Starting a business can be exciting and uniquely challenging. Even so, the meteoric success of a startup-found business, such as Facebook, Uber, PayPal, and Airbnb have inspired many entrepreneurial-minded professionals to follow their passion. While life at an up-and-coming venture might seem endlessly exhilarating, it does not come without its share of risks. About 50 percent of small businesses survive their first five years, and there is a long list of why the other 50 percent of startups failed.
Not having the right knowledge on how to build a startup is among the top reasons why new ventures fail. To overcome this challenge, new entrepreneurs are encouraged to join a startup community. A startup community is a group of entrepreneurs and like-minded folks who focus on innovation. These communities often engage in formal and informal meet ups, such as physical meetings, Slack channels, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and mailing lists.
Joining startup communities give so many advantages, including as follows:
- You can learn from experienced founders if you are new to the startup world.
- You can find potential clients, customers, even teams.
- You can leverage your network for investment opportunities which early-stage startups really need.
- You can give more than you receive which not only help retain information but also give your own satisfaction by teaching others.
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To start with, check out these communities:
- Global Entrepreneurship Network – GEN operates a platform of projects and programmes in 180 countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business.
- Techstars Startup Weekend – It is a three-day program where entrepreneurs and business people alike can experience startup life.
- Google for Startups – It is a community to mentor and support entrepreneurs at every stage. Google partners with leading coworking spaces, accelerator programmes and events to help startups do their best.
- StartupGrind – The community spreads all over the world and they do a daily activity such as holding local events, flagship conferences, startup programs, partnerships, and online media/connect.
- Startup Socials – The community regularly hosts social and educational events across the globe where entrepreneurs can network, learn, and build new relationships.
There are still plenty of communities out there but you can start with the aforementioned bunch. You might also be lucky enough to find a local startup community that focuses on solving local problems.
What do you need to consider when joining a community?
So, you’ve joined several startup events but find them not engaging or do not give that much difference. Or, you think joining the community will only slow you down in building a business. There might be some concerns before joining a startup discussion, like what if someone steals my idea? Will this community really help me? Why should I invest time in this community when I can use the time to scale up my business?
Here are some concerns you might have and how to turn it to your advantage:
- Nothing to gain from the time invested. Well, you can never really know if you are not really engaged. But if you find the community not useful, it needs not to be the burden of hours or days per week – put in whatever time you feel comfortable with.
- The community will steal my idea. Many individuals who engage in startup communities are already working on their own ideas. These people are likely focusing on scaling their own business, so this thought is such a false alarm.
- My startup idea and theirs are alike. There are plenty of different business models out there. It is very likely someone similar is within your reach. You will also likely find a person like you, share the same thoughts and ideas. Why not collaborate? Being genuinely helpful often results in a great return.
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