How to Succeed With a Startup Outside a Major Industry Hub

how to succeed with a startup

Trying to start a business way outside of the major hub of your industry and away from potential investors, partners, incubators or a ready pool of skilled employees?

It might seem like being away from all of these potential networking opportunities is a negative for a growing company. But there can be surprising positives to launching a company far outside the hustle and bustle associated with the hub of your particular industry, whether in tech or another field.

Sure, over the years plenty of companies have found success by locating themselves within the cluster of their particular industry near resources and networking opportunities. For example, tech companies flock to Silicon Valley to be part of that scene.  And companies in other industries often strive to find a community where others in their industry are also located.

But Shawn Liu and Danny Wen, founders of time tracking and invoicing program Harvest, would have to disagree with this approach. Liu told Walter Chen of iDoneThis:

“The thing is, when we started in 2003 in New York, there was nothing going on.”

But according to Liu, this very lack of industry activity is what he feels led to his company’s success. But why?

Well, Liu says the lack of other industry related activities forced the founders to focus on simply creating a quality product and turning a profit. All of that other networking stuff, he said, can also sometimes serve as a distraction.

While networking and partnering can sometimes lead to new opportunities you might have never seen otherwise, beware. A business owner with multiple tasks to juggle throughout the day, must also stay focused.

Harvest has had a solid ten years of success without any outside investment, high-profile fundraisers, or big acquisitions. The lack of distractions allowed the startup’s founders to stay focused on their main goal and create a product that truly solves a problem for customers.

Of course, that’s not to say that all businesses should follow this model. But businesses operating outside of their industry’s major hub can still find success by staying focused and determined.

Photo: Harvest


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions
  1. Quality over quantity. As long as you put in a consistent amount of high quality effort, you will still succeed. It might take some time but it will eventually happen.