Investing In Communities That Support You
July 11, 2023 – Craig MacMullin: President & CEO, CEED & SEED, Consultant, CPA, CGA, CBCA, CIPP/C. “There are no problems, only solutions.”
Aspiring entrepreneurs often focus solely on their business idea, believing that the success of their venture rests solely on themselves. However, the reality is that the community in which an entrepreneur invests their time and resources and how they choose to leverage that community, plays a crucial role in determining the success or failure of their venture. It is important for entrepreneurs to appreciate that their community may be greater than the municipality or region in which they live and operate; an entrepreneur’s community are those businesses, service providers, mentors, customers, suppliers and other entrepreneurs with which they associate and learn from. The community and its impact upon an entrepreneur’s world view is choice.
Entrepreneurship can be an incredibly isolating experience, and without the support of a community, it can be challenging to stay motivated and overcome obstacles. The entrepreneurship journey is often marked by constant trial and error, and the feedback and support of a community can provide the resilience an entrepreneur needs to push through difficult times. Additionally, a supportive community can serve as a sounding board, offering advice, and feedback. They can also provide connections to resources like funding, mentorship, and partnership opportunities.
Entrepreneurship thrives on innovation, which in turn is spurred by diversity and collaboration. Different perspectives and skill sets lead to innovative ideas, and access to resources and networks that a community provides can turn those ideas into successful businesses. In a community where entrepreneurs can collaborate and share knowledge, they’re more likely to develop new products and services, identify emerging needs and market gaps, and find solutions to problems that may have seemed insurmountable.
For entrepreneurs in rural areas, the needs of the business may exceed the ability or resources of their local community. However, virtual communities can be just as impactful. In today’s technology-driven world, virtual communities can be just as valuable as in-person ones. With the rise of social media and online networking, entrepreneurs can access a wider pool of resources and knowledge from people all over the world. These online communities offer the same benefits as in-person ones; a sense of belonging, opportunities to collaborate, offer support and feedback, and to discover people with skills and knowledge that complement theirs. Virtual communities also allow entrepreneurs to connect with like-minded individuals anytime, anyday, which reduces the stress of distance or time zone differences.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and entrepreneurs depend on their community and vice versa. Entrepreneurs bring innovation, creativity, and inspiration to their communities. In turn, communities offer entrepreneurs access to the knowledge, resources, capital, and partnerships they need to succeed. This relationship is a symbiotic one, where both parties benefit from each other’s success. Building a strong community around a venture is critical for their long-term growth and sustainability. The community that surrounds an entrepreneur becomes an ecosystem; a well-thought-out network of interconnected organizations and institutions, within a defined area, that collaborate to enhance the economic well-being of the community as a whole. Communities that foster entrepreneurship create a fertile ground for innovation, which contributes to community development and economic growth. A robust ecosystem will create a self-sustaining cycle of innovation, with successful entrepreneurs giving back to the community that supported them. This cycle creates a positive feedback loop, leading to more investment, more innovation, and ultimately, more successful businesses. By investing in building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, communities can create long-term benefits that will continue to grow and contribute to their overall prosperity.
Whether in-person or virtually, communities play a crucial role in the success of entrepreneurs. By offering one another mutual support and feedback, entrepreneurs can navigate the entrepreneurial journey more comfortably, all the while, building a thriving business that not only gives them the financial freedom they seek but also positively impacts the community in which it operates.