The lifeblood of nearly every startup is the coffee shop. I’m sitting in one right now, in fact, watching a sea of illuminated MacBook Pros and the glowing faces of the people behind them.
And I can’t help but wonder what each person is doing. What are they working on? What’s their hustle? Is the next best thing being born right here and I don’t even know it yet?
There’s something intoxicating about this place, and it’s not the on-point espresso or the alluring aroma of roasted beans (by the way, Maverick is a pretty great spot to grab a cup if you’re in the area).
There’s energy here. It’s exciting. Even though we’re all a bunch of strangers to each other, there’s more electricity in the air here than back at the office.
Uh oh. I shouldn’t have said that, right? Too bad. It’s true.
Entrepreneurs and founders of startups in Arizona have an amazing aura about them. They have a fearless spirit that may seem reckless at first blush, but it’s really inspiring. And yeah, they’re not ALL hanging out at coffee shops. I get that. What I also get is that connecting these people together is powerful. It’s a bit like when our summer monsoons roll in and rain clouds collide above the valley. A lot of crazy and awesome stuff happens, but sometimes it can be a little messy. After the storm, though, it’s always beautiful.
I suppose that’s how I see an event like Phoenix Startup Week. It gives entrepreneurs and founders a chance to collide, stir things up, learn from each other, and hopefully leave with a more beautiful picture of what Arizona could be if we harnessed the power of our startup ecosystem. Heck, I feel inspired to start something right now!
This year, Phoenix Startup Week is all about promoting collaboration, celebration, and cultivation. Campaigns like #OurMarkPHX aim to celebrate startup success stories from the past year and encourage entrepreneurs to stay in the fight together. Founders of Phoenix-based companies like Bob LaLoggia from AppointmentPlus will share lessons learned from their successes and failures. Even heavy hitters like Arizona’s Governor, Doug Ducey, will publicly throw their support behind the startup cause.
Now, we (Resound) may not be to the level of influence as the Governor, but as an Arizona-founded business and sponsors of Phoenix Startup Week we’re putting our money where our mouth is. Not only is our CEO, Mike Jones, speaking at Phoenix Startup Week, but we as a company are helping the Startup Week team reach a wider section of the entrepreneurial community by managing digital marketing for the event.
Beyond the event itself, we serve startups as best as possible, knowing their budgets are really tight. We create and run affordable workshops to help them build remarkable brands. As they gain steam, we’re there to help them grow their brands even more. We celebrate when they win and feel their pain when they lose. We’re invested.
To that end, we did our own evaluation of how we made our mark this past year and what we learned. In 2017, we learned these five critical business lessons that could serve any entrepreneur well:
- The right people doing the right jobs must come before building the right processes.
- Building the right processes can’t be done overnight and with impatience.
- Being profitable doesn’t mean our clients must have larger budgets.
- Transparency with the team fosters trust.
- Alignment between our values and our clients’ values is really important.
After writing that list, it’s funny to look at it again. It seems so simple. But it took a lot of smiles, stress, pain, change, and struggle to get us there. I suppose it’s not unlike what many of the glowing faces in this coffee shop will experience as they continue on their highly-caffeinated entrepreneurial journey. In fact, I wonder if any of them are going to Startup Week? I guess it’s time to get out from behind my MacBook Pro and actually talk to someone.
But maybe I’ll grab another cappuccino first.