Storytelling Can Dramatically Change Your Business

Learn how entrepreneurs can use filmmaking as a tool for dramatic growth.

learn more about Ian Khan

By Ian Khan

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It's 2007. While attending a technology conference, I was introduced to the world of technology filmmaking. What's technology filmmaking? I'm glad you asked. I would have never thought that there existed a specific genre of filmmaking within technology circles, which captured many different themes, from following entrepreneurs and their journey to the latest breaking stories that captured knew innovative ideas and beyond.

After that, I was bitten by the movie bug. But what did I really know about filmmaking? Literally nothing. I had dabbled into professional photography for a few years and that was it. I was a stills guy, a frame person, but not really a motion person. Sometimes you encounter something so profound in life that it completely changes the direction of where you're headed, and essentially who you are. In my entire career, I have found many of these twists and turns that have taken me into a new area of exploration and helped me change what I was doing to make things better. Filmmaking has been one of them.

Related: Hollywood Storytelling Secrets That Will Make You a More Inspiring Leader

Long story short, I got super interested in filmmaking — and essentially storytelling. How could you weave a narrative around something that can help tell a captivating story and how can that change the lives of those who would watch such a film? In this article, I will give you five steps to use storytelling as leverage to do many good things, one of them being dramatically changing results for your business.

Now you may think filmmaking is complex and you really don't have ideas that could transform or translate into a visual work. Undoubtedly filmmaking is complicated, but there are many ways to simplify the message and the delivery — and get people to watch it.

Before I share all my secrets, I just wanted to put it out there that my first documentary film was Blockchain City, which was released on Amazon Prime Video in 2019. My second documentary, GX Now, was recently released on Amazon Prime Video as well. My third documentary is AI the Next Frontier, the story of artificial intelligence and where we are headed as humanity. It's scheduled to be released at the end of 2021.

Here are my insights that may help:

  1. Someone has said that a picture is worth 1,000 words. That's true, but a video is worth a million pictures. Video has an extremely powerful way of captivating viewers, that is if you have the right story to tell. There is no doubt in my mind — and given my experience with three different documentaries — that video is the best way to deliver a message or create an understanding of something that you want to tell your audiences about.
  2. Filmmaking is more simple than it seems. An independent filmmaker takes an idea, builds a narrative around it, and finds a way to make the story take shape. This involves budgets, financing the film, booking talent, interviews, crew selection and 100 other things you would have never imagined that you would be doing. With my three documentaries, I have traveled to more than 15 countries with zero crew along with me. I managed to create a system of working with local crews and that worked well. It's all about simplifying the complexity and making it work for you.
  3. Keep the end goal in mind. Filmmaking or video narrative creation is not about a short shot at success or being famous. It's about grueling work to make sure your message reaches those you feel should know about what you want to talk about. If you are so passionate about your story and what you want others to know, keep the end goal in mind. This is also a heads up that the journey of being a filmmaker is not going to be easy, but the destination is definitely much beautiful than you could ever anticipate.
  4. There is a steep learning curve if you are not exposed to things like project management, storytelling, creative writing and communicating with others. The path never gets easier. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Expect a lot of failures and a lot more learning along the way. However, I personally grew a lot due to these experiences and that helped me think more creatively.
  5. Get started. As an entrepreneur, if you sit still and keep just thinking about tomorrow, nothing will happen. We know already that action reaps the reward. Unless you do things that set you apart from others, you will keep on getting the results you have had so far. Experiment with creating a video for YouTube, then move to create a short series and then perhaps a bigger project. The point is to get started.

Related: How Your Origin Story Connects You With Your Audience

Today, video creation is thriving. There is abundant talent available that can help you with every aspect of creating a video. Here are the top five facts about video.

  • 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool — up from 63% over the last year. (Hubspot)

  • 6 out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than television. (Google)

  • Mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year. (Insivia)

  • By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017. (Cisco)

  • 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day. (HubSpot)

So here is the billion-dollar question. If video demand is growing at an astronomical pace and if the video is the top medium of engagement, where should your marketing dollars go?

Check out my documentary films on Amazon Prime or YouTube to get an idea of the type of work I have put into my storytelling over the last few years. It does not matter if you are a restaurant owner, an accountant, a banker, a car repair garage or a realtor. You have a unique story inside of you that can be told to the world outside. It can help others overcome barriers they are currently facing or learn something new. The possibilities are endless.

Ian Khan

Inventor of the Future Readiness Score™

Founder of the Futuracy group, a Future Readiness Research and Advisory Think Tank, Ian is also the principal of a digital marketing agency, film-production company and a book-publishing division. He is also the creator of the “Future Readiness Score,” as well as an educator and keynote speaker.

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