For the Love of Business: Online and Offline Startup Communities

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Jun 2016
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Author : Pete Peranzo

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Entrepreneurship can be a long and tortuous road. Things can go wrong any moment and challenges will pile up. There will be times when despite your preparation, expertise, and grit, you may find yourself struggling and losing hope.

Being a part of a community of like-minded and experienced people can help. Apart from boosting morale, it can also make a big difference to the performance of your business.

With a community you meet people from various backgrounds who are also venturing into entrepreneurship, as well as those who are already successful in their niche.

From those in the same boat as you, you learn their aspirations, frustrations and challenges, as well as how they cope with them.

From the established entrepreneurs you learn the importance of hard work, planning, focus and all that it takes to succeed.

You exchange ideas and are inspired by the spirit of innovation surrounding you. Such exposure can prove priceless to those who are willing to learn and grow.

Apart from being instructive, such communities also bring you in contact with investors. If there’s a business idea germinating in your mind, we highly recommend checking out an online or offline community.

Startup communities abound. It’s only a matter of looking them up and deciding on the best one to join. You can be a part of multiple communities, too. In fact, we would recommend that. Here are some online communities for you to consider.

Google for Entrepreneurs

They have an extensive network aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs on a global level. No matter what part of world you are in, you can find a pool of free resources to teach you about business and aid you in realizing your ambitions.

Check out their many startup communities for ideas, inspiration and guidance.

Startup Grind

This is the biggest startup community in America, connecting 185 cities. Check to see if your city is on the list.

It boasts a huge membership of more than 200,000 founders and is active on the global stage as well.

They hold monthly events during which they showcase successful local entrepreneurs. The network brings together investors and educators as well, with the aim to share collective knowledge and inspire and educate people on how to run successful businesses.

Their partners include Google for Entrepreneurs, Tech Crunch and Fast Company.

Startup Nation

Whether you want to start a business, manage it efficiently or scale to new heights, there is expert advice and inspiration galore on this website and their forums. Dig into the pertinent literature in which entrepreneurs share their stories, and learn from their success as well as failures. Also learn of industry trends and business best practices.

Their forums attract huge numbers of business owners who are only too eager to share knowledge and back each other up. You won’t feel silly asking even the most basic of questions. Have courage to put yourself out there and you will find there are many in a similar place as yourself and that help is available every step of the way.

#Startup

Connect with more than 3,000 entrepreneurs and investors from all parts of the world. Engage in Q&A sessions, ask for suggestions and feedback, set up your own news feed to learn of the developments in the community, and interact as per your convenience.

This community is run by Startup Foundation and is found on the messaging platform Slack.

#FemaleFounders

Another popular Slack community but this time with focus on women.

Aspiring businesswomen get to interact with female entrepreneurs from around the world. They get to learn from each other’s success stories and gain inspiration every step of the way. A lack of role models, an inability to utilize connections and a fear of success were cited as some of the biggest challenges that female entrepreneurs face. With access to a community of successful female founders, you can ensure that support and guidance are never an issue in your entrepreneurial journey.

Apart from the above-mentioned, you can find offline communities for entrepreneurs all around the U.S. Silicon Valley alone has several of them.  StartupSeattle is a big community for entrepreneurs in the north-west of the country. Charlotte, NC is home to NextPlex, a community dedicated to tech entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs’ Organization is a global network of entrepreneurs spanning across 48 countries. It consists of more than 11,000 members and comprises 157 chapters. They have a number of locations in the U.S. Members are supported locally and have access to executive-level and mentorship programs. Membership, however, is expensive.

How to find a local startup community

Online connections are helpful, but those offline connections are often what will ultimately help you get your startup off the ground. Networking on social media will help. A good place to start would be LinkedIn. Look up entrepreneurs in your area and follow them. Participate in discussions pertaining to the business scenario in your city. Post your thoughts aimed at helping fellow business people in your community. You will eventually get to learn about the various startup communities around you and also whether you would fit into them.

Even simpler, you can straight up ask for the information about local startup communities on LinkedIn and Quora. Attend trade shows and business events. Sign up with a publication such as Startup Digest to learn of all startup-related activity in your area.

You will find communities dedicated to startups and entrepreneurs all over America. We suggest you visit one in your city and consider becoming a member. In the odd case that you can’t find anything in your geographical location, you have considerable options online or you could consider starting one yourself!

Are you a member of a startup community? If you were to suggest online or offline communities to our readers, which ones would that be and why? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.

 

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