Flokka, the tagline of which is “Where women in business blog,” encourages women to share their stories. Aliza Pilar Sherman, in an article reprinted from Her Business magazine, tells women readers of having lunch with other women at conference and sharing stories of business woes with another woman at her table:
As we each told our very painful and private professional stories, we instantly shared a bond. … Looking back, I realise that the very act of telling my story over lunch one day to another woman was a turning point for me. Telling my story was a tremendous relief. Almost equally as important was hearing [her] story and getting a reassuring feeling that I was not the only woman going through a difficult and emotional time with her business.
Sherman notes that “stories heal” and “women learn most readily when they hear the stories of other people’s experiences.”
Sherman describes how hearing the stories of others facilitates change:
Even if we … ask for help, we often get defensive when we realise that the advice suggests we need to change something about ourselves or change our situation. We might not feel comfortable changing, at least not at someone else’s request. Yet if we hear a story of someone else’s experience of change, we tend to listen. If we listen closely and hear the message in the story, we learn. Sometimes, we are motivated to action by hearing someone else’s story. Other times, we are simply motivated to tell our own stories, an act that can be just as powerful. When we tell our own stories, we often do it because we think we are helping others, but more often than not, we end up helping ourselves.
Sherman suggests some story prompts for when a group of women entrepreneurs are gathered together to share experiences:
- Why did you start your business?
- What about your business keeps you up at night and how do you deal with it?
- What has been your proudest moment in business?
- When was the last time your business made you cry and why?
- What is the best business advice anyone has ever given you?
- What drives you crazy about your business and what can you do about it?
I was reminded of the list of questions I used to submit to business-owners speaking to the entrepreneurial seminar I used to teach. Here are some additional prompts for telling entrepreneurial stories:
- Your entrepreneurial aspirations as a child or young person.
- At what point did you know you wanted your own business?
- Did you have any businesses as a kid (lemonade stand, paper route,
- Your educational background.
- To what extent did your education relate to entrepreneurship?
- How well well did your education prepare you for entrepreneurship?
- Career background, if any, before starting your business.
- What jobs, if any, did you have before starting your business?
- How did you like them?
- What did you learn from them that you have applied to your own business?
- How difficult did you find it to transition from working for someone else to working for yourself?
- Other businesses, if any, you started before your current business.
- How did they fare? Successful or not?
- What did you learn from them?
- Starting your business.
- How did you develop the idea for your business?
- Why THIS business?
- What were the most challenging aspects of starting your business?
- Finances? Personnel? Partnerships? Marketing? Customers?
- Keeping the business going
- What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
- What are the biggest headaches?
- How has your business evolved since you started it?
- How did you know when you had achieved success?
- How long did it take for you to feel successful?
- The future
- How do you see your business changing, expanding in the future?
- Do you want to always have this business?
- What happens when you retire?
- Are you considering starting other businesses?
- Family life
- Are you married?
- Have children?
- How do you balance family life with your business?
- Does your family participate in your business?
- Advice for other who want to be entrepreneurs
- Biggest myths about entrepreneurship.
- Advice you wish you’d had when you started out.
- What characteristics does a successful entrepreneur need to have?
- If you could give would-be entrepreneurs just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Further description of Flokka:
flokka is a place for women in business to create a blog, or link an existing blog; so that together we can share our business ideas, dreams and journeys and support and encourage each other as we grow our businesses and ourselves.