I listened to a founder tell his story. He’s powered through some challenging times to get his company to where it is today. Only, when he told the story, it wasn’t as succinct as it could have been. Watching him reminded me of myself. I used to get asked about the specifics of my founder journey and didn’t always do a great job articulating them. I usually ended up sharing the details I happened to remember at the time.
One day, aspiring and early founders who wanted my help asked something about the early days of my journey. It had been over a decade, and the details were fuzzy. I responded, of course, but walked away feeling like I had given them a haphazard series of events. I wanted to help these founders as much as possible and felt like I had let them down. I realized I had to do better.
Deciding to do something about this, I settled on creating a timeline, year by year from the inception of my company. I focused on keeping it high level. Each year included five to seven bullets about the highs and lows. I included each year’s revenue so I could speak to the growth trajectory accurately. It took some time, and I had to do some digging, but the finished product was a great document.
I was super glad I created the timeline. I’d forgotten many details and milestones of my journey. The exercise sparked my memory and accurately captured the tale of my start-up.
A few weeks later, when I was asked to speak to a group of founders, I could clearly and confidently articulate my journey. The group asked tons of questions that I was able to answer by sharing my experiences.
I’m a big fan of the timeline exercise. I plan to update it annually.
If you’re a founder and not happy with how you’ve told your story, consider creating a timeline. The exercise might be just what you need to do justice to your story!