By: Alison Needham
No startup is an island.
A venture cannot succeed without support: from clients, from employees, and from the community at large. Any business that tries to operate in a vacuum will be a business that fails. Likewise, a startup that ignores an opportunity to advance the supporting community can count on dire days ahead.
Creating and maintaining both a business-friendly community is not just a job for the government. While some cities and municipalities are advancing their strong commitment to being a good location for business, entrepreneurs must take the reins and work both in and outside traditional channels if they want to see their startup community thrive.
Last year Entrepreneur Magazine addressed this with an article titled “The 4 C’s Needed to Build a Strong Startup Community.” It’s a great read that makes some excellent points about how community and startup are inexorably tied.
Building from that list, here are the 4 C’s we believe a startup community needs to stay successful:
The culture of a community sets the tone for the businesses that plant their roots. The community needs to not only welcome change, but embrace it; embrace that startups now occupy storefronts, and embrace it when they grow and move into the bigger building across town.
Communities that make leisure and overall quality of life part of their culture are also good for startup communities. Employees (and founders!) need to have a place to escape, if only for an hour or two. Whether it be the great outdoors or the arts or fine dining, surroundings (including home life) play a role in job satisfaction.
Not only should the quality of life be positive, inspiring, and thriving, the local infrastructure should also be able to provide startups with the right footing.
The workforce must be educated, skilled, confident, and capable
The locale must be convenient, and the right workspace available and affordable.
Ultra-fast internet is also a must (because time is money in the world of business and, let’s be realistic, who has time to waste?!).
Networking, as every entrepreneur should know, is essential to a successful startup. A community must provide venues – online and in-person – to discuss opportunities and share ideas.
In addition to networking as it’s commonly perceived, a tangible network of diverse and accessible opportunities to share ideas, exchange advice, and collaborate (such as SCV’s very own Google Startup Grind chapter) is just as important.
Business leaders should be able to find and communicate with each other, and with the local government. One-stop resources like SCVEDC are handy for entrepreneurs to capture the pulse of the business community, and make connections that can help strengthen their opportunities.
Entrepreneur’s article mentions this one, too, but it’s so significant we can’t ignore it. Morale can make or break a small business. That’s why entrepreneurs need to bear in mind things like commute and public safety when selecting where to set up shop.
Likewise, letting your startup community know it’s appreciated is paramount for good morale. It’s not just about startup employees, but their families, and the clients they service. Maybe that means a quarterly community outing, or a speech in front of the city council, or personalized holiday cards. Whatever the case, celebrating your startup community can help save talent from burning out, and maybe draw in new business to boot.
If you feel disconnected and want to take the first step to plugging yourself in, snag your tickets for the next Startup Grind event (tomorrow, October 17th). This month SCV will be welcoming another big name, Larry Namer – Co-Founder of E! Entertainment Television and Metan Global Entertainment Group. After the success of last month’s event featuring Loot Crate’s Michael Arevalo (who spoke about the trials and triumphs of an entrepreneur growing an idea into a $100-million business), tickets are expected to be a hot commodity so be sure to RSVP today!
The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation (SCVEDC) is a unique private / public partnership representing the united effort of regional industry and government leaders. The SCVEDC utilizes an integrated approach to attracting, retaining and expanding a diversity of businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley, especially those in key industry clusters, by offering competitive business services and other resources. Click here to visit their website.