How this iconic story can shed light on a complex problem

Cathy Goodwin
3 min readMay 20

Business storytelling portfolios should include a story like this, even if it’s not about business.

Image by Jessica Oliveira on Unsplash

As a business owner, you need a portfolio of stories — and not just “how I struggled to get here” stories. You can learn more about types of stories in my book, Grow Your Business One Story At A Time.

You can also learn more on Episode 22 of the Strategic Storytelling podcast: Stories that explain, preach, or deliver a tough message. Click here to listen on your favorite platform.

Every business storytelling portfolio needs a concept story.

We don’t hear much about concept stories, but they’re essential to business storytelling. A concept story explains an idea, concept, or even a whole business model. It’s often an analogy.

The concept story explains a complex or novel idea and often teaches a lesson. This type of story often contains a twist. And the best concept stories also create an “aha” moment.

My favorite example isn’t a business story. But once you’ve heard it, you’ll be reminded every time you see people doing something useless because they can’t do something useful.

You can google “drunk lost car keys story.” It goes something like this:

A passerby (sometimes a police officer) sees a man stumbling around a lamppost.

He asks, “What are you doing?”

The man, who seems to have stayed too long at the bar, says, “I lost my car keys.”

“I’ll help you,” says the passerby. “Did you lose them here?”

“No! I dropped them over there in the alley.”

“So why are you looking here?”

“Because the light is better here.”

Once you’ve heard this story, you’ll start seeing the drunk and the lamppost everywhere.

In my book on storytelling, I talk about a woman who wanted to be a high profile keynote speaker. To reach her goal, she became active in her local Toastmasters club.

“What’s the likelihood you can use Toastmasters to become a professional speaker?” we asked.

Cathy Goodwin

Create a compelling marketing message that attracts your ideal clients through your unique selling story.