To Help Your Startup Succeed, Invest in Your City

There’s something to be said for strength in numbers. If you’re looking for a location to build a startup, it’s tempting to pick a city with a thriving startup community.

Take Silicon Valley, for example. The area is doing an excellent job of fostering its startup community — one built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. From informal tech meetings through Meetup to formal startup accelerator programs such as Y Combinator, it’s constantly working to sustain its startup community and put the area on the entrepreneurial map.

Does this mean that you should relocate your new business to an existing startup hub?

Not necessarily. After all, there’s a reciprocal relationship between businesses and cities. As your business and others invest in your community, you develop its economic value. It begins to grow and thrive, building itself into a prime startup location. In turn, your business benefits from the community’s economic success. Trust me, I know.

My company is a member of Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit organization committed to revitalizing downtown San Diego. Our work with this committee doesn’t focus on our company, instead, it centers on important social issues, including combating homelessness, diversifying transportation options, activating open spaces and branding causes. Kris Michell, president and CEO of the organization, has seen firsthand just how much the community has benefited.

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7 Habits of Remarkably Successful Startup Entrepreneurs

On the surface, successful entrepreneurs seem to be the same as everyone else.

But look closely and you’ll see that in a few ways they are very, very different–and so is how they start and run their businesses.

1. They always prefer action to thinking.

A detailed plan is great, but stuff happens, and most entrepreneurs don’t make it past the first three action items before adapting to reality. (I started a company assuming I’d provide book-design services to publishers; I ended up ghostwriting those books instead.)

Spend some time planning and a lot more time doing. If you’re unsure, do something, and then react appropriately. It’s easy to ponder and evaluate and analyze yourself out of business.

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Why This Startup Isn’t Worried It Left ‘Shark Tank’ Empty-Handed

Liz Bohannon started with a chicken farm and advanced to a tank full of sharks.

After graduating from the University of Missouri in 2008, Bohannon traveled to Uganda with the fuzzy goal of helping the country’s women better access higher education.

When experiments in chicken farming and other ventures failed to raise the funds to get the women to college, Bohannon remembered the sandals she constructed during her collegiate days: rubber flip-flop bottoms tied with ribbon, which reduced the flopping noise when she walked across campus.

Bohannon improved upon the design, fashioning them from local materials. She developed a business model that involved employing Uganda’s female high school graduates who couldn’t afford to continue their education and turning a profit healthy enough to fund their schooling. In Uganda, high school graduates are given nine months before matriculating to earn enough money to pay college tuition (averaging between $2,000 and $3,000). Bohannon promised three women that, if they made sandals for the next eight months, they would get to college.

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8 things to do before launching a business this year

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Thinking about starting a business this year? Most likely you already know that you need to build out your product, service, website, but what about everything else?

A booming business isn’t born overnight. It takes patience and hard work to lay the right groundwork. Whether you plan to build a mobile app or digital media consulting group, here are eight things to consider as you get ready to launch:

Be realistic about your financial situation

Think about where you are right now in your life. Can you afford to forego a steady paycheck and other perks? Do you have a family to support or a mortgage or student loans to pay?

Depending on your business type, it can take anywhere from six weeks to six years to turn a profit. Determine how long it will take you to make your first sale and figure out if you have enough savings to support you and your business through that time. When it comes to budgeting, be as cautious as possible: things usually take much longer and cost more than you initially planned.

In many cases, the best time to lay the groundwork for your business is when you’re working at another job and have some kind of income coming in. Read “7 tips for keeping your day job” to learn more about balancing a job while getting your startup off the ground.

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Roundme Raises $3M To Turn Panoramic Photos Into Virtual Tours

Round.me, which allows users to explore global locations through panoramic photos, has raised a $3 million round led by April Capital.

The app is available on both the web and iOS. It allows you to browse different Spaces, which are basically panoramic images of locations like a Taoist temple in the Philippines and an ice cave in Vermont (to pick two examples from Roundme’s front page). The iOS experience is particularly immersive — the Spaces respond to the movement of your phone, almost creating the illusion that you’re photographing the real location.

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Lyft Seeks To Raise Another $250 Million At A $2 Billion Valuation

Car-for-hire startup Lyft is going back to investors for another round of funding. As earlier reported by the New York Times, the company is looking to raise another $250 million at a $2 billion valuation.

The funding comes nearly a year since Lyft’s last financing — a $250 million round from Coatue Management, Alibaba and Daniel Loeb’s Third Point, along with existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and Mayfield Ventures. To date, the company has raised more than $330 million since being founded as Zimride back in 2007.

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7 Terrible Naming Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Here are some of the biggest naming mistakes I’ve seen entrepreneurs make and why you should avoid them.

1. You believe your domain name has to match your business name.

Tesla doesn’t own the domain name Tesla.com. Do you think someone wanting to buy a Tesla gives up if they go there and don’t find the website? Of course not! They type “Tesla cars” into a search engine and find it in no time flat. And they don’t even notice what the domain name is, which by the way is TeslaMotors.com. If Tesla doesn’t have to have an exact match domain name, neither do you.

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