Monday, May 14, 2012

The 3 Ways to Foster Startup Growth in Your Community

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same is true for Silicon Valley. There is no tried and true blueprint for creating a startup community. It’s a trial and error process that takes both commitment and patience. To have a community as strong as Silicon Valley is the ultimate goal for dreamers and doers all over the world. It is not an unattainable goal. It takes the perfect mix of inspiration, initiative, and tenacity to get the ball. In the famous words of Walt Disney, “the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Encourage and Inspire

Maybe your city already has a foundation built upon which entrepreneurial growth can prosper. But what’s the next step? Now you need to raise awareness in the community and attract the attention of your fellow entrepreneurs. Make a serious effort to encourage and inspire. Lead by example. Put yourself out there and let others know what you’re doing and what your goal is...the support will follow.

Hosting an event is the perfect way to gather these like-minded individuals. Whether it be a conference, a meet-up, or a happy hour, the result will be the same. It will get people talking. Create a buzz about what your city is doing to foster startup growth. Let it be known that you are making moves and achieving progress. These gatherings will undoubtedly aid in inspiring others to follow your example. They will help to create a true community environment amongst those brave enough to take the entrepreneurial road.

Come Together

While hosting events successfully brings together entrepreneurs and gets them talking, it is essential to take the next step and start the collaboration process. One way to do this is to form a startup hub. Bring people together on a more consistent basis. Coworking spaces are the most effective way to embrace the community aspect of startups. They allow for like-minded individuals to come together each and every day. Sharing experiences, successes, and failures with your fellow coworkers is a surefire way to gain invaluable knowledge. These spaces are especially important in newer entrepreneurial communities. It’s a community within a community and will, without a doubt, help to attract more entrepreneurs. Before you know it, your city will have a stronger startup presence.

Get Digital

In order to put your startup community on the map, it is crucial that you establish an online presence. You need to reach outside of your community to raise awareness of your efforts. Let the entire world know what is unique about your community, promote what you’re building and gain the attention of other startup communities. Make it impossible to ignore the activity and buzz surrounding your city.

Start a blog, make posts often and make them enticing. Attract readers from across the nation and keep them coming back to see what you are up to, what new events you have planned and what progress you are making. Don’t underestimate the value of Facebook and Twitter. Once you’ve established a presence on these sites, you will be connected to many influential individuals and companies. Keep tabs on what these movers-and-shakers are doing, learn from them, let yourself be inspired by what they’ve built. It’s an arena for knowledge and growth.

It is also important to follow what the key players in Silicon Valley and New York are doing. Maybe there is a particularly successful individual you admire. If so, follow his or her tweets. They might be willing to meet with you, attend a meet-up you have planned, or speak at an upcoming event. Entrepreneurs love sharing what they have learned on their startup adventure and if you establish your community as one on the rise, you can garner the attention of seasoned entrepreneurs who are willing to lend their knowledge. Go digital and get watch your community grow.

We’ve established that Silicon Valley was not an overnight accomplishment. It took years to build what they have. As you begin fostering startup growth in your own community, remember to be patient. It’s a golden quality, especially when trying to build something much bigger than yourself. Don’t compare your city to the mega hubs (i.e. San Francisco, Boston and Austin), be inspired by them and learn from what they’ve successfully built. Keep in mind your reasons for establishing your startup community, don’t forget the advantages it will bring to your city – the job creation it will provide, the economic growth it will inspire and the support and encouragement of others on the same journey. Start with small steps and before you know it you and your community will be making big strides.

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