It’s easy to see the benefits of being an entrepreneur in the Silicon Valleys and the Seattles of America, but in the midst of those metropolises, the benefits of starting in a smaller town are overlooked. Cozier, entrepreneurially-focused communities provide ecosystems that help startup companies thrive.
Here are three of the attributes small towns boast that help startups find their footing.
The best resources are the ones that can actually be tapped. In a larger community, there are plenty of brilliant individuals, but because the city scale is much wider, it’s not easy to locate or access their expertise. Smaller communities have the advantage of establishing more known resources. People know who to connect (or not connect) with in order to surround a startup with the best possible support. Resources surrounding a startup will increase the likelihood of the business starting on a path of success.
In my town of Columbia, Missouri, there are brilliant entrepreneurs (such as Brant Bukowsky of Veterans United) who have grown thriving businesses, but these individuals have remained accessible to other startups in the area. They are engaged in the process and are present at the “small” victories along the way, knowing that success for others ultimately leads to success for them as well. When area expertise is known and accessible, it surrounds a startup with the knowledge it needs to excel.
Recognize the strengths of the region you find yourself in, and choose to work with those strengths. Just as Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinder has taught people to focus on their strengths while managing their weaknesses, startups should look for the same thing within a community. No community is going to be perfect, but each region comes with its own unique set of strengths that should be recognized and taken advantage of.
Use the strengths of the region you find yourself in to propel you and your business forward.