There are resources all around you. Before you do anything, find out more about what support exists, nearby or beyond, to help you start right.
In early 2015, after years of helping to organize the Baltimore startup community, Mykel Nahorniak announced he was relocating the headquarters of his online event management startup Localist to Silver Spring, Maryland, to be closer to the Washington D.C. tech community.
Though the two areas share much, the move still presented Nahorniak with a new community to join.
It would have been easy for him to stay put in his 3,500-square-foot office space with his 10 team members. But after his experience in the Baltimore tech community, he knew there was lots of benefit to be had by being more involved locally. There are resources and network support that can help a young company grow and prosper.
So even though he has to sell his software to clients wherever they are, he takes a local approach to connecting. Access to global communication tools or not, he wants to know other entrepreneurs and technology firms nearby, and he’s able to navigate those waters.
He knew how to be the “new kid on the block,” as the founder put it. Nahorniak has a collaborative view of entrepreneurship: “We’re all people, we all want to connect.” So his advice is to get out there and meet people.
Networking in the community had lots of benefits for Annie Eaton, the CEO of Atlanta-based augmented reality company Futurus. The city is home to successful tech companies such as Yik Yak and Mailchimp, as well as Fortune 500 companies such as Coca-Cola, Home Depot and UPS. In a local community, the people that work at those companies are all connected by their proximity within a city.
“I cannot emphasize networking enough,” Eaton said. “We had relationships with other companies that would introduce us to their network of people at even bigger companies. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with large Fortune 500 companies mainly through the power of networking.”
In the Denver-Boulder area, Toby Krout said that the community is made up of entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as the organizations that support them and potential corporate partners.
“I think the integration, the value that is in being in the fabric of the community is maybe the most important and most valuable thing to an entrepreneur,” said Krout, managing director of Boomtown accelerator in Boulder. And those communities aren’t limited to a single city. The tech community in Boulder boasts its own network of nationally-known players and businesses, as well as meaningful connections to the growing community in Denver and Colorado as a whole.
Proximity is everything. Seek local talent and investors. Give back to the community. Things like @EFColorado are key #TMRWTOUR16
— Pete Winterscheidt (@petroccoco) February 4, 2016
One of the biggest distinctions of building a business today is access to information. With the explosion of online learning tools and their in-person extensions in the form of events and entrepreneurship programs, it’s foolish to go it alone. Start with that mindset.
The point is there is almost surely a plethora of resources to support you. Start with the plan to engage locally, and you’ll benefit soon.
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