When choosing a location for your startup, it can be tempting to go with a major hub like Silicon Valley.
And those hubs can definitely have their benefits. But they aren’t automatically better than lesser known areas or cities that don’t have huge existing startup communities.
If you choose an area that doesn’t have that existing community, you have the ability to make a big impact on building that community. The relationship between city and small business can be a mutually beneficial one.
Kris Michell, president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership told Entrepreneur about the benefit of building a strong business community in the city:
“Just look at the skyline, and you’ll see how our business leaders have reshaped the community and our economy for the better. Whether it’s the new Central Library, Petco Park or the San Diego Convention Center, the business community has been an important partner in making those iconic structures a reality.”
The benefits of building a strong business community are clear. But being part of an up-and-coming business community can benefit the startups involved as well. In such an environment, you could have more influence when it comes to shaping policies that impact local businesses. You could also work to bring other startups and businesses to the area, mentor them, and help build the startup community from the ground up.
When you’re able to have this kind of impact on the community around you, you can help build a community that’s better suited to your needs. When you give to your community, your community tends to give back to you. So, by working to make genuine improvements, you can build an environment that’s better suited to business growth in general. And your business could reap the benefits of those improvements as well.
If you choose a place like Silicon Valley to start a business, many of those benefits are already available. You can easily access business mentors, find coworking spaces, and locate other resources to help run your business. But if you choose another location, you can be part of shaping that community and building the resources that you and other businesses can benefit from.
Hands Photo via Shutterstock
I agree wholeheartedly Annie. It’s obviously a lot simpler to start up in a community like Silicon Valley where the culture has already embraced up and coming business interests, but as your article points out, those willing to make a genuine investment in a city or town where few such resources exist, there is great opportunity to become known as a community builder, trailblazer, and visionary. And to be invited to the table by local government when important decisions impacting business and the overall community are up for consideration. Yes, the investment required to build from the ground up is huge, but that’s what entrepreneurs were born for…right! Great article…love the perspective.
Yes – I love that term “community builder.” I think that’s a great point. If you take the time and invest in your community, people see you as an important part of it.
This is where public service or advocacy comes in. In fact, most public businesses are required to do this. But it is a good thing because the more the community improves, the more a business succeeds.
True – and when you do business in a smaller community or one with fewer businesses, you can take a bigger role in making those improvements.
Knowing who and where your audience is simply one the easiest and most important steps in determining your business community. And it’s not always about what you can sell the people, sometimes it’s about what you can offer to make their lives better and easier.
That’s a good point too. Obviously your products/services are important, but the other things you do for your customers/community can make a big impact on your brand image.