Do You Have a Good Story?

This is Hall Street Storage, a storage company which has been taking up almost an entire city block in Brooklyn since 1931. They’re a green business — sustainability in business being a cause near and dear to my heart, that makes me love them already — and they are in fact the largest certified green business in New York City.

They have a commercial refrigerated storage division where they seem to corral all the stuff for downtown restaurants (they have a lot of caviar, duck livers, things like that) and a self-storage section which is getting ready to offer pedicabs to help residents of the neighborhood move their belongings with no emissions. You love them too now, right?

The story gets better. Last month, right in the middle of the month, the DOS-based computer system which they used gave up the ghost, and they couldn’t even send out bills for February. They called Clevertech, a custom software developer I work with, and CEO Kuty Shalev went down there to help. He rescued their data, figured out exactly what they needed, met with them to find out exactly what they liked and didn’t like about their old system — plus the things they needed which they didn’t know but which he could see because that’s one of his superpowers –and he built them a new warehouse management system. It’s going live today, just in time to get the bills out for March.

What’s more, there was one key person at Hall Street who did all the calculations of all the prices, with pencil and paper. Clevertech developer Brad Newman was telling me about her.He had explained that the prices all had to be calculated by hand.

“Hmm,” said I. “That must have meant that not everyone was able to do it. Plus having to be able to use DOS and remember all the information they weren’t capturing. Didn’t they have to pick and choose their workers pretty strictly?”

“Worse than that,” he said. “There was this one lady who knew everything. Without her, I don’t know what they would have done.”

Clevertech took all the everything that this lady knew and built it into the software they made for Hall Street.

We could make a movie out of this.

These are the stories to tell at your company website. You can’t talk about yourself all the time, because your readers mostly don’t care. They are thinking about themselves, usually, not you. They want to know what they’ll get out of what you offer. Your awards can be interesting, because they answer your visitor’s question: “Will these people do a good job for me?” Your qualifications can be briefly interesting for the same reason. Beyond that? You have to capture their imaginations.

For me, the image of Kuty in that enormous green building rescuing 79 years of data while the workers stood surrounded by caviar and duck livers that belonged to … um…. someone, and we hope our expert can remember — well, that’s worth a lot.

Check out Kuty’s blog tomorrow for his side of the story, especially if you want to know the tech details. In the meantime, cast about in your mind: do you have a good story? And is it on your website already? If not, get it on there ASAP.

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