Why business stories don’t end with “happily ever after”

Cathy Goodwin
3 min readMay 10, 2023

Business storytelling is a story genre. Here’s how it’s structured for success.

Image by Soulsana on Unsplash.

We know how fairy tales end: they live happily ever after.

We know murder mysteries end with “case closed.”

In romance novels, two people become a couple. Never mind political correctness. It’s what the audience wants.

These are genres.

Business stories also fit into a genre, which means they follow a structure. As with other genre stories, readers and listeners expect to find this structure, consciously or unconsciously. If you violate the structure, they complain.

Your selling story ends with a transformation. A good selling story moves FROM a starting point TO a transformation.

==> Check out the Strategic Storytelling podcast episode #99 for more examples of transformation in stories.

Start with the goal.

Look at Cinderella. I’ve talked elsewhere about how Cinderella isn’t a good marketing story. But let’s make a few revisions.

Cinderella really wants to go to the ball.

To make this a marketing story it has to be from the godmother’s perspective…She’s positioning herself as someone who helps clients reach their…



Cathy Goodwin

Create a compelling marketing message that attracts your ideal clients through your unique selling story. http://cathygoodwin.com