Creating a Buzz in the (Entrepreneurial) Community

Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. To those of us firmly entrenched in the startup community, this fact seems like an invalid expression of code. It should be a very simple "if/then" scenario. If you're alive, then you should want to be an entrepreneur.

Setting sarcasm aside, not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, and not everyone should be an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It takes focus, determination and a distinct aversion to setback.

I have noticed that the most successful entrepreneurs don't really "fail."  Entrepreneurs by nature just figure it out. They're innate problem solvers. As I was growing up, I didn't realize that everyone's mind didn't work that way.

Sometimes young people with a natural entrepreneurial bent feel like they don't fit in because it seems like the world around them doesn't understand them.

This is more than stubbornness or open rebellion. I have seen entrepreneurs struggle because they are not willing to accept mentorship. Every entrepreneur believes that she knows how to run her business, but the smart entrepreneur understands what she doesn't know about how to run the business and will align herself with the proper mentorship to help avoid the pitfalls she can't see and attain the successes that she may not have the experience to see are possible.

What successful community builders do differently:

  1. Find a common cause
  2. Enlist key stakeholders
  3. Engage disparate community segments

 Find a Common Cause

Community builders look for a cause that various groups in the community can rally around. What is the thing that people care about? What are they willing to invest time and money for? Recently we began hosting a successful Member Mixer series at the Venture Center. We found a cause that the community at large really cared about: attracting and retaining key knowledge-based talent.

This is tied to a key obstacle that nearly every community or city faces--how to attract talent for economic growth and expansion.

Enlist Key Stakeholders

Fortunately, in Little Rock, key stakeholders saw and rallied to this cause. The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce jumped on board with a quick how can we help?  Sponsors like ABC Financial joined from the business community and our media partners helped us spread the word quickly.

Engage Disparate Community Segments

The final component of effectively creating buzz in the community is to bring a diverse group of players to the table. In the case of our Mixer, we engaged the startup community, technical and professional talent and businesses looking for this type of talent.  Mutual interest and curiosity brought these groups together quickly.

All That's Left

Once these three actions have been taken, all that's left is to light the flame and then pour fuel on the fire. We provided a fast-paced run of show and an engaging process and the space for people to connect. And they did.

That's what buzz is about in the end. Creating something remarkable and giving people a reason to remark about it.