementing it.
  • End: Highlight the results and benefits experienced by the customer, backed by data or testimonials.

Purpose: Customer success stories are powerful for illustrating the value and effectiveness of a product or service, making them essential for sales and marketing efforts.

3. The Vision Story

  • Beginning: Present the current state of the industry or market, including the main challenges or opportunities.
  • Middle: Share the vision for the future, detailing how it addresses these challenges or capitalizes on opportunities.
  • End: Describe the path to achieving this vision, including the role of the company/product and the call to action for the audience.

Purpose: Vision stories inspire and motivate the audience by painting a picture of a better future and showing how the company’s offerings are essential in realizing it.

4. The Challenge Story

  • Beginning: Set the scene by describing a significant challenge or obstacle faced by the company or industry.
  • Middle: Narrate the steps taken to address the challenge, including any setbacks and how they were overcome.
  • End: Conclude with the outcome, focusing on the lessons learned and the strengths demonstrated.

Purpose: Challenge stories demonstrate resilience, innovation, and the ability to overcome adversity, which can build trust and admiration among the audience.

5. The Transformation Story

  • Beginning: Outline the ‘before’ state, including the initial situation and its limitations or problems.
  • Middle: Describe the journey of change, including key actions taken, milestones reached, and challenges faced.
  • End: Showcase the ‘after’ state, emphasizing the positive changes and improvements made.

Purpose: Transformation stories highlight the journey of significant change and improvement, demonstrating the company’s capacity for growth and development.

6. The Innovation Story

  • Beginning: Start with the status quo or a common issue in the industry that needs addressing.
  • Middle: Describe the innovative approach or technology developed to tackle this issue, including the creative process and any initial skepticism or obstacles.
  • End: Highlight the success and impact of the innovation, with examples of how it’s changing the industry or market.

Purpose: Innovation stories demonstrate the company's ability to think outside the box and lead change, showcasing its value as a forward-thinking entity.

7. The Partnership Story

  • Beginning: Introduce the partners, their backgrounds, and the reason for their collaboration.
  • Middle: Detail the process of working together, including the synergies created, challenges faced, and how they were resolved.
  • End: Show the outcomes and benefits of the partnership, for both the partners and their customers or clients.

Purpose: Partnership stories illustrate the power of collaboration and how combining strengths can lead to greater success and market impact.

8. The Leadership Journey Story

  • Beginning: Share the background of a leader in the company, including their early experiences and what shaped their leadership style.
  • Middle: Narrate key moments in their career, especially those involving significant decisions, challenges, and achievements within the company.
  • End: Reflect on the leader’s impact on the company, their philosophy, and the legacy they are building or have built.

Purpose: Leadership journey stories humanize company executives, showcasing their personal growth, values, and the direct influence they have on the company’s culture and success.

9. The Industry Insight Story

  • Beginning: Present an overview of the industry, focusing on a lesser-known fact or trend that is shaping its future.
  • Middle: Delve into the insights or data that reveal this trend, explaining its implications for businesses and consumers alike.
  • End: Offer a perspective on how to leverage these insights for strategic advantage, positioning the company as a thought leader.

Purpose: Industry insight stories establish the company as an expert in its field, providing valuable information that positions them as a go-to resource for understanding industry trends.

10. The Future Forecast Story

  • Beginning: Describe the current state of the industry or market and the emerging trends or technologies on the horizon.
  • Middle: Predict how these trends will evolve and their potential impact on the industry and society.
  • End: Discuss how the company is preparing for or leading the way towards this future, with a call to action for the audience to join or support their journey.

Purpose: Future forecast stories position the company as a visionary leader, capable of not only predicting but also shaping the future of the industry.

11. The Contrarian Story

  • Beginning: Present a commonly held belief or practice in the industry.
  • Middle: Challenge this norm by introducing an alternative perspective or approach, providing evidence and reasoning.
  • End: Show the success or potential of this contrarian view, illustrating how it leads to innovative solutions or improvements.

Purpose: This type of story is used to differentiate the company as a leader that questions the status quo and is not afraid to take unconventional paths to achieve better outcomes.

12. The ‘What If’ Scenario Story

  • Beginning: Paint a picture of the current industry landscape or a typical situation faced by the company or its customers.
  • Middle: Ask “What if?” and explore a hypothetical scenario that changes an aspect of this landscape or situation, detailing the potential ripple effects.
  • End: Discuss how the company is prepared to address this scenario or how its products/services can lead to a desirable outcome in this alternate reality.

Purpose: This story type sparks imagination and helps the audience consider new possibilities, showing how the company is forward-thinking and adaptable.

