skip to Main Content
Story Structure

A CRAPP Business Story Structure

  • Blog

In our last post, we discussed how stories are a key tool for entrepreneurs in their quest to persuade their clients, employees, funders, and families members to believe in their vision. Stories create emotions. Emotions drive engagement and action. Entrepreneurs want action!

There is a simple method for constructing a story for use in a business environment. Let’s forget about story arc, protagonist, antagonist, and all of the other storytelling techniques used by script writers. We’re writing for business and so need to keep things simple. It is as simple as CRAPP.

Context: What problem did you face?
Before I was… The problem is…

Realization: Your AHA moment
Then I realized I could or I asked what if….?

Activity: What are you doing to succeed?
So I did this… and this…

Product/Potential: Future state
And now we can

Pitch: the “Ask” or the moral of the story

An Example:

Let’s apply this to a 30-second pitch. I’m in an elevator with secretary of defense and I have 30 seconds to tell her the story of government entrepreneur:

I used to work in an Army lab that competed with other government agencies for over 90 percent of its funding. Few employees knew how to thrive in this environment because entrepreneurship is very different in government than in the private sector (Context). I realized that we could teach employees the basics of entrepreneurship and help them learn how to build customer relationships with other government agencies (Realization). So I got together with two colleagues with expertise in this area and we developed a one-day course called Government Entrepreneur (Activity). We’re excited about this because we envision this course to ultimate help reduce duplicate capabilities across government agencies and save money (Potential). How can this help you? (Pitch).

Another example of a business story:

Dean knew that climate scientists all around the world were collecting and analyzing data … but none of the data talked or was shared (Context). He asked, what if climate scientists could share their data? He realized that open source tools could work for climate science data too (Realization). Then, he got to work creating a platform that integrated 70+ software packages and libraries on climate science and handled hundreds of exabytes of data (Activity). Now the platform is being used by thousands of scientists internationally and new discoveries on climate science are emerging (Product/Potential). This is an example of government agencies collaborating to create a truly innovative technology (pitch/moral).

In future posts we’ll get into the details of each story component.