Launching a startup is a great goal, but before you can, you need to know where you’re going and how to get there. We’ve gathered some of the best current startup trends to help you. These trends will ensure your business succeeds in its first year and beyond.
Where Should I Launch My Startup?
Ideally, you can start a business anywhere in the country. However, some cities are more startup-friendly than others. Some of the top choices are familiar to most of us, while some are surprising.
Austin has gained a reputation as a “hub of entrepreneurial activity” in Texas. It’s also one of the state’s most diverse cities. According to Julie Huls, Austin Technology Council’s president, Austin has an open and supportive business climate. Part of the support comes from a “seasoned group of leaders” eager to mentor new business owners. Mentorship gives provides a competitive edge because you’re learning successful strategies firsthand from a professional. Additionally, a mentor can provide the security you need while the startup grows from a fledgling business to a thriving one. No matter your field, you’re sure to find a good fit in Austin.
New York City, New York
Someone once said, “If you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere.” The adage still holds true. However, New York’s longstanding reputation as a business hub isn’t the only thing that makes it attractive. It’s outgrowing most other cities and has access to a core group of wealthy investors. Additionally, New York welcomes talent from a wide range of fields, including creative pursuits. If your business involves writing, theater, or financial assistance, New York City is still the place to get your start.
Asheville, North Carolina
If you live in the Southeast, especially the suburbs or rural areas, Asheville might be a good place to set down roots. Although its brewery culture gets plenty of focus these days, Asheville is interested in more than great beer. Restaurant startups are common, particularly in newer enclaves like the Biltmore Park area. It is home to diverse cuisine from Travinia’s Italian Kitchen, 131 Main, and smaller restaurants, like Neo Burrito. Asheville appreciates great art, which makes it a popular destination for gallery owners, painters, and other artists.
The name “Colorado” usually brings to mind natural phenomena, like refreshing creeks, majestic mountains, and beautiful sunsets. It’s not often associated with entrepreneurship, but this is rapidly changing. Most people don’t know Boulder has been our nuclear innovation hub since 1952, or that it has a startup density six times the national average. Boulder is one of the wealthiest startup cities in the western part of the U.S., so if you need an investor and live in the area, consider it as your business’ home.
How Do I Find Talent?
Once you know where to build your startup, the next step is finding the talent you need. It might seem like small business owners run startups alone, but few, if any of them, actually do. No one person can handle all aspects of a business, so they pull from many talent pools. Whether you have a plethora of options or are limited to a small circle, we’ll show you how to find the people who can help you succeed.
Go Beyond Labor
Experts agree that most people will pitch in with labor, but new talent often wants a hand in strategy, too. In other words, your bookstore employees don’t simply want to shelve books. They want to contribute to the inventory you order and how you promote it, as well as the technology you use and the discounts you offer. Of course, you have final say, but you should let your employees participate in more than just the grunt work. A few ways to do this include:
- Cut the red tape. No matter how determined and talented an individual is, he or she will walk away if the approval process is too complicated, or there are too many obstacles for advancement. Streamline the formalities and give your employees opportunities to show their strengths. Reward employees for good work with well-timed promotions, raises, and other incentives. Listen to what they tell you, whether or not they verbalize it. If you see an employee is bored from monotonous work, make it easy for him to take on new duties.
- Avoid “group-think.” Group-think sneaks up on the most innovative employers. Basically, when you demand one, and only one, way to perform duties, group-think emerges. It also occurs when employees must enact a mission statement they don’t believe in, or you micro-manage their work. The best talent is usually creative, tenacious, and independent. If you don’t allow employees to express that independence, they will become frustrated, and your company practices will grow stale.
- Assign independent projects. One of the best things you can do is to assign relevant independent projects or tasks to your employees. This communicates, “I trust you.” It also says, “I expect something innovative and engaging from you because I know you’re capable.” Independent projects boost confidence and morale in a way almost nothing else will. Additionally, a little self-government nurtures employee strengths and makes them feel like an integral part of the company, rather than just a cog in the wheel.
Create a Meaningful Message
Most of today’s companies have mission statements or shared values, but they are often empty words. Many business owners use the same buzzwords, such as “communication,” “transparency,” or “excellence.” The problem is, they’re not tied to actions, so employers and employees have a difficult time delivering what they promise, so make your mission personal. This frustrates new employees and makes them more likely to walk away. Instead of tired buzzwords, try these strategies:
- Know your core values. First, know what a core value actually is. It’s an “inherent and sacrosanct” part of your company you never want to compromise for financial or other gain. For example, good communication might be a core value if you provide technological services. However, we aren’t all IT professionals, so explain your tasks and services in plain English, and keep clients engaged.
- Connect values to actions. Don’t just tell people what your company is about – show them. For example, the company, Asana, established a core value of health, so they offer on-site yoga and organic meals to clients. When creating a list of values, find abstract words with connections to a verb. For instance, people who love books usually value literacy. Offer story time and book-based activities for young children, or even tutoring services for older kids. If you sell a large number of how-to books, offer workshops centered on the activities in them, such as sewing, Italian cooking, or playing chess.
Make benefits a family affair. Many employees have families. In the rebounding economy, some of those families may have difficulty affording medical, dental, and other care. Offer the most substantial benefits you can. Additionally, offer “parent benefits,” like extra days to care for a sick or injured child, as well as family benefits like gym memberships. This will boost morale and send the message that you care about your employees’ lives outside work.
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