Founding story

Backroads Active Travel Company

When our founder, Tom Hale, was a kid, he wasn’t much of a fan of mass tourism. You know, big theme parks where people are shuffled around in herds and stand in line for hours just for a three-minute ride. He felt like he was trapped in an artificial, sedentary environment with a bunch of strangers.

Then when he grew up, his first job out of college was in a big office building in Las Vegas. Six months into it, he realized his job was a lot like those vacations he never liked as a kid: trapped in a huge artificial city, working long hours in the same spot, surrounded by lots of people he didn’t know.

Then one night he woke up at 2 a.m. with an idea. And by 8 o’clock the next morning, he’d sketched out a plan for a more exciting career for himself, and a better vacation experience for everyone else. And that’s when Backroads was born.

His idea was to thoughtfully plan out authentic, active, outdoor experiences, in naturally beautiful locations, in small groups that you help select. That way, whether you’re hiking, biking, kayaking, or something else, it’s never fake, you’ll never get bored, and you’ll always be among friends.


Notice that this story doesn’t do a great job of explaining exactly what Backroads does. That’s intentional. This isn’t your product story. This is just supposed to introduce your prospects to your company, its purpose, and its values, and to do so in a way that’s interesting and leaves them wanting to know more.


[You can find this and dozens of other examples and lessons on storytelling in sales in my book, Sell with a Story.]

PAS square profile Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

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