This is the first in a series of articles geared towards promoting that young people start thinking out of the “help me” box. Help yourself by believing in your ideas and moving forward with your venture. I’m not flipping the bird on your desire to keep existing businesses here in Dayton as well as young professionals in the area, but waiting on some big government push is not the answer. Take a realistic approach and social responsibility for what’s happening in YOUR region. Be the force that drives attention our way and a catalyst for growth our innovative city.
In the midst of being involved with several organizations that are trying to either keep or bring businesses (or both) to the Dayton region, it dawned on me that with all this talent in this region how about a young professional push to START more businesses in Dayton? Event after event, committee meeting after committee meeting a common gripe I hear is often related to what the government is doing to help rebuild Dayton. My point is, why are we waiting on big gov to save the day and is there a slight possibility that with a little belief in our own ideas and concepts along with a little entrepreneurial spirit, resources and creative funding, can we (we the people) make Dayton even more bizually stimulating to the eyes, mind and wallet. Organizations are working aggressively to bring and keep, who’s starting?
Before I continue with the reason on why starting a business in Dayton is great idea, I will first address some of the reservations a younger generation of entrepreneurial minds may have. What are some of the most difficult challenges faced in entrepreneurship? Let’s go with the obvious.
“How in the world will I fund this?” It’s a valid question, guess what? Funds are available.
If you want to ask the government for anything; How about taking advantage of some of what they’re already offering to help with? Funding programs for business startup are becoming more readily available in an effort by the government to boost job creation. Grants aside, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a variety of loan programs designed for different tiers of entrepreneurship. In Dayton specifically there are several programs available to assist new business ventures. Our region is on the brink of becoming one of the nation’s leaders in technology and if your idea or concept is “techlike” right here in Dayton, The Entrepreneur Center or TEC Dayton has been helping technology based concepts at all levels of development. In fact, 38 out of 51 businesses fostered by this initiative are still in existence today. That’s positive news, eh? Also here in Dayton, The Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) helping people start, sustain and grow their businesses right here in our region. The SBDC, with more than 40 partnerships that contribute over $10 million in cash to small business initiatives obviously has your financial back.
Questionable Concept. Why does Dayton need your idea?
One of the most common things people face is lack of confidence in their concept, product or service. There is no guarantee that anything we create will be a huge success, but does that mean we shouldn’t give it a shot? I would never suggest going in blind. Believe in your idea but also do the research required prior to unveiling. What do I mean when I say research? Well, ask the important questions:
Is there a need for what I’m cooking up? Always remember that your strategy should be market driven. Do your homework and don’t be unrealistic. You’ll have a better chance at success if your idea provides a solution or serves some need.
What’s my differentiator? You should identify early on “who you are” in the marketplace and focus on the key differentiators especially when your idea or concept is not overly unique. Don’t let the fact that you are doing something that has been done stop you however, there are no new ideas only ideas done better…can you do it better?
So you have a great idea and money, now what? Listen, nothing in life happens over night and while I am encouraging that you take a chance and do something remarkable, you have to be ready to put your all in. Taking advantage of all the groups and associations that will allow you to network and grow your business is imperative. There is no neutral in entrepreneurship, only drive.
Young professional groups like Generation Dayton are a great place to start. Not only will you have a chance to meet new people but you also open the door to what every YP needs on occasion needs and that is support. I know there are great companies in the region but when faced with a lack of new job opportunities within them, sometimes taking the road less traveled proves to be more fruitful…why wait for an opportunity when you can create one? Within YP groups you will meet others who have started their own businesses and have been successful in doing so.
If you still want to search for that dream job, more power to you, because I fully support such ambitions. This article is merely to point out that there are other options, there are people doing it, successfully; and if you wanted to, you could do it to. As young professionals in the region, I believe that part of the region’s initiative to keep business alive in Dayton relies on us. Those looking afar will find us more bizually stimulating with a growth in startups, and successful ones at that. With affordable living and a slew of other key factors, this city is prime for attaining that “American Dream”. Redesign your thinking and take control of your future. Hey and if you’re looking for a location for your venture, start with downtown.