13. The Behind-the-Scenes Story

  • Beginning: Introduce a project, product, or service from the public’s perspective.
  • Middle: Pull back the curtain to reveal the unexpected, often hidden processes, challenges, or innovations involved in its creation.
  • End: Highlight the dedication, ingenuity, and values that drive the company, as evidenced by these behind-the-scenes efforts.

Purpose: These stories build trust and appreciation by showing transparency and the hard work that goes into the company's offerings.

14. The Parallel Universe Story

  • Beginning: Describe a historical or fictional scenario that parallels a current industry situation or company challenge.
  • Middle: Draw comparisons between the two, highlighting similarities in challenges, decisions, and actions.
  • End: Conclude with key takeaways or lessons from the parallel scenario that apply to the present context, offering insights or solutions.

Purpose: This creative storytelling approach provides fresh perspectives and insights, helping the audience draw connections and understand complex ideas in a relatable way.

15. The Role Reversal Story

  • Beginning: Normally, stories highlight the company’s solutions from its own perspective. Start instead from the viewpoint of a customer, competitor, or even an inanimate object.
  • Middle: Narrate the journey or experience from this alternative perspective, focusing on interactions with the company or its products/services.
  • End: Reveal insights or outcomes from this unique viewpoint, highlighting how it leads to a deeper understanding or appreciation of the company’s role and impact.

Purpose: To cultivate empathy and a deeper understanding by viewing the company's impact through the eyes of those directly affected by its products or decisions.

16. The Cross-Industry Analogy Story

  • Beginning: Begin by discussing a well-known success story or innovative practice from a completely different industry.
  • Middle: Draw parallels between that industry’s situation and your own, highlighting similar challenges or opportunities.
  • End: Conclude with how the lessons from the other industry can be applied to yours, providing fresh insights and strategies.

Purpose: To foster innovation and strategic thinking by drawing lessons from unrelated industries. This can lead to breakthrough ideas and solutions that competitors in one’s own industry might overlook.

17. The Underdog Story

  • Beginning: Start with the humble beginnings or early struggles of your company or a key employee.
  • Middle: Detail the journey of overcoming adversity, skepticism, or competition against larger, more established entities.
  • End: End with the triumph, focusing on the grit, determination, and unique strengths that led to success.

Purpose: To inspire and motivate both internal stakeholders and external audiences by showcasing the company's resilience and determination.

18. The Time Travel Story

  • Beginning: Begin in the future, describing an ideal scenario or the company’s long-term vision as if it has already been achieved.
  • Middle: Travel back to the present, outlining the steps and strategies being implemented to reach that future state.
  • End: End by connecting the future and present, emphasizing the foresight and innovative actions taken now to achieve the desired outcome.

Purpose: To emphasize the company's forward-thinking and long-term planning capabilities. It reassures stakeholders of the company’s preparedness for future challenges and its commitment to a vision that is steadily coming to fruition.

19. The Myth-Busting Story

  • Beginning: Start by identifying a common myth or misconception in your industry.
  • Middle: Use data, anecdotes, and analysis to debunk the myth, providing a new perspective or clarifying misunderstandings.
  • End: Conclude with how your company or product provides solutions based on the corrected understanding, positioning yourselves as informed and trustworthy experts.

Purpose: To establish the company as a thought leader and a credible source of information by correcting misconceptions and providing accurate insights.

20. The Legacy Story

  • Beginning: Begin with the long-term vision or mission of the company, focusing on the lasting impact it aims to have on the industry, society, or the world.
  • Middle: Detail the foundational values and strategic actions that guide the company toward achieving this legacy.
  • End: End by showing the progress made so far and the roadmap for continuing to build this legacy, inviting others to be part of the journey.

Purpose: To establish the company as a thought leader and a credible source of information by correcting misconceptions and providing accurate insights.

21. The Cultural Shift Story

  • Beginning: Start with the traditional culture or practices of the industry or company.
  • Middle: Discuss a pivotal moment or realization that led to a significant shift in values, priorities, or operations.
  • End: Conclude with the positive outcomes of this shift, such as increased innovation, improved employee satisfaction, or greater social responsibility.

Purpose: To illustrate the company's adaptability and commitment to continuous improvement.

22. The Eureka Moment Story

  • Beginning: Begin with the backstory of a challenging problem or a stagnant situation.
  • Middle: Narrate the moment of sudden insight or discovery that led to a breakthrough solution or innovation.
  • End: End with the implementation of this solution and its transformative impact on the company or industry.

Purpose: To celebrate creativity and momentary inspiration that lead to significant breakthroughs.

23. The Ripple Effect Story

  • Beginning: Start with a small, seemingly insignificant action or decision made by the company or an individual within it.
  • Middle: Detail how this action set off a chain reaction, leading to significant, widespread changes or results.
  • End: Conclude with the major impact of these changes, illustrating the power of small beginnings.

Purpose: To demonstrate the power of small actions and decisions and their potential to create significant outcomes.

24. The Symbiotic Relationship Story

  • Beginning: Begin with two or more entities (e.g., companies, departments, or organizations) that appear unrelated or competitive.
  • Middle: Describe how they found common ground or a way to collaborate for mutual benefit, emphasizing the process of building the relationship.
  • End: Conclude with the successful outcomes of this collaboration, highlighting the value of partnerships and synergy.

Purpose: To showcase the value of collaboration and strategic partnerships. This story emphasizes how alliances between seemingly disparate entities can unlock new opportunities and mutual benefits, enhancing each partner's strengths.

25. The Renaissance Story

  • Beginning: Start with a period of decline or stagnation, either within the company or in the industry.
  • Middle: Detail the transformative actions taken to revitalize and innovate, such as adopting new technologies, restructuring, or rebranding.
  • End: End with the company or industry experiencing a renaissance, thriving and leading the way forward.

Purpose: To convey a message of resilience and renewal. It highlights the company's ability to reinvent itself and thrive amidst challenges, inspiring confidence and a forward-looking attitude among stakeholders.

26. The Parallel Worlds Story

Beginning: Describe two different industries or markets as separate worlds with unique challenges and successes.

  • Middle: Explore how an innovation or strategy from one ‘world’ can be adapted to solve a problem in the other.
  • End: Showcase the surprising success of this cross-pollination, emphasizing the power of unconventional thinking.

Purpose: To foster innovative thinking by drawing solutions from outside one's immediate context. This story promotes the idea that cross-industry learning can lead to unconventional and effective solutions.

27. The Full Circle Story

  • Beginning: Start with the company’s original mission or founding values.
  • Middle: Narrate the journey, including diversions or evolutions from the initial path.
  • End: Show how the company comes back to its roots, but with new insights and strengths, completing a full circle.

Purpose: To reflect on the company’s journey, emphasizing the enduring relevance of its foundational values and mission.

28. The Secret Ingredient Story

  • Beginning: Present a common challenge or goal in the industry.
  • Middle: Reveal a unique approach or ‘secret ingredient’ your company uses to address this challenge.
  • End: Illustrate the effectiveness of this unique approach, making it a coveted or admired aspect of your brand.

Purpose: To highlight a unique factor or approach that sets the company apart from competitors. This

29. The Unsung Hero Story

  • Beginning: Highlight a person or team within your company who typically works behind the scenes.
  • Middle: Describe their contributions, challenges, and the impact of their work on the company’s success.
  • End: Celebrate their achievements and underscore the value of every team member’s role, promoting a culture of appreciation and inclusivity.

Purpose: To recognize and celebrate the contributions of individuals or teams that are crucial but not usually in the spotlight.

30. The Quantum Leap Story

  • Beginning: Describe a period of slow progress or stagnation.
  • Middle: Introduce a radical change or discovery that led to a sudden, significant advancement.
  • End: Detail the new level of achievement or understanding, emphasizing the transformative power of bold actions.

Purpose: To highlight the company's capacity for breakthrough innovation that dramatically advances its position or understanding in the industry.

31. The Domino Effect Story

  • Beginning: Start with a small, strategic change or decision made by the company.
  • Middle: Trace the cascading effects of this decision through different aspects of the business and beyond.
  • End: Highlight the extensive impact, showing how small shifts can lead to substantial outcomes.

Purpose: To demonstrate how small, strategic decisions can set off a chain reaction that leads to significant, company-wide or even industry-wide changes.

32. The Time Capsule Story

  • Beginning: Imagine sealing a ‘time capsule’ with elements representing the company today.
  • Middle: Describe what these elements are and why they were chosen, reflecting the company’s current state and values.
  • End: Project into the future when the capsule is opened, exploring how the company's present will be perceived and the legacy it will have left.

Purpose: To reflect on the company's current identity and values, projecting how these will be perceived in the future and their lasting impact.

33. The Metamorphosis Story

  • Beginning: Outline the original state or form of a product, service, or the company itself.
  • Middle: Detail the transformation process, highlighting significant milestones, challenges, and innovations.
  • End: Reveal the new state or form, emphasizing the evolution and improvements made.

Purpose: To illustrate the company’s ability to evolve and transform significantly, improving its offerings and adapting to changing environments.

34. The Lost and Found Story

  • Beginning: Describe something valuable that was lost or forgotten by the company or industry (e.g., a core value, mission, or innovative spirit).
  • Middle: Narrate the journey of rediscovery, including the challenges faced and lessons learned along the way.
  • End: Showcase the positive impact of reclaiming this lost element, highlighting its renewed importance and contribution to success.

Purpose: To underscore the importance of maintaining core values and missions, showing how rediscovering and embracing them can lead to renewed success and relevance.

35. The Experimental Lab Story

  • Beginning: Present the company as a laboratory, where experimentation and innovation are the norms.
  • Middle: Describe various ‘experiments’ or projects undertaken, emphasizing the creative process and willingness to take risks.
  • End: Share the successes (and failures) of these experiments, illustrating how they contribute to learning, growth, and eventual breakthroughs.

Purpose: To showcase the company's dedication to innovation and learning, emphasizing how a culture of experimentation can drive growth and new discoveries.

36. The Gateway Story

  • Beginning: Introduce a seemingly small or simple product or feature developed by the company.
  • Middle: Expand on how this feature opened up a host of unexpected opportunities or markets.
  • End: Highlight the transformative impact this gateway has had on the company’s growth and industry position.

Purpose: To demonstrate how small innovations can lead to large-scale transformations, emphasizing strategic thinking.

37. The Feedback Loop Story

  • Beginning: Describe an initial product launch and the mixed feedback received from the first users.
  • Middle: Detail how the company used this feedback to refine and improve the product iteratively.
  • End: Conclude with the relaunch or update of the product, showcasing its success and the satisfaction of users.

Purpose: This story illustrates the value of customer feedback in driving product perfection and customer satisfaction.

38. The Global Connection Story

  • Beginning: Start with the challenge of entering a new, culturally different market.
  • Middle: Describe the learning curve and adaptations made to respect and meet local needs and preferences.
  • End: Showcase the successful integration into the market and the mutual benefits gained.

Purpose: To highlight the company's global reach and cultural sensitivity, underscoring its commitment to thoughtful expansion.

39. The Resurgence Story

  • Beginning: Paint a picture of a period of downturn or crisis for the company.
  • Middle: Narrate the strategic decisions and leadership actions that revitalized the company.
  • End: Celebrate the company’s return to strength, better than before.

Purpose: This story reinforces themes of resilience and proactive management, inspiring confidence in the company’s stability and leadership.

40. The Unexpected Hero Story

  • Beginning: Focus on an overlooked or underappreciated aspect of the business, such as a back-office function or a junior team.
  • Middle: Describe how a crisis or opportunity revealed the crucial importance of this overlooked aspect.
  • End: Highlight the newfound appreciation and improvements made to recognize and enhance this area.

Purpose: To encourage recognizing and valuing every part of the organization, promoting a holistic approach to business success.

41. The Green Revolution Story

  • Beginning: Start with the environmental challenges and pressures facing the industry.
  • Middle: Discuss the company’s initiatives and innovations in sustainability.
  • End: Show the environmental and business benefits achieved, setting a benchmark in the industry.

Purpose: To showcase the company’s commitment to sustainability and its role as an environmental leader.

42. The Second Chance Story

  • Beginning: Introduce a failed product or project and the lessons learned.
  • Middle: Detail how these lessons led to a new approach or innovation.
  • End: Celebrate the success of the new venture that wouldn’t have been possible without the initial failure.
  • Purpose: This story promotes a culture of learning from mistakes and viewing failures as stepping stones to success.

43. The Harmony Story

  • Beginning: Outline a significant conflict within the company or with a partner.
  • Middle: Describe the steps taken to address and resolve the conflict, focusing on communication and collaboration.
  • End: Highlight the stronger relationship and better outcomes achieved through this resolution.

Purpose: To emphasize the importance of conflict resolution and the value of working together towards common goals.

44. The Pioneer Story

  • Beginning: Describe a daunting challenge or uncharted territory in the industry.
  • Middle: Narrate how the company approached this challenge with pioneering strategies or technologies.
  • End: Showcase the leadership position now held in the industry thanks to these efforts.

Purpose: To highlight the company’s role as an innovator and leader, paving the way for others.

45. The Legacy Project Story

  • Beginning: Start with the vision of creating a long-term, impactful project that goes beyond typical business goals.
  • Middle: Detail the development and challenges of the project, emphasizing its scale and significance.
  • End: Reflect on the project’s impact, both internally on the company culture and externally on the community or industry.

Purpose: To demonstrate the company’s commitment to leaving a lasting, positive legacy, aligning business success with broader societal benefits.