Being a part of the local “tech scene” has been an important part of running an innovative company. I have been able to find new team members, get coaching, been introduced to investors, heard best practice and found peers to bounce ideas, share woes and celebrate successes.
Here are my five top tips for becoming part of the local ecosystem:
- Join an incubator/accelerator (Set Squared Bristol was the main one for us): by doing this you will get all the relevant introductions, funding calls and coaching. In addition they will champion you and help to amplify your messages, celebrate your successes and be there for you through the challenges. The only word of warning is to be proactive about asking for help and use only what you need.
- Get physical space in a local incubator or a place where other tech companies work. This was a really important move for us. We had been in a number of different spaces, however, our team became much more focused and grew a better understanding of what it is to be in a start-up when we moved into Engine Shed, Bristol;
- Sit on panels: but limit to a manageable amount. I hate meet ups and general networking so this tip is for introverts like me who struggle in normal networking situations. I think that being on a panel makes it easier to share your story and relevant people will introduce themselves to you;
- Partner with local companies, universities or find your customers in the local community.
- Use your social networks to support the other small businesses and initiatives in the ecosystem. In a small company the CEO or usually runs (or at least has access to) the twitter and instagram so your support will not go un-noticed. Your social generosity will probably be reciprocated and it is a great way to get to know people.
Of course, spending all your time locally may lead to “big fish, small pond” syndrome so don’t only focus on your little geographic bubble. Just remember that you have a wealth of abundance on your door step so use it.
As with all tips these may or may not work for your personality or situation and will be dependent on your role and the people with whom you want to connect, so you may wish to modify or add some tactics. Comment below on what works for you.