"Stories are the fire we carry to each other.  Stories possess a spark ... it is through the act of telling and hearing stories that we become inspired"                                    
Bobette Buster - DO/Story*

And that in essence is what happened last Wednesday.

Alongside Dr Janine Swail of the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, we hosted an evening where a group of women shared their stories of purpose, ambition and fears for creating their own businesses.

 The evening fuelled my belief that we need to create more opportunities, both nationally** and locally for these stories to be shared so that more sparks of inspiration can be created.

 And then I think we need to go beyond this. Because it’s relatively easy to say ‘that was inspiring’ but it’s much harder to convert that sense of inspiration into action and in this case into developing a business idea further. I remember hearing Etienne Stott speak about his London 2012 Olympic success and someone saying to him afterwards “that was so inspiring”. His response said with energy and enthusiasm has always stuck with me “that’s great news … what are you going to do”.

 So here are some insights that came from the stories that were shared and listened to on Wednesday night that might help you to take the next step - be you male or female; one who is preparing to leap into entrepreneurship or one who has already leapt

1) Waste no time in figuring out:

- your purpose – why you want to create a business.

- the impact you want to have – how is the world going to be better (in a big or a small way) because of what you’re going to offer

- your passion – what gets you out of bed in the morning, what’s your soapbox subject, what do you really care about?

- your strengths – what are you great at (spoiler: it’s probably something you really enjoy)

 You probably won’t crack this overnight. And that’s ok.

 2) Avoid comparing your start point with someone else’s mid-point. Those at their mid-point will of achieved more than you because of where they’re at. Use their mid-point instead as a spark of inspiration

 3) Be aware of what your competition is doing but play the game your way. That’s what makes your offer unique.

 4) Your first idea will most probably not be ‘the’ idea. Ideas work best when they change shape as you learn more about them.

 5) Be brave with your ideas – share them, play with them, prototype and experiment with them. Ideas like that kind of thing.

 6) Don’t feel isolated – there are lots of us out there to learn from and with

 7) Time is limited. Fact. This isn’t going to change. Do something with the time you have – think big, start small but do start.

 8) Ask for help. You’re not wonder-woman / super-man and that’s ok.

 9) Whatever you do, don’t get stuck.