As a startup, developing a brand and gaining market traction are the components that define your success or failure in your business. But tapping into local resources can help accelerate the process and give you first access to market entry. As any startup in the United States, there is an abundance of entrepreneurship groups, grants, and resources developed for small business growth, more so on a local level.
Many startups think they are alone and they are going about growing their business with no support, but rather most of the time there is an entire community willing to help. The problem is the founders not knowing about what the community can provide.
We are building our startup in Tampa, FL, and in our first year, we did not connect with any resources in Tampa, until we did some research and found there was an abundance. In our community or any other, there are nonprofit entrepreneurship development centers that can provide advice, connections, and capital.
When we found out about all the different sectors of support that are available it was like a door being swung open. Just in finance, it opened up doors in capital raise, by getting an introduction to investors or having the ability to get a grant- nondilutive. Some communities give money just because you have a great idea and that is seed money used to build a prototype. You will be surprised to know how many people or groups want to help and support startups.
In other sectors of local resources, you can get free PR. Local reporters love learning about city innovation and growing ideas, you can get free PR by making an effort to meet the local journalist most relevant to you. Free PR is free marketing, that can drive customers, and investors. Becoming part of your local chamber also opens up networking abilities to meet other founders and businesses with which you can partner or barter services. This is good for the community itself in your growth, as you may get the ability to work with the city on certain projects. Even if not the local chamber there are other entrepreneurship groups you may be able to join whether physically or digitally.
Students have the luxury of having university-closed resources and professors for both capital and mentorship and even makes it easier to find other cofounders. Some colleges if you can work with them, allow initial product-market fit by testing it out with other students, making the validation stage a slight bit easier. Colleges have dedicated incubator programs for student entrepreneurs getting them from ideation to launch. All in all, there is a plethora of entrepreneurship/small business resources in your local community. It just takes a little bit of self-discovery into it. Again you will find many people willing to help and point you in the right direction.
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