Every community has its secret entrepreneurial success stories. Ecosystem builders must recruit those individuals and elevate them as examples for others by highlighting their stories to others.” — Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook

Storytelling is essential to building a successful startup community

Creating and sharing stories about your entrepreneurs and your startup community has several benefits. It raises awareness of the entrepreneurs and their businesses thereby helping them find customers and earn revenue. It helps establish credibility of your community as a cohesive ecosystem. It helps shape the narrative around entrepreneurship and economic development.

We have to get better at telling our own stories. Maybe that means starting a startup news organization in your community. Or it could be more simple, like writing a blog article or doing a Facebook Live video about a new startup in your town. But you have to start getting the word out!” ~ Ryan Lilly, Author of Ecosystem Hacking: How to Help Entrepreneurs & Grow Your Local Economy Faster Than Ever

But the challenge for many ecosystem builders who may want to tell the stories of the entrepreneurs is how to get started. For those who don’t naturally lean to writing and creating content to share, it may seem like a daunting task. But, getting started is easier than you might think.

There are several options for how you might start storytelling in your community. You don’t have to hire a journalist or rely on your local paper to share your entrepreneurs’ stories. You can start with something as simple as a social media campaign like 1863 Ventures does.

You can also use a simple interview template to collect answers input from your entrepreneurs. It’s a simple and straightforward way to start sharing your entrepreneurs’ stories. You send out interview questions via email to entrepreneurs in your community, collect their stories as they answer them, and then publish them on your website or blog.

To get started, check out the ten sample interview questions I’ve listed below. If you want to dive deeper into  storytelling, I suggest signing up for Anika Horn’s upcoming Fireside Chat meetup, Tell a community’s authentic story, on November 19 and also check out her upcoming Storytelling for Community Building masterclass on December 1.

Get Started Telling Your Entrepreneurs’ and Community’s Stories

Sample Questions to Interview the Entrepreneur in Your Community

Here are ten questions to get you started. Feel free to pick and choose and adapt to fit your needs.

  1. Tell us about your startup/business. What’s your 30 second elevator pitch?
  2. What need or problem are you solving?
  3. How did you come up with the idea for the business?
  4. How did you validate that your solution was viable?
  5. What stage are you at and what’s next?
  6. What is the biggest win you’ve had so far?
  7. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as a startup founder?
  8. What needs do you have to grow and take it to the next level?
  9. What’s your take on the local startup scene / entrepreneurial community? What has been helpful?
  10. What do you think as an entrepreneur would be more helpful to have here in the region?

Want more storytelling tips? Check out 10 Tips for Using Storytelling in Ecosystem Building